Margery Kempe came to us in the fall of 1995. It was Parents’ Weekend at Sewanee and we suspected that she was dropped off by people who had come up to the Mountain for the weekend. We found her running from the general direction of St. Luke’s Chapel towards All Saints’ Chapel, crying with all of her might (Hence the name Margery Kempe). She was an itty-bitty little thing. When we took her to the vet for the first time to have her checked out, he told us she tested positive for Feline Leukemia and needed to be put down. We disagreed.
Another vet, vitamins and interferon, plus a couple of months of isolation away from our Maggie Pie, Margery was retested and came up negative. She was a feisty thing. She had a dear friend in Sewanee for a couple of years, Tigger, who would come and visit every day after his girls went off to school. And we’ll never forget the summer Reginald Fuller and his wife lived next door, and when a dead cat appeared on the street below us, Mrs. Fuller worried that it was Margery, or the “little fat one” as she called her. In Sewanee, our cleaners named her “Large Marge.” Although she was small-bodied, she ate her fill.
When we moved to South Carolina, Corrie wanted to get her a new playmate to replace Tigger. That explains Merton but they never really got on. Perhaps the most poignant moment ever for me and Margery came upon Maggie Pie’s death. For the last couple of years of her life, Maggie always slept up next to my head. It was the spot where she felt protected from Merton’s onslaughts. Margery never slept in the bed. She had grown accustomed to sleeping on her own, probably because of her early months in isolation.
Maggie’s last night, I knew she something was wrong. She couldn’t get comfortable next to me and in the morning, we took her to the vet and he discovered a huge tumor in her lungs. That night, for the first time, Margery came in the bed and settled down next to my head.
A couple of photos from Margery in her prime:
As I wrote this a couple of nights ago, Margery was sleeping on my lap. She barely moved her limbs in an hour. Her breath at times seemed forced; at other times it came easily. She’s on pain medication, blood pressure medication, subcutaneous fluids. But she’s still eating and especially enjoyed bites of shrimp cocktail on Christmas Eve.