Gilly and Church relaxing at home.. circa 1986
Many years ago, my sister Patricia fell in love with a feral cat and named him Gilly Bagoon. She desperately wanted Gilly to come live in the house with us, but we already had a cat.
Ironically, his name was Church – after the resurrected cat from Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. Church was a handful. Crazy… and a biter. He used to climb my youngest sister like a tree – leaving gouges and scratches all over her legs and arms. She was covered in band-aids for most of her childhood.
Suffice it to say, my father did not want to bring another cat into the house. But Patricia was relentless. She was certain Gilly would get hit by a car and die.. and she fearfully explained this to my father every single night when he came home from work. This went on for some time.
My sisters were visiting their grandparents when the prophecy was fulfilled. Gilly Bagoon had been hit by a car and died. My father was beside himself.
He explained how he heard a car screech outside and KNEW immediately what had occurred. The poor young lady driving was horrified.. crying as she and my father examined Gilly’s limp body lying in the road. Too miserable and stunned to react, my father said nothing as the girl scooped Gilly up and drove off.
He readied himself for the wrath of my sister and the inevitable “I told you so!” he deserved and was prepared to endure for the rest of his life.
It was so sad. Poor Gilly. Patricia was heartbroken, inconsolable. Over and over she asked my father a single obsessive question.. demanding his response again and again:
“If Gilly was alive, could he live in the house?!?”
“Yes! Yes!” My father replied. “Of course he could!”
And life went on.
MANY MONTHS LATER…
I was doing laundry in the garage with the door wide open when a car pulled into the driveway. A young lady stepped out carrying something wrapped in a green towel. Unaware of what was coming, I walked out to meet her… and stopped dead in my tracks.
The girl was speaking.. I saw her mouth moving but I didn’t hear a word she said. Sure enough, the thing in the towel was Gilly Bagoon. I stared in shock as the girl set him down on the floor of the garage. I noticed that Gilly’s head had an odd tilt to the left as he limped slowly toward me.
The girl kept speaking. Something about injuries and inner ear damage..? I think I managed to thank her before she left.
After the initial shock, my thoughts went immediately to Patricia. We brought Gilly with us when we picked her up from school. It was a magnificent reunion.. and when we got home Patricia scooped Gilly under her arm and marched into the house without hesitation.
And then I remembered my father! I had to warn him of what was waiting for him when he got home! This was long before the age of cellphones, so I desperately tried to reach him at work before he left.
It was too late.
When I heard my father pull up in the driveway I ran to the door to intercept him, but Patricia was faster.
My father opened the door to my sister standing triumphantly in front of him with Gilly in her arms.
“GILLY’S ALIVE NOW!” she declared, “YOU SAID HE COULD LIVE IN THE HOUSE!”
My poor father.
Somehow, he managed to say the words:
“Yes. Yes, of course he can.”