A Silly Place
(Apologies to P. Bagge!)
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On Monday, April 7, 1997, one of my cats died.
I know the popular misconception is that guys aren't supposed to even LIKE cats, let alone have them as pets. Well, let me tell you, Ebby was pretty old, and often cranky, and could never figure if she wanted to be inside or outside, but she was one of my "kids" and I loved her dearly. The scene I witnessed that morning ­ a beloved pet being mauled to death by a neighbor dog ­ is one I would spare any pet-owner if it were within my power. Although the dog's owner was pretty upset, more than taking care of the cost of Ebby's funeral arrangements and vowing to police his pet better, it still seems kinda like locking the barn door after the horses have bolted (or something). And so, sadly, I dedicate this section to a lost friend...

Ebony "Ebby" Brady-Torres 1982? - 1997

Staring intently at non-existent items; batting cat toys around; having her chin rubbed; sitting on papers (including comic books); climbing wooden handrails; sticking her head in the food bowl and her paws in the water bowl.

Ebony Brady-Torres was truly a cat of mystery, and that is how she wanted it. Much of her past is enshrouded in fallacies and lies, including her true date of birth. Ebby was never forthcoming with a straight answer to any question, especially why she retained her swinging "belly paunch" even after losing considerable weight in recent months. In her earlier, wild years, she shacked up with Spanky Cat and Nancy Brady in her swingin' Ronkonkoma, then Patchogue pads. Opting to stay on Long Island when Spanky, Nancy and then-finacé Paul Azzara moved to Florida, Ebby took in Frank Torres, a local ne'er-do-well and vagabond. A succession of room-mates and apartments then flew by at dizzying pace. Gretchen Johnson, one of the room-mates brought in personally by Ebby to help clean up after Mr. Torres, ultimately put Ebby in touch with Oreo, a young, skinny, black & white "psycho-cat". The two would prove to be quick friends. Not so when, several years later, Frank brought another feline into Ebby's home, then shared by Patti Amantea, in a mistaken move to "complete the set" of all-black, black & white, and all-white cats. The nearly-albino Smudge Cat, though closer to Ebby's example of girth than Oreo, proved to be a bit of a bully and was expelled from the house (Smudge now resides with Mr. Torres' sister, Melissa). Ironically, Mr. Torres was also thrown out at the same time, though not by Ebby, but by Ms. Amantea. Unfortunately, due to their long association with Mr. Torres, Ebony and Oreo had no choice but to relocate to Dix Hills with him (A personal letter of apology from Ms. Amantea was found in Ebby's effects). Ebony died as she lived, defending her prized sunning stoop.

Testimonials from across the country:

Ebby, you will never be forgotten!

~Frank Torres, Dix Hills Lindenhurst North Lindenhurst
Huntington Station Smithtown, NY~

Ebby, I'm going to vomit a fur ball now
in remembrance.    :(    @--->-----

~Patti & Kevin, Ronkonkoma, NY FL~

I'll never forget the way you climbed
up on the sink to steal the Bonkers when
Frank was away and I was entrusted with your
care. Perhaps that explains the paunch.....
I'll miss you and remain pledged to my
personal crusade against large nasty dogs.

~Jeffrey R., Huntington, NY~

The next dog I see I'm going to eat
in your honor....... hey wait a minute.

~Mike Zantopp, Lock Haven, PA~

Our sincerest gratitude to a dear friend,
Frank Torres, for all the years of caring
and love he has given to our first feline.
Perhaps Ebby sensed that Spanky Cat has
recently expired, quietly and with dignity,
while he slept. We will mourn the deaths
of our dear family and pray they are
batting a foil ball together.

~Nancy Brady & Paul Azzara, Ft. Lauderdale Margate, FL~

Ebby — I didn't know you,
but I am sure you were a fine cat!

~Aunt Paula Sager, Muncy, PA~