How Murphy O'Cat Saved Grandma's Funeral

The scene was hard enough as it was.  My grandmother, the
great love of my childhood, had died.  She'd had a long, full,
blessed life, but we were sad nonetheless.  

Ours is a big family, in the habit of getting together at least once
a year.  Her passing gave us all an opportunity to come together
at my parents' home in Dallas.  All of us were gathered in the
den, sitting around in a semi-circle facing the TV.  My father's
least favorite aunt had taken his seat without asking.  He sat in
the corner, stewing slowly.  

As we sat there, he started to boil over.  We'd all seen it before,
too many times to count.  He's a good man, really, but with a
nasty temper and an impatient streak a mile wide.  My brother
and I were gritting our teeth, dreading a whole weekend of it.

All of the sudden we heard the thundering of cat paws from the
kitchen.  Elvis Catley, a long-haired Persian, was chasing Murphy
O'Cat, a half-breed Siamese, as if Murphy had killed grandma
personally.  The two cats shot across the kitchen and into the
room where we were sitting, just as my Dad was breaking into full

Murphy rocketed into the circle, Elvis hot on his heels.  Elvis,
seeing us all, pulled up short.  Murphy, seeing his chance to
escape, launched himself into the air, sailed across the room,
and landed directly on my father's knee.

It's hard to say who was more surprised.  

Murphy looked up into my Dad's face and, I swear to God,
meowed "Oh shit!"

My father looked down and could only mutter, "Damned cat."

Murphy jumped off as soon as he got his wits about him, but the
deed was done.  My brother and I started to laugh at the sheer
absurdity of it.  So did everyone else.  By the time we finished, we
were on the floor with tears of laughter pouring down our cheeks.

Murphy, somehow, had taken the wind out of my father's sails.  
Having a fleeing cat land on his knee in the middle of a tantrum
had some sort of mystical effect.  Dad couldn't seem to find
another cross word to say.

We wound up sending my grandmother off in fine fashion.  The
family enjoyed getting together, celebrating life even at a sad
moment.  Murphy lived to be chased by Elvis another day.

And Dad?  What can I say?  He was a pussycat the rest of the

©2006, John G. Cunyus
All Rights Reserved

John Cunyus is freelance writer working in North Texas.  His work may be viewed online
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