Sunday, May 6, 2007

Remembering Dr. Gysin

Dr. Gysin was a cat I had the pleasure of being adopted by, after I found him at an animal shelter. When he was a kitten he would sit on my shoulder as I drove around town, often generating large smiles from other drivers we pulled up next to. Dr. Gysin was named after the artist and writer, Brion Gysin and like his namesake, Dr. Gysin was a very unique fellow.

I think this cat may have had some sort of brain damage, or some other abnormality, as he had a number of odd behaviors and didn't seem to learn things the way other cats do. One of his habits that I found most endearing was his reaction to spaghetti noodles. He had quite a passion for them! When he saw that we were eating spaghetti, he would jump up on the counter to go check out the pot the pasta had been cooked in. Spotting noodles, he would reach in with his paw to snag one, and then bring it up to his mouth. Once he had a good grip on it, he would back away from the pot, dragging the spaghetti strand with him as he went. When he had pulled the noodle a
ll the way out, he would begin to eat it, inch by inch, and eat his way back to the pot, where he would find his next noodle and start the process all over again. At the time I was living with three children and another adult, and we all enjoyed watching Dr. Gysin perform his spaghetti ritual. It was an extra bonus on those nights- in addition to a yummy meal, we also got entertainment provided by our pasta loving kitty.

In 1987 Dr. Gysin was diagnosed with Feline Leukemia. While he never acted very sick, he did slow down some, and then one morning I came downstairs and found him dead in the living room. He had died lying in front of a recent painting of mine. In the painting there was an arch, that looked like a doorway or entrance of some kind... into what? Another dimension perhaps. As I was painting it, I thought of it as an entrance into a place of healing. The painting was propped up against the wall, not having been hung up yet. Dr. Gysin lay down right in front of the 'doorway' in the painting. It seemed like he had known where to go to have a good transition into the next realm. He would have looked something l
ike this, before he passed:

After he died, we painted a memorial rock for him, with his name, year of birth and death, and a big heart. We took his body out into a large nearby park, and buried him off in the woods, placing the painted rock on top. A week or so later, we went back, to pay our respects to Dr. Gysin, and also to plant a little rose bush over him. When we got there, we found that someone else had discovered his grave, and piled in front of his painted rock, they had left an offering of a tidy little pile of lush green grass. It touched us to know that some stranger had honored our sweet Dr. Gysin in this way.


Hone Williams said...

Like your picture of Dr. Gysin... very Thurberesque :)

Jaya said...

Why thank-you, Phil! :-)