It’s a goal of mine – and the goal of most reporters I know – to make sure stories honestly reflect those who appear in them.
I’m usually successful in that effort, but I’ve purposely failed at the job on a few occasions.
As you may know, I sometimes write about Bix the Mississippi Mudhound. He’s got no complaints; he gets a pretty good shake in the Mighty Daily Journal.
But Viola the Cat has been another story. In the interest of comedy, and in the full knowledge that Viola can’t afford a lawyer, I’ve often overstated her prickliness.
She’s actually a sweet gray and white tabby.
Or, she was.
I had the misfortune of finding her body earlier this week. The burial was swift, but the emotions lingered.
In my mind, I still switch back and forth between seeing her on the ground where she died, and remembering her calm swagger through the grass.
A few readers have asked about Thursday’s movie review in Scene, when I mentioned that I’d had some bad news that affected my mood during “Where the Wild Things Are.”
Hours earlier, I’d found Viola. She’d been missing for about two weeks, so we figured something bad had happened. But we held out hope that someone had picked her up and made her their own, or as close to ownership as a cat will allow.
Finding the body was a shock to the system that you may or may not understand. My dad thinks less of Bix because he allows cats to live at our house.
Viola could keep Bix in check with a look. If a ball rolled past her, Bix waited until she moved, then he went after it. I admired her for that.
Viola was a fine cat, who came when called, and curled up in my lap in the cooler months. She purred easily, but not too loudly. It was relaxing to scratch her behind the ears, and I think she enjoyed it, too.
If you’re a longtime reader, you may have gotten the mistaken impression that she was a haughty, overbearing princess of a cat. I wanted to set the record straight: Viola was seldom overbearing. She will be missed.
– “If man could be crossed with the cat it would improve the man, but it would deteriorate the cat.” – Mark Twain.
– “I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.” – Hippolyte Taine.
– “We need a word for all the kitty-prints that are all over my windshield because the cats like to lie on my hood when the car is still warm.” – Megan Coughlin.
– “When I play with my cat, how do I know that she is not passing time with me rather than I with her?” – Montaigne.
– “If cats could talk, they wouldn’t.” – Nan Porter.
– “There is, incidentally, no way of talking about cats that enables one to come off as a sane person.” – Dan Greenberg.
M. Scott Morris is a Daily Journal entertainment writer. Contact him at (662) 678-1589 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal