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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

An international holiday for Herm

Sketches by Rob Davies circa 1992
No matter where
I find myself,
I stop on August 1
to celebrate
International
Herman Davies Day.


The Herm came to my house on an autumn day in the late 1980s, and the world changed.


People began knocking on my door, all of them asking if Hermie could come out to play with their children, with their puppies, and with their kittens.

Soon he was the talk of the town, then of the province of British Columbia and, within months, of the entire country of Canada. He was the best entertainment people could give their 6-month-old offspring. He would lie on the floor and let babies crawl all over him, pull his black tail, his one black ear, and his white ear with a circle of black below it. He let kittens do the same, even though they had sharp little teeth with which they chewed his ears.

Childless couples found he would wrestle with their puppies and wash their kittens and entertain visiting dignitaries as well. It was his unassuming aplomb with foreign diplomats that gave rise to the international celebration.

For Herman's second birthday, my sister gave him a tiny little white kitten. Hermie was so sweet, generous, and polite, that he always let the kitten eat first. This led to him keeping his boyish figure and to the kitten becoming a large, fat, selfish creature who clawed the ankles off teenage boys when they passed by.


When the late great Herm was twelve years old, he was stricken by an inoperable brain tumor. Despite valiant efforts by his veterinary team, and members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police who escorted a sample of his spinal fluid on its way to the lab in a last-ditch attempt to save the heroic cat, he died. Hermie was buried with full honors next to his favorite dog, NiƱa Davies, aka The Dreaded Ninja Puppy, in a field overlooking one of British Columbia's majestic rivers.

Wherever I am on International Herman Davies Day, I find a river and hire a lone piper to play Scots Wha Hae Wi Wallace Bled (or Bruce's Address to His Troops at Bannockburn) (same song, different title). Crowds gather, many of the people carrying infants, young children, kittens or puppies, so that all may remember the white-with-black wonder who was The Herm.


Posted for Out of Standard at the
Imaginary Garden with Real Toads
in response to the prompt from that ever-imaginative poet Isadora Gruye asking us to write about a holiday of our own devising.


16 comments:

Grandmother (Mary) said...

A piper for the Herm seems only fitting as does a holiday for such a creature.

Margaret said...

Awe. I can see he is still much loved - a perfect reason to claim a holiday for Herm!

Isadora Gruye said...

They say every dog has his day, but every cat owns everyday! Thanks for sharing a slice of Herm with us, Kay!!!! And as always thanks for posting to the out of standard. Viva la

Susie Clevenger said...

What a wonderful pet Herm must have been!! I love the drawings.

Susan said...

The bag-piped dirge is the icing on the cake. I would celebrate this holiday with you.

SquirrelQueen said...

The Herm sounds like a most extraordinary cat. What a great way to celebrate Create Your Own Holiday Day. I would love to have met Herm.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

I love your writing, Kay. Excellent reading on this dreary, rainy first day of Spring.
You are amazing.
Luv, Jenn

Kerry O'Connor said...

Despite the humorous tone, I could tell how much the late great Herm is missed, and still held in much love and devotion by his human mother.

Sherry Blue Sky said...

What a wonderful story this is! I love it!

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
What a tribute; holiday a must! YAM xx

Mara said...

All hail the Herm!

Fireblossom said...

All hail Hermie!

blueoran said...

In every life there's a legendary Hermie. Mine is named Belle and she rests from her global conquest right now in my lap. All hail Hermie indeed.

jo-hanna said...

They leave a gap, when they pass, don't they?.
Did I read you have been unwell? Hope Spring will set things right.

Janice Adcock said...

Fun post. Thanks for sharing your wonderful Cat with the world.

Hannah said...

Well, the story-telling and story itself is fabulous, Kay and my heart breaks with the underlying truth in this...it is always so hard to not feel the grief when remembering our beloved animals. Jade, my girl dog's passing, is coming up on a year this May and this week has been especially tough for some reason.

Hugs to you and I hope you're feeling better. ♥