Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Story of Old Monroe

We first met Monroe seven years ago when we were in the process of buying the building that is now Drew's art gallery and our home.  Jeff started feeding him after he jumped off the back of a flatbed truck rolling through the Duluth lumber yard and found himself in Edison.  He slept on a mangy beaver pelt in the loft of Tombstone Tony's, the barn that is now the woodshop, and tiptoed onto Jeff's porch for food.  Jeff asked us if we'd keep feeding him after he left - and he was thinking about calling him Monroe because he'd been doing a lot of work there lately.  Drew and I both quickly said, "sure, we'll take care of him" without even looking at each other.  He was here first. We'd take good care of him.

It was a long winter that marked the beginning of our renovation project.  Drew was working long days between the woodshop in Deming and our future home in Edison, and sleeping in Bellingham.  He set Monroe up with a blanket in a box that is now our kitchen, made sure Gunther (who was living in his van in our driveway and working on the building) fed him on days he couldn't make it down here, and cranked the shockingly inefficient propane heater up on nights the temperature dipped below freezing to keep old Monroe warm. 

By the time we actually moved in, Monroe's rough and tumble street smarts of a tom cat had softened to a cat who knew how to appreciate and show gratitude for the good life.  He stuck close to home, slept close to Drew, and tolerated the cats and kids that grew into our family.  He became a fixture in the gallery, sleepily greeting visitors, working the crowd at openings, Berit's constant companion, sleeping in the jewelry case, and shedding on everything.  He was loved by many.

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