By John Clise
I have been thinking about Pete Rose the Cat lately. I think of him often, and all of the crazy stuff we went through together. He always seems to be on my mind more this time of year.
Rebecca gave me Pete as a 10 month-old scared rescue kitty cat when we were dating. Pete slept, or more like looked scared to death laying directly on my chest while I slept on the couch the first three nights he was living with me. I woke up that first morning, and he was wide-eyed staring at me directly in my eyes. That happened two more days before he started getting used to his new home.
We went through several names before arriving at Pete. There was Johnny Bench, George Foster, Joe Morgan, and Dave Concepcion. Other names included Eddie Murray because I met him years before. He was super nice. Of course, I was 14 or 15. And if I remember right, he was dating my cousin’s friend. I’m a little shaky on that point. Vida Blue came up because for a lefty that guy had smoke in his arm. And coincidentally, Pete Rose said Vida was the hardest throwing pitcher he ever faced in his career.
As for the name Pete. It was the only name the nameless tuxedo answered. He wasn’t nameless. Rebecca had named him Oreo, but I thought a baseball player name would be better.
Pete and I first lived at 111 Main Ave here in Weston. It was above Skasik’s Cleaners. The headquarters of the Downtown Athletic Club I think it was called. The group was captained by the late Jimmy Puder. Others will remember it was Frank Angotti’s pool hall before that. Frank was my landlord. He was a great guy.
I’d wake up frequently to the voice of Pudder, George Whelan, Danny Moody and other talking about sports, and whatever else they talked about.
Pete made several appearances in my column when I worked at The Weston Democrat. We moved to Indiana to work at the Gibson Southern Star-Times. The paper wasn’t that great, but it was nice closer to family and friends for a while as I grew up in Vincennes a little it up the road. Working at that paper was a strange experience, but that’s a column for another time.
We lived about 75 feet from a train track. Trains came through about 12 to 15 times a day then. The first few times Pete went flying to the back of the house. He got used to it. He slept through the trains after while.
We were in a tornado, earthquake, flood, and a heatwave that had temperatures up in the 90s until the end of October. Two days after the heat broke it was 25 degrees. Just like that in southern Indiana.
We did enjoy our home in Fort Branch. It was a nice place. The neighbors were friendly, but not interested in talking much beyond waving here and there. I like those kinds of neighbors.
We lived in Bloomington, Indiana for a short while before returning to West Virginia. Bloomington was a pretty smooth place to live. No weather events, no trains, or dogs barking. It was peaceful and relaxing.
And then we loaded up the red Chevy Cavalier and headed back to West Virginia to Flatwoods to start the Central West Virginian online paper. He was a well-known and beloved columnists there.
Rebecca and I got married, so Pete and I and a couple of friends we picked up along the way all came to live at our new family place on Pratt Avenue.
He got sick, and died very quickly. His beloved life partner Marshall died shortly after of what I believe was a broken heart. They raised three kittens together that showed up on our porch at Flatwoods.
They were very loving and affectionate with each other, and with their kittens.
Oh, we did live through a derecho, and a few days without power after the storm in Flatwoods. I forgot about that. Rebecca came to our rescue with water, and food.
We lived through a 14 inch snow living at Flatwoods. Pete and Marshall both got out in the snow. Pete went immediately back in the house to the fireplace. It took a little more encouragement to get Marsh Marsh back in the house. He seemed to enjoy taking huge leaps over the snow, and sinking in before leaping again.
Pete was with me during some of best and worst times of my life. He was a good friend. He was even a better story teller with his column. He had lots of adventures. I do hope he met Marshall at the rainbow bridge when our little Marshmallow crossed over.
And if it isn’t too selfish, I hope they were reunited with their good friend Melfious Cat Ruler aka Mel the Cat who was also columnist for Hobo Stu Travel.
We humans could only hope to have the adventures those crazy, cute, wonderful kitties had while they were here.
I wrote this memory of Pete for the Central West Virginian on August 6, 2013:
Pete Rose the Cat passed away at about 6 a.m. Monday morning with Rebecca
and I by his side.
It’s hard to put into words what to say about this precious little angel that came
into my life and gave me strength to carry on when I really didn’t want to at all.
I’d gotten myself into a really bad place and was really ready to go myself. But Pete was there to encourage me and love me. He counted on me, and I did not want to let him down or leave him alone.
Some people will say he was only a cat and other people will get the fact that sometimes cats and dogs and even bird and frogs aren’t animals. They are friends we break ourselves against. They are the rocks we cling to that help us stay above water.
I believe Pete was a blessing sent from God to help me through a terrible time in my life.
My heart is filled with great sadness at losing him. I am not sad he isn’t in pain or suffering. I wouldn’t have wanted that for him ever.
I’m sure over the next few weeks I will write a few columns about Pete and our times together. We did have some pretty crazy times together over the years. I’m not exactly sure how the paper will move forward without Pete. He has been our superstar since the beginning.
Every week, we get emails, letters, and other correspondence from readers telling us how
much they enjoy Pete’s column.
We will continue as he wanted us to do. Our sweet little angel is always with us.