A Far Green Country


GANDALF: End? No, the journey doesn’t end here. Death is just another path, one that we all must take. The grey rain-curtain of this world rolls back, and all turns to silver glass, and then you see it.

PIPPIN: What? Gandalf? See what?

GANDALF: White shores, and beyond, a far green country under a swift sunrise.

PIPPIN: Well, that isn’t so bad.

GANDALF: No. No, it isn’t.


Summer, 1994.  Two (very) recent college grads move into their first real off-campus apartment.  One of the criteria for the lodgings is that it must allow cats, because one of the grads thinks it might be nice to have a cat.  Either a black one, or a white one, or a grey one.  Fantasy novel wizard names have already been selected for the hypothetical cat.

Sometimes, very, very seldom in my experience, when you open that sort of door and put a question, an idea, out into the universe — sometimes the universe responds with the perfect answer.

Fall, 1994.  Phone call.  Mother’s co-worker’s cat has had three kittens, they are all grey and white.  Interested?

Grey AND white? How perfect!  I’ll take a look.

So, here’s the kitten.  What do you think?  Deep, charcoal grey.  Pink button nose.  Tiiiiiiiiny paws in teeeeensy white gloves.  Ok, we’ll take him

Oct 20, 1994.  Gandalf the Grey comes home.

The three of us have been a family for far longer than any of our friends have been raising their children.  Dwell on that to grasp some idea of just how much he means to us.


Since the day he joined our family, we have lived in four different homes, changed jobs several times, seen friends married (and divorced), had loved ones die, and watched babies be born and grow to near adulthood.  Other animals have come into our lives, and some left far too soon.  But through all this, there was Gandalf.

He, BW, and myself formed the permanent core of our family, the “grownups” if you will.  We never truly thought of him as our “child”, but as an equal partner.  His concerns were our concerns, and vice-versa.  His opinion carried weight and was always given the respect it deserved.

He was just that kind of a cat.  A cat with gravitas.  A once-in-a-lifetime cat.

Ninja.  Wizard.  Badass.  Secret Agent.  Office Manager.  Reading Companion.  Helper.  Familiar.  Friend.

We all had so much fun together.  We are so privileged to have known him.

My friend, I can only hope that you found us worthy of you.


Here is a photo gallery of Gandalf’s life. 

Thank you to everyone who has been his friend all these years.  Especially to Cheri, who has done so much for Gandalf and been the best Aunt to him.  And my Mom, who found him for us in the first place.

4 Responses to “A Far Green Country”

  1. reeree Says:

    … A beautiful tribute – ;) .

  2. serhaex Says:

    A great tribute to a great kitty.

  3. mom Says:

    Cheryl, you are so good with words. You told a beautiful story of one remarkable

  4. GB Says:

    Beautifully written. I’m so sorry for your loss.

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