Gary was my morning pal. Though his computer screen was filled with words when I arrived at 5 a.m., Gary always turned around with smile—a rare sign in a newsroom that someone would like to chat. And I loved chatting with Gary—his gentle spirit and smile matched my early morning moods.
Those short morning chats ranged from mundane patter to expressions of mild chagrin over the disintegration of our once-outstanding newspaper company. We talked about my travels; as travel editor I was always returning from somewhere. And we talked about Gary's trip to Panama where his son lived. It was an exciting adventure for Gary—all kinds of new animals.
Like so many people who asked Gary for advice about putting down a pet, I consulted Gary when our 19-year old ginger cat was quite ill. At the time I was within days of leaving on a big trip to South Africa, and I was just frozen. It was unimaginable to me that we could put down this loyal, beloved pet until the absolute last day of his life.
And yet my flight was fast approaching. I had to go; I had stories to write.
My husband had planned to come along on the South Africa trip, but now offered to stay home to oversee Midge's last days. But did that make sense as a reason to miss the big cats of Africa?
When I expressed my distress to Gary, he didn’t try to influence my decision. He suggested I talk to our vet, and he gave me something to read.
A day later the decision was clear—our beloved ginger cat was ready to go. Our college-aged son came up from Santa Cruz to say goodbye with us.
Gary, thanks for being my friend, and thanks for being a friend to ginger cats both large and small.