Da Grate Jeter Harris made his way to the Rainbow Bridge this week, and I am devastated.
I last saw Jeter three weeks ago. I’ve stayed at his house many times, but he’d always been wary of me. If I was lucky, if I got up in the middle of the night to pee he’d be hanging out at the top of the stairs and would allow me to get a couple of pets in before darting away.
This time was different. We had an extraordinary skritch session and he was purrin an purrin. Maybe even laffin an laffin. The next morning, he gave me a few head bonks when I reached for the Keurig. He’d been sleeping atop the range.
Two years ago he was hit with kidney disease. It was touch-and-go. I went with him on a visit to the beautiful Dr Landefeld, his veterinarian who specializes in felines even though she’s allergic. She gave him many kisses, a treatment my crusty ol’ vet has declined to administer.
Jete eventually rallied. He never gained back the weight, but was his old self and enjoyed his time in the back yard, even though he had to share it with his nemesis, that kitten Joba. His friend Matsui was a constant companion. His BFF Mickey made the trip to The Bridge a couple of years ago, and their reunion was joyous.
Jeter was the sports columnist for Mousebreath, and was world famous for his blog. He never quite got the hang of Spell Check, although some would argue that Spell Check never quite got the hang of Jete. As an acclaimed spellin coach, he saw his star pupil, Skeezix the Cat, compete in the National Spellin Bee. He was a rabid Yankees fan and often could be spotted with his Yankees cap on, cheering the team with his ‘rents. In fact, the Yankees named one of their players after him.
Jeter changed my life and gave me one of my most treasured gifts: his mom’s friendship. Though separated by a continent, Jeter and Skeezix had become BFFs, and in turn his mom and I did, too. His good cheer was infectious and the sun always shone a little brighter after reading his blog.
My face is leaking and although my world is bleak in the wake of his passing, someone is purring in my ear:
“Life is Grate.”