7/10/2013 2:00:00 PM Back talk from the back house
By Nancy Wilson
A cat tale
Ubi's peregrinations will always be a mystery. His tale took place many years ago when my mother was still alive, living in what was, even then, the Front House.
Of all the cats who have come and gone in my life, he was one of the most unusual (today's Tokolosh notwithstanding).
I had named him Yeti, because this dark tiger was seriously polydactyl, but that name didn't stay with him very long. One of his great enjoyments in life was to go up to the Front House during the day while I was working (yes, once upon a time, I did work), where my mother lived to visit her.
He spent a great deal of time with her, sitting in her lap, purring to her. She renamed him Ubi, (Ubiquitous, for the obvious reason), and this was the name that stuck; Yeti went down the drain.
Then, one year, along about Memorial Day, he disappeared. I waited several months, calling him regularly with no luck at all. When I had a notice from the vet along about August, that he was due for some shots, I notified her that he had gone, and I no longer expected to see him again, so much time had gone by and she should cross him off her list.
I had to be satisfied with my other cats, and stop worrying about him, even though he had been such a fixture in our lives.
The summer crept by into fall, and I had nearly forgotten about Ubi, with everything else that was going on around me.
Then along came Columbus Day weekend, when I was pretty much as usual, not doing much of anything, maybe reading a book or working on a crossword puzzle. (Yes, you know where this is going).
I heard a pale little, "meow," at the door. I got up and opened it ... and there was Ubi, looking well-fed and healthy. I let him in, told him I was very glad to see him after all this time, and of course I asked him where he had been.
He refused to reply to that question, and headed to the food dish; he had remembered where it was. First I called my mother, who didn't believe me (shortly after he had come home, he went up to pay her a visit to reassure her that he really was back).
Although he had come in looking perfectly happy, I called the vet just to have him checked out. Everything was fine; he was plump as ever, and apparently none the worse for the wear, if wear there had been.
And I'll be darned, the following year he did the same thing; disappeared on Memorial Day, came home Columbus weekend.
This second year, however, I didn't worry about him nearly as much; nor did I the following year, or the year after that. His summer hiatus had become a pattern; gone at the end of May, returned in October.
My mother and I got used to this, and welcomed him home each time. Then one day I discovered a growth in his neck, which turned out to be a malignant, inoperable tumor, and that was that for poor Ubi. I had him euthanized.
I knew he had lived an adventurous life, but I never did find out where he had spent those summers away; he would never tell me. I strongly suspect that he had moved in with one or another of the families who come to Maine for the summer, who maybe fed him Fancy Feast, which he would never find at home; otherwise, he is quite unforgettable.