silver lining to the darkest day: my jack

Jack's paws hug the chair railsMY SISTER CALLED this morning to wish us well on a dozen years together–“us” being me and Jack–but at first I didn’t know what she meant. I lose track of dates in this rural life, but she had not forgotten: It is 9/11, the darkest day, but also the day that I met Jack. I suppose you could call him my silver lining–or at least a black-and-white one. A recollection on finding some small comfort in a large cat. We wish you all comfort, too.

  1. Cinny says:

    Oh! Those paws make me think of my tuxedo cat named Kiwi. I miss her TERRIBLY! She is now pushing up a cherry tree. People look at me funny when I refer to it as my Kiwi tree.

  2. Bren says:

    My Toby (of 19 years) is pushing up a gardenia in her favorite spot in the flower bed. She wasn’t a particularly large cat, but she helped me through some very dark years. I will await the day that another little one decides to make me her / his home.

  3. Though I bought And I Shall Have Some Peace There a couple of months ago, I’ve been busy savoring The Backyard Parables and haven’t yet read your first book. I didn’t know that Jack rescued you in the aftermath of 9/11. It’s the same with our dog, Spirit, who also saved us during that time. When I found myself having a debate with my 3-year-old son about the correct way to pronounce Osama Bin Laden (“No Mommy, it’s Samba Laden!”), I knew we needed a diversion. What better diversion than a rambunctious lab/golden retriever mix puppy? The kids thought we could call him “Ghost” to reflect his white color. I came up with “Spirit” as a more eloquent alternative, not realizing at the time that his name would have much deeper connotations for us over the years. He lifted our spirits after 9/11 (and, like you, this was particularly close to home for us here in the DC area). Even more importantly, over the past twelve years he has grown to embody Spirit in every sense of the word — including the woo woo way.

  4. Tibs says:

    We just loss our 14 yr old tuxedo. A big boy, too. He succumbed to diabetics after several years of insulin shots twice a day. He was the old man of the crew of four ( I have always been a cat person), always welcoming new cats. I say no more, but there has been a young tuxedo hanging about, white where ours was black, and black where ours was white. How do they know there might be a home? I am such a sucker.

  5. Margaret Krueger says:

    I love the story about you and Jack! It wasn’t quite as dramatic when my little tuxedo came to me…my son brought him home from college. Best “gift” I ever got from him and he, too, has often been the silver lining to cloudy days!

    1. margaret says:

      Thanks to all of you cat friends, Margaret K. and Tibs and HMW and Bren. I tell Jack each day that it would please me if he would live forever, or at least as long as I do, and he simply walks toward his kibble bowl looking for a refill. :)

  6. Lacey says:

    I was living in DC on that horrid day. My furry soulmate, Rudy, was waiting for me as I rushed home to check on him. His unknowingness and innocence breathed freshness into smoke and pain filled air. He wasn’t yet my dog; I was only dogsitting him, but I was in love. Rudy became mine all mine a few months later, on Valentines Day.

  7. Margit Van Schaick says:

    Margaret, your relationship with Jack is a truly delightful part of your writing. I have so enjoyed your telling us how he became your companion cat, even spending a great deal of time indoors. The photos are wonderful, so clearly expressing who Jack is. I actually wish you’d mention Jack more frequently. I especially love these Jack posts because I have a tuxedo cat, also about 16 pounds, and a cat who does not need a litter box, a cat who sleeps on my bed, who is so beguiling when he sleeps on his back, exposing his fluffy white belly, but “Beware” patting that tummy or POW, out go those claws! Yoda came to live with me from a shelter–he’s about the same age as Jack. He’s a loving part of my life.

  8. Beth says:

    I am so happy to hear about how that day held a silver lining for you. Hearing about Jack and seeing pictures of him on here is uplifting to me!

  9. Dahlink says:

    Our black and white kitty, Cleo, is also in our garden, in a favorite spot. She lived into her 20s. We called her a “cow cat” because of her markings. We planned to go cat-less after losing her, but then rescue kittens Max and Missy came into our lives not long after that loss. They charmed us with their own special twin language, like bird chirps and burbles. M&M say it’s time for another blog post from Jack.

  10. Lynn A says:

    We also brought our cat James home on that day. We had lost our cat BC about a month before and had decided to get a new kitten, The shelter was closed on the 10th so the plan was to go on the 11th, After sitting in a daze watching the destructions we decided that we were not going to let the terrorist win and we went out to find a new addition to our family. He loves to help or rather supervise the garden. I am thankful every day for him and his dog Madi.

  11. Carol says:

    Lovely… Thank you for sharing.
    Funny how love comes in all kinds of colors, sizes, shapes and attitudes.
    Here’s to Jack…. and here’s to the splendor of life.

  12. First time here so I don’t know the story but LOVE the photo and those paws look like my Jed’s – he was a large cat and left me way too soon :( He was a rescue cat so I never knew his exact age but he was only about 11 when he became very ill… something he had obviously masked very well. It was Stage IV Feline Lymphoma and there was nothing to be done… darling boy, Max and I miss you every day >(*!*)< Mind you Max has the same paws too :)

  13. Nicole says:

    What a positive way to remember a tragic day for our nation! I always enjoy your Jack-related posts and I think it is a true testament to the feline spirit that he was able to win you over. Glad you have each other!

    1. margaret says:

      Thank you, Nicole. I am still surprised each day how he got me to actually be a pet person, and specifically a cat person. He’s one convincing guy. :)

  14. Marty says:

    Tibs, please rescue your new stranger hanging about! One more, with 4 total isn’t too much IMHO. I have 12 rescues (!), and the latest (since 4/15) is not liked by anyone and he doesn’t like coming inside. Interior Alaska is not the climate for an outdoor cat to survive but a few winters without freezing or starving to death. I’m works v on him still as I’ve not yet found a home for him. He might have to just stay here (or go to ID and NC when we move in a month).

    My oldest Tux will be 19 in Oct., Lavendar, an 7-8lb bundle of joy. I have 3 Tuxedos, and have had a few that have passed. I don’t have a fondness to any particular type of kitty, just kitties!

    Yes, we needier Jack posts! That paw pics is precious!

  15. Maria says:

    It’s interesting because this 9/11 as I remember that day, somehow I had a little flash of you arriving at you little home and Jack coming to greet you out of nowhere. Just the image of him sitting on your office basking in sun. I think this is how we handle tragedies; remembering silver linings.

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