A Tribute to Our Dearest Friend Smokie (1984-2001)
Smokie did not start life out as a kitten of privilege. He was born in late 1984, in a rural part of Upper East Tennessee. He was found, half-frozen, out by a dumpster and taken in by a kind apartment manager named Judy where he spent his first Christmas. At the same time, we were spending our last Christmas in Texas before getting married and moving to Upper East Tennessee. As fate would have it, in January 1985, we moved into that apartment complex. A couple of weeks after we moved in, the 3rd building in the complex burned to the ground early in the morning. It was snowing too. We were living in the 2nd building and Smokie in the 4th so we all survived...although the building where Smokie was got a bit singed.
Not long after that, Glenn was called back to Texas to attend his grandfather's funeral, leaving Sandi alone in Tennessee for a few days. Snowed in, as it turned out. Upon Glenn's return, they discussed getting a cat. Suspiciously shortly after that conversation (Glenn has long claimed there was some sort of conspiricy here), Sandi went down to the office to pay the rent and ask the manager how much a pet deposit would be and she just happened to mention that they had this little gray kitten they found and would like to see adopted. Sandi arrived back at the apartment with something mewing under her coat and thus Smokie became part of the McFarland household where he would reign supreme for 16 years.
That "kinda goofy looking kitten" turned out to be a beautiful cat and a great lifelong companion. As time went on, we discovered that Smokie liked to play fetch. He had a catnip bag that we would throw and he would run over and pick up and bring it back for us to throw again. This provided us all with much amusement.
Smokie proved to be a great
hunter. His favorite prey was a cereal box toy called a "Wacky Wall Crawler"...
an octopus sort of rubber thing that was sticky and so you would throw it at a wall and it
would sort of tumble down.
We had 18 inches of snow once in Tennessee...and tossed Smokie into the deep snow on our balcony...he was less than thrilled and not very amused by the entire experience. We on the other hand, had a great time watching him in the snow and then trying to shake all four paws at once when he came back inside.
Smokie without a doubt ruled the other cats, and to a certain extent the dogs too. But he was a very passive aggressive cat. If one of the cats was in a spot he wanted he would just go and sit next to the spot...and then inch closer. If the other cat left, fine. If not, Smokie was not above simply laying on the other cat. Watching the battle over the warm cable converter atop the television was always good. Raven, our black cat, would be sitting up there and Smokie would decide that's where he wanted to be and so would get up on the TV next to the converter. Next thing you know he'd have a back leg up on the converter...then his whole butt. Then a front paw...all this time not watching the other cat at all. Raven would eventually just hiss and leave and Smokie would settle in as if to say "Well I guess I'll sit here since you're not using it anymore".
Smokie was a champion bird chatterer...he loved to try and get the birds outside the windows. He would sit there and chatter away at them for the longest time and then jump at the bird in the window or a shadow of a bird. Guess that was because we would not let him have Merlin, our Cockatiel.
As with any ruling noble, Smokie did not "beg" for things. He simply stated what he wanted and then expected his wishes to be carried out. It was up to us to divine what that was and comply.
Smokie had a great sense of time...at least dinner time. We typically, if we knew what was good for us, fed the cats at 10:00. Sometime around 9:00 or so if we were watching TV Smokie would go over to Sandi and sit there and look at her. If that form of communication failed to get the point across, he would hop up on the coffee table and sit in her line of sight and look at her. If that still failed to produce the desired results, he would then have to resort to speaking his wishes and he generally got the point across.
He was also a great actor. Glenn usually got up first and fed the cats some dry food for breakfast. Sometimes though, Smokie would play the role of a starving cat who missed breakfast with such passion that Sandi would believe that Glenn must have forgotten and so Smokie would get a second helping of breakfast.
Smokie was known as the "Chicken Cat"...meaning if you were eating chicken you were also being visited by the Chicken Cat who expected his share of the kill. But his favorite food in the whole world was the roast beef from Albertsons deli. He would smell it the minute it was brought into the house and would begin demanding his share.
Sandi has spend countless hours over the last 16 years doing various embrodiery projects as well as other craft projects and whenever she would sit down and work on a project Smokie would be at her side. Sometimes in the way, sometimes in her face, sometimes bumping things at just the wrong time, but always there. This is how we will always think of Smokie...at Sandi's side. She was his favorite person and he was her favorite cat...a real mutual admiration society. Smokie would get out of a nap in a warm comfortable lap to go visit Sandi if she called him. He would do the same when he heard her drive up and meet her at the door.
Smokie left us on March 28th, 2001 after a brief illness. If love alone could have saved him, he would never have gone. We are grateful that God brought us together and for our long and joyous time together. While we are saddened at the loss of our Beloved Friend, we have a million happy memories that are ours forever and we count ourselves among the fortunate few to have been priviliged to have a pet as wonderful as Smokie.
Farewell Sweet Smokie...Till We Meet Again