23 September 2007

No Gus, no glory...


Gus was the Mayor of Irving Street, and he had a million friends. Particularly amongst the walking rush-hour crowd.

Practically every morning, as I stumbled in a sleepy haze towards the bus stop at 14th Street, that cat greeted me on the sidewalk with a mumbled mowr, and the droopy-eyed look of indifference that old cats develop. Sometimes it sounded like he was sympathizing with my fatigue and desire to just crawl back to the pillow that hatched me an hour before... And sometimes I think he was ordering me to move along and stop interrupting his Very Important Loitering.

Gus never roamed far from his stoop, on the 1300 block of Irving Street, and he became as recognizable a face as the crossing guard on the corner, or the guy selling the morning Post from a plastic chair on the side of the road...


Now there's a memorial on the sidewalk, with items added from people around the neighborhood. It's funny, touching, and sad--but it illustrates one reason why I love Columbia Heights, even with its occasional hemorrhages of violence and crime. This kind of spontaneous memorial never would have happened in friggin' Glenmont.

And all this, from a guy allergic enough to cats to restrict all Gus Contact to a single index finger, for boopin' on the nose. For Gus, I'm sure that boopin' was quite enough. Anyway.


Git thee to Valhalla, dude. There's a sidewalk in the Summerland with your name on it.

8 comments:

inowpronounceyou said...

I live very, very close to this memorial, and I saqw Gus every morning as well. Even though I'm not much of a "cat person", he was one cool feline.

My walk to the metro just isn't the same without him.

Mr T in DC said...

I used to live on the block, and had met Gus several times. Yesterday, while walking by, my wife and I saw the memorial, and were saddened by the news. Our own cats have both died fairly recently, but it was comforting to see such a unique memorial come together on Irving Street.

IMGoph said...

we have a cat named casper (white as a ghost) on our block in bloomingdale. she's usually out at night and will follow you home if you're walking home from the bus, like she's your personal bodyguard. it's nice to have a neighborhood cat...i feel for you all up in columbia heights.

Stephanie said...

I live on the 3100 block of 13th St. and unfortunately I drive to work, but whenever I did take the metro or had to venture over to CVS, I always looked forward to seeing Gus and hearing his pathetic "meow". Even when he went missing a couple of months ago, I was worried about his safety. He was one cool cat who will truly be missed. :(

Anonymous said...

"the guy selling the morning Post from a plastic chair on the side of the road..." His name is Willy & has a long time presence in the neighborhood as well. He has his share of issues, but he is a good guy who helps care for the neighborhood.

bogfrog said...

we have a black and white alley cat a bit north and east of you. He spent many winter nights in my house when i had a big hole in the floor connecting to under the porch. He was fearful of me, though. I wonder if anyone has given him a name?

~Binkles said...

I just moved into the area 4 months ago, and saw Gus several times on my way to the metro in the morning. Whenever I did, I couldn't help giving his head a scratch. He'd always give a loud and seemingly angry "Mrow!", as if I'd woken him up or startled him. But he never ran away, just sat there and took the few scratches on his head I had time to give him. He always brightened my day.

On the way to work that morning, when I saw the memorial, my heart sank and I couldn't wait to get home that night and give my own cats a squeeze.
I took some pictures of the memorial, too, but they're pretty much the same as above (only shot at night): http://s93.photobucket.com/albums/l49/burbank_spiffers/Gus_memorial/

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