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Christmases Past, No. 3: Our cat, the legend

December 23rd, 2010 (05:53 am)

One Christmas both my father and my brother were stationed overseas (different countries), and we were a household of women. Well, except for the dog and my sister's cat, Joe Willie. Here's Joe Willie as a TV-obsessed youngster:



He got his name because of his four white feet. Quarterback Joe Namath, who led Alabama's Crimson Tide to a 29–4 record over three seasons and later had a stellar career with the New York Jets, was known for many things, including his white football shoes when the rest of the Jets wore black. Joe Namath also had a reputation as a ladies' man, and our Joe Willie was as legendary in our neighborhood.

These were the days before we knew to spay and neuter our pets, and therein lies a cautionary tale.



I'd like to think my sister took this photo because she was feeling the Christmas spirit as Mother and I decorated the tree. But I suspect she was documenting that once again, I'd robbed her closet for something to wear, because that's her wool shorts-and-sweater set. Thanks, Debby! It's probably about the last time I could fit into your clothes.

Once our tree was decorated and all the presents tucked beneath it, we decided to go with Mother to a party at some friends' house. As we were leaving, we encountered a female cat on the porch, crying at Joe Willie in the window and begging him to come outside to...play.

"Nope, he's staying in tonight," my mother said. "You'll have to find another boyfriend."

What she failed to consider was that Joe Willie wanted to go out and...play. We came home to a tree all askew, ornaments scattered around it. Even worse, we had to get a new tree and my mother had to rebox and rewrap all the gifts. This Christmas is always referred to as "that time the cat peed all over everything."

May your Christmas be cat urine-free.

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