In Greek mythology, a prologue is an opening to a story that establishes the setting and gives background details that tie into the main story.

“No amount of time can erase the memory of a good cat.” – Leo Dworken

In Greek mythology, a prologue is an opening to a story that establishes the setting and gives background details that tie into the main story.

With that in mind, here is my prologue to a story I wrote three years ago about Henry, a neighborhood cat who could survive just about anything, including a near-death experience in our front yard.

Since then, during a fierce territorial feline war, another cat in the neighborhood bit a huge chunk out of Henry’s head. Henry lived.

In the last three years, Henry also successfully dodged cars that nearly ran over him and escaped the clutches of any number of malicious raccoons, skunks and bobcats in the nearby woods, where he was the undisputed king of the forest. He fell sick a time or two from eating too many mice, but somehow he always survived whatever ailed him.

If you are counting, that is more than nine lives. Sadly, this unconquerable cat recently succumbed to something he could not beat – old age and infirmity.

Henry was resolute, determined, tough, lucky and, yes, one stubborn, big fat cat.

I miss him already. R.I.P Henry.

Therefore in his honor and by reader request, I am sharing once again my story about how I almost caused Henry to lose one of his nine lives.

A cat named Henry

“In a cat’s eye, all things belong to cats.” – Old English proverb.

A common belief is that cats were worshipped as gods thousands of years ago. Cats have never forgotten this.

With that thought in mind, let me introduce you to Henry, our neighbor’s cat and undisputed god of our subdivision.

Now as cats go, Henry is quite likeable and better than most in my non-cat lover opinion.

Do not write telling me how wrong I am about cats.  Hear me out first.

Henry is a portly, orange cat that minds his own business most of the time, mouses in the nearby field and stands guard over my koi pond.

I generally give Henry the benefit of the doubt when he does this and assume he is guarding my fish instead of trying to eat them. So far, Henry sits contentedly watching the fish swim, and that is fine with me.

The real reason I give him this much credit is because he is a tad too indolent to expend the energy necessary for fishing.

Thus, I never worry much about Henry knowing that he will not take up fishing in addition to mousing.

As a rule, Henry eyes me with the same wariness and circumspection as I watch him. We hold our ground and neither budges.

I suspect that in a match of wills, Henry would win because as all cats do, Henry senses that I am not a cat lover.

His air of superiority lets me know that he “totally gets it” (pardon the common vernacular).

Henry exudes confidence as though he understands Faith Resnick’s quote that people who hate cats will come back in the next life as mice.

That could be me – except for my cat-hating redemption experience, “the rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey says.

One Friday evening, we finished packing a trailer with our youngest son’s personal belongings and furniture. We were about to drive him on an out-of-state journey to begin graduate school.

We padlocked the trailer knowing it would not be opened again until the following Tuesday, four long days later.

The next morning I realized I forgot to put one box in the trailer and hurriedly opened the lock to toss in the small box and finally be done with the packing.

To my surprise and Henry’s (this is when he re-enters my story), as I flung the trailer door open, Henry and I locked eyes. He was inside the trailer and sitting on the barbecue grill.

Apparently, he had hopped in the night before while we were packing and no one saw him.

I am not sure which of us was the most shocked, stunned, frightened or relieved.

Henry ran for home, and I was overcome with compassion for him. Likely, he would not have survived the four days shut inside a hot trailer.

I saved Henry purely on a last minute whim, or let’s call it, a nudge from the universe, and Henry survived to watch my fish another day.

Henry is now my eternal friend and I am his, although both of us realize there will never be any affection between us.

I figure that saving Henry keeps me from returning as a mouse in the next life.

We are even.