Lessons Taught By a Siamese Friend's Life


*

Vision 10

Lessons Taught

By a Siamese Friend's Life

By

Cheryl Peugh

Copyright © 2002, Cheryl Peugh, All Rights Reserved

As the first clods of Missouri dirt covered the blue paint that read "Simba" on one side of the box lid, and "1980 - 98" on the other side, I thought of all the things the cat inside the box and I had been through in our lives together.  She'd been born practically into my hands, this cat, and I watched her slip away from my hands at the end of her life.  It nearly felt like the end of mine.

 

When she was born, I wanted a name that was unique - something other than Fluffy or Tabby or Spot.   She was half-Siamese, half traveling salesman, and emerged as a gray and black tiger stripe with white points.  I chose Simba - an African name that means "lion."  A good name, I thought.  No one would ever choose that name.  Both Simba and I were insulted when Disney's "The Lion King" came out.  We considered suing, but the Disney people had more money than we did so we dropped it.

As everyday inspiration, Simba gave me her all.  Without words, she encouraged me to write and send off stories.  Without words, she comforted me when rejection came back time and time again.  She would just look at me with wide green eyes that showed complete and utter trust and faith in my abilities.  Faced with that, I could not give up even when convinced I couldn't write my way out of a wet paper bag.

When Simba got sick at age thirteen, she taught me a greater lesson about fighting for what I wanted than any stirring speech I could have read or heard.  I wasn't about to let my friend down by giving up on her.  I couldn't any more than she could give up on me.  Together, we fought and defeated the disease when even the vets had given up hope.