the autumn stone
When our elderly family cat, Biff, suddenly contracted cancer in 2002, this was the song we played him on the morning my son\’s mother took him to the PDSA – the People\’s Dispensary for Sick Animals – to have him humanely euthanized. I stayed at home, but later buried his body.
At my own mother\’s house. Beneath a tree, the leaves under it thick as a carpet and smelling of October.
A forty mile round trip by bus with passengers fascinated and suspicious of infant sized rigor mortis in a knitted blanket. Like Mexicans chasing the border before sunset darkens the hard shoulder. The prodigal son. Peered at from behind rain spotted windows.
This was my young son\’s first exposure to terminal illness, and death; and grieving.
Biff was a street smart cat who, in his prime, liked to seek out the smokey atmosphere of bars most nights. He would often come home at 4:00 AM smelling faintly of cigars. His fur still warm from an unknown neighbour\’s hearth. He was always quick to dismiss unwanted attention.
And he liked to get stoned. Produced by Ronnie Laine.
Certain people will never accept a loved one revisiting their past.
They may pass it off as insecurity but it\’s seldom solely that, I think.
It is confusion as to who that person may or may not turn out to be; the crippling fear of both private and public reinvestigation. Of an uninvited past. Or headlights failing in the night and the dim prospect of parole.
A trusted face looking in the mirror – tyrannized – lip-reading,
\”Fuck it, kemo sabe. Let\’s hit the road.\”
Sometimes it\’s easier just to let sleeping pets lie. ▼ SMALL FACES: THE AUTUMN STONE from \”Autumn Stone\” 2 X LP (Immediate) 1969 (UK)