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Bernie Versus the Marlins (Part III)

It’s three straight Memorial Day weekends that the Mets have visited the Marlins and that would be nothing more than a scheduling quirk barely worth noting except the Mets at the Marlins at this particular juncture of the calendar means one thing to me beyond any wonderful things [1] John Maine, Carlos Delgado and their teammates are doing during their stay at Dolphin Stadium.

It means Bernie [2].

Bernie The Cat chose the hours leading up to the Friday night game of this holiday weekend two years ago — May 27, 2005 — to leave the building, so to speak. I would say we lost Bernie, but that doesn’t sound right. Number one, you couldn’t lose Bernie if you tried. There was just too much cat there to misplace. Number two, I would never let it happen.

We found Bernie at the North Shore Animal League on Halloween 1992 and he found himself at home in our hearts before All Saints Day dawned. He is the reason I’m a cat person. He’s the reason we adopted him a brother, Casey, six months later and the reason we share our home with another smashing set of siblings, Hozzie and Avery, today. It’s impossible for me to lose the feel [3] of what Bernie meant and means to me.

Having served as Bernie’s publicist, pro bono, for nearly thirteen years, I can report with total objectivity that Bernie The Cat was a star. A megastar [4]. We should have furnished him with a red carpet and a velvet rope, that’s the kind of star he was. You couldn’t not see it and swoon. But you also couldn’t not see what he was like inside.

See, Bernie would attempt to be aloof but could never quite pull it off. He’d sidle up to me as if it were just a coincidence that I was sitting a few inches to the right or left of where he decided to plant himself at a given moment. No, I didn’t come over to see you, I just happen to like hanging out in the same square footage that you occupy…believe me, you shouldn’t be flattered. My purring in your presence is not to be taken as tacit acknowledgement that I care for you. But as long as I just happen to be lying in the vicinity of you and whatever you were reading before I plopped myself on top of it, how about you make yourself useful and stroke me about 50 or 60 times? Also, there’s a can of Fancy Feast in the kitchen that could use some opening when we’re done here in the living room.

The act, repeated regularly, never lasted for long. We’d lock eyes and we’d become one, a man and his cat, a cat and his man. When the rest of the world slept, Bernie was the best friend I ever had. We did pretty well when everybody else was awake, too.

The Mets took three of four from the Marlins in Miami two years ago [5] at this time. The Mets took two of three from the Marlins in Miami last year [6] at this time. The Mets have taken the first two from the Marlins in Miami this weekend. In honor of Bernie’s aspirations of aloofness, I’ll continue to pretend the National League schedule is just one big, fluffy coincidence.