THE FAMILY ALBUM: Pets of The Haasienda ~ Clyde & Neko

My adult life has been enriched by the love of the pets who have lived with me.

Let me introduce my furry kiddos, past and present.

NEKO

Nine week old Neko was a 2016 Christmas gift to my fifth son, yet, I was the responsible party for Neko’s care.

Neko was a delightful cat who loved people and loved playing. He slept on the bed with Chief, Bailey, Harrigan, and myself, often snuggled against Chief.

Sadly, Neko passed away April 2019.

CLYDE

One September afternoon in 2017, I was walking by PetSmart windows and I saw this very full, fat tabby cat laying on his back, his lower legs spread, and his upper arms and paws covering his face as he slept. I tapped on the window near his head. He casually pulled an arm aside, eyed me with disgust, and then offered a very agitated “meow.” Although I could not hear his sound through the window, I knew I was being cat-cussed.

And, that’s how a nearly three year old Clyde and I met. Two days, later, I was taking him home to meet three dogs and a cat.

That summer, my friend Alice Kay Lovelace, a volunteer with cats at The Dayton Humane Society, had sent me a message asking if I might be interested in a cat that she adored.

The previous Spring, May 23rd to be exact, Alice Kay had helped with Clyde’s entry to The Humane Society. She immediately fell in love with him. Fortunately, Alice Kay had taken photos of Clyde during the summer.

Ironically, May 23, 1934, was the date of Bonnie & Clyde’s deaths.

Clyde was fat. Fluffy and fat. He often walked quickly on his tinier legs which added a bit of comedy to his gait. The funniest part was that his meow was more like a squeak or a kitten’s high pitched cry. With his size, one would have expected a near lionesque roar. Nope. Clyde squeaked.

The month of October 2017, a number of my students were leads in Centerville High School’s BONNIE & CLYDE. Three students, Adam, Mitchell, and Katie portrayed Clyde Barrow, Clyde’s understudy, and Young Clyde Barrow as a boy. In the adoption papers, I even set Clyde’s birthday as October 1st, the same day as Clyde Barrow.

I had never wanted another cat after Logan as I was afraid I’d always be let down. Logan was one of a kind.

Clyde was just another one of a kind.

Clyde always believed himself to be much thinner than he was and was often getting stuck behind things. He was patient and seldom called out, even when we were searching for him throughout the house.

My piano students learned how to play around Clyde who often laid on the keyboard just above the keys, sometimes even rolling over onto the keys as they were playing. Clyde seemed to adore Ethan Webb and never left the piano during Ethan’s lesson. One night, Ethan played a repeating high Bb while Clyde sat tall, watching Ethan’s hand. Ethan would tap the Bb and then Clyde would paw the same Bb.

Saxophone students were accustomed to Clyde shoving his head into the instruments’ bells and voice students often reached over to pet Clyde who was most likely sitting on the keyboard watching them sing.

Sitting at my desk working or writing, Clyde was most often reclining next to my left arm. Upon hopping onto my desk, Clyde would ram his head into my shoulder to let me know he was there.

He was not as lithe as Neko but deemed himself as graceful which led to humans howling over the comical poses or falls. At night, he liked to sleep on the one bookcase I had turned into a headboard. While sleeping, Clyde often rolled around and would roll off the bookcase//headboard onto my head. Rather than rising to move, he remained spread out across my face or neck. He didn’t mind.

If Neko was in a box, Clyde would find a box. Sometimes, he underestimated his size and would end walking around with the box secured to his backside. A few times, Clyde walked about the house with boxes on his head, walking into things, backing up, and moving in a different direction..

I never knew if Clyde was simply innocent of his performance or if he was a seasoned performer perfecting his comedy. But, he was a Tony Award winner when it came to snuggling. Clyde loved people and was always in the middle of the conversation or activity.

May 2018, I moved out to the deck and placed Clyde in the crate I had set up for him so he could spend time with us. A few minutes later, I heard a thud and saw that Clyde had fallen over, dead. It is assumed that both he and Neko died from a feline heart ailment that was difficult to find.

I love cats, but I feel Clyde is my last cat. The joy he brought so many of us in such a short amount of time was unbelievable. My gosh, Clyde was just the most fun and I do miss him, a lot.

About Wright Flyer Guy

Darin is a single adoptive father, a teacher, playwright, and musical theatre director from Kettering, Ohio.
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