Continuing the theme of paintings about who my dad was before the dementia from the Fractured Memories series, here’s another thing about him you should know: he was a cat man. This is not to say that he was part cat, or looked like a cat (Tim Reynolds, who often plays with the Dave Matthews Band, used to play in my dad’s band when I was a kid, and I called him The Cat Man because he had very feline qualities – how’s that for random?), but rather it means that he loved cats. Before the dementia, I only ever saw him cry 3 times: once when I was in a car accident and twice when cats died. They were his babies as much as I was. And they were equally devoted to him. One cat in particular, whose name was Obie (short for Obnoxious, which she wasn’t, really, but we got her as a kitten and she was a handful when she was little), adored my dad. He’d hold her up and high and swoop her around like an airplane, he’d gather her into his arms and dance around the dining room while we blasted big band swing music, and she’d drape herself around his neck like a stole as he walked around the house and sit nose to nose with him on his chest when he napped. It was adorbs. His favorite cat story was when I had come home for Christmas break and brought Ella, my kitten, with me. In the middle of the night, Dad got up to pee and didn’t bother turning the light on. Suddenly, the noise of the pee hitting the toilet water stopped. He turned on the light and discovered that Ella had decided to investigate the sound too closely and he’d peed on her head. He, of course, dutifully cleaned her off and then couldn’t get back to sleep. Doh!
So, this painting is about the sweet, silly, loving way he interacted with kitties.