“God made the cat in order that man might have the pleasure of caressing the lion.” ~ Fernand Mery
If you have been following me on Facebook, you know that I am in my happy place. I am presently enjoying the month of November on the island. It is always a joy to create a monthly Love Letter from the cottage table where my view is of the meadow, beach flowers, sea grass, and blue skies. The gentle sound of ocean waves and the wind through the pines create an idyllic setting for writing or creating. Both of which, I gift myself during this month.
There are so many reasons why I absolutely love this island and why it is my passion to share it with others. This story of Prince, that I am going to share with you, is just a glimpse into the spirit of this very special place.
There are so many things that happen on a daily basis here. Each morning I hear the sound of a red Jeep’s muffler as the “yoga lady” parks to do her morning yoga on the beach. A white pickup truck always parks in the first spot by the stop sign. The crunching sounds of shells as beach goers walk past my window over the shell covered pavement is heard continuously throughout the day. The trolley stops at the Beach Cafe. Bottles are dumped into dumpsters from the night before. And the osprey chirps from high in a tree. Meanwhile, just a mile north of here, is a shopping plaza where the story of Prince begins.
I had one encounter with Prince. This is significant because that one encounter made such a big impact. It was a couple of years ago in the parking lot of the post office. Prince was sauntering through a busy parking lot as if he owned the place. Standing on the sidewalk, I did the notorious “here kitty kitty” call. He walked over. I petted him. Looked for a tag. Found his name and a phone number. The tag was imprinted with Prince 941 something. I dialed the number. The line disconnected twice before a connection was made. The caller at the other end shared that while they did not own Prince, he was cared for by everyone. Once inside the post office, the post office lady smiled and shared, “He lives a very charmed life.” I left feeling really happy inside. How nice. A stray cat that is loved by so many. Continuing on my path, I saw a food bowl in front of Minnie’s Place filled with tuna. Yep, a charmed life.
Last year, Kim and I were having lunch at Hurricane Hank’s. Seated at the bar, we met a gentleman that owned a business in the S & S Shopping Plaza. He relayed a story of how Prince needed some medical attention so they placed an ad in The Islander. $1400 dollars was raised and a bank account was opened in his name. The gentleman also told me that the veterinarian across the street provided all of Prince’s immunizations and vaccinations for free. Yep, a charmed life.
This year, thinking of Prince, I returned to the Plaza. Out front of Minnie’s, a water bowl remains. However, after several visits, I did not see Prince. Gazing into one store front after another, I ran across a sign. My heart sunk!
Sweet travels, little buddy. No! In my heart, I knew what this meant. Tears welled up in my eyes. My heart felt heavy. Just now, typing these words, has me in tears. Prince’s life came to an abrupt end this past July.
Once back at the cottage, it consumed me. How did it happen? Of course, I figured that he was run over by a car. No. Sadly, it was even worse than that. He was attacked by a wild animal.
Now, while this seems like it could be the end of the story, it is not. I learned that Prince made his way to an islander’s porch and was discovered in distress. That islander phoned another and took Prince to an emergency vet for immediate and urgent care. Apparently, Prince suffered from the injuries sustained by either talons or claws. He was euthanized as the injuries left him paralyzed.
My tender heart needed to have closure. He was cremated. The urn and photo are at Mister Roberts store. This is where Prince slept so many days of his life on a chair in the clothing store. Because of this, his ashes are kept at this location, honoring his life. Upon seeing his urn and photo, that the two employees at Mister Roberts showed me, tears once again welled up in my eyes. Through the tears, I choked out, “Isn’t it amazing the difference that one cat can make in the lives of others?” The employees kept their heads down as they mumbled out, “Uh huh.” (I’m pretty certain they were crying, too).
Finally, I saw yet another incredible thing. A donation jar and newspaper clipping revealing that the Board approves PRINCE PARK! The park that is located directly behind the plaza is going to be named Prince Park – and – a statue of Prince is being erected in his honor.
He was only a stray island cat. Most likely left behind. Yet, he touched so many lives. And thanks to so many people that DID love him, his story will continue.
Sweet travels, little buddy. Sweet travels!
Wishing you and yours a happy holiday season. Be present. Be loving. Be kind. Let your legacy be one of love, too.
Live. Love. Play. Prosper.
With love and gratitude, Happie G