His Name Was Edgar. Not Ed. Not Eddie. But Edgar.

One night, one of those long wintry ones when darkness settles on northern Ohio long before dinner, my father was leaving his factory for home.

New snow was just over the top of his shoes. When he reached the car, Dad noticed a cat literally following in each of his footprints. He thought nothing of it. Cats were a common sight in and around that paper-box plant. Security fed them a little to encourage their presence and keep the rodent population down.


When Dad opened the door to his beloved red Chrysler, the cat jumped in the back seat as if entitled. He was all black. He shook the city snow off his paws. All four were white, like little socks. And so was a furry diamond beneath his chin.

“Okay,” said my father, who grew up on a farm. By the time he arrived at our rural home, Dad had forgotten he was chauffeuring a feral cat.

When his driver opened the car door, the cat jumped out and moseyed up to the porch where he sat down to await dinner, as if he’d been a family member for a quarter-century, which is exactly what he turned out to be.

At dinner, Dad announced that his name was Edgar.

“How do you know?” I asked.

“Just look at him. He’s refined, dressed nicely. Obvious nobility. He’s an Edgar. Not Ed. Not Eddie. But Edgar.”

And so, he was Edgar forevermore. I had just started grade school at the time. Edgar was around all those years, high school, even college.

On cold winter nights he would jump up on my bed and purr, as long as I was scratching. When that stopped with sleep, quite cat-like, he was gone. But at least he was honest about the diffidence.

Edgar was also territorial. He’d sit straight up on the back steps and if any other cats wandered by, he’d suggest they move along. They did.

Occasionally, he would share a mouse he had killed, depositing it on the porch for everyone to admire, which, of course, we did.


When Irene came along, also from the factory, I believe, they became a couple. Over the years, they had 69 offspring. Neutering was not a thing back then.

My job was to wean the kittens. Which I did rather well, Mom and Dad said, because they didn’t want to get down on the kitchen floor for a half-hour every morning and night.

After about two months, the felines were chauffeured back to the office for adoption, where Dad guaranteed every co-worker they were males.

Eventually, we moved several miles away. Edgar and Irene had their own comfy covered box, blanket-lined, in the new garage. But he seemed bothered.

A couple of months later. Edgar disappeared. That wasn’t too unusual. He often went on expeditions for a few days.

But this time he was gone for weeks, many of them. We feared the worst and talked about it. Then, the day before we were to leave on vacation, there was Edgar at the back door, a little scruffy but still, clearly black-and-white nobility.

“Why can’t he go on vacation when we do?” Dad said in mock exasperation since the kennel would charge 50 cents a day for him. That’s how long ago this was.

Nearly a year later, we ran into the family that bought our first house. They wanted to know if our black cat with the white paws was okay.

That seemed a strange question.

Turns out, some months after we moved out and they moved in, Edgar had appeared back at the old house. He wandered around there for a couple of days, then disappeared in time to return cross-country to his new house before our vacation.


Even the shelter dogs that passed through and enriched our lives recognized the family hierarchy. These included (at various times) a large St. Bernard and a Great Dane. They well knew the black-and-white cat that came and went at will had family tenure and was not to be messed with.

Years passed. I grew up. Irene passed away. But Edgar was always at home, a family constant. If I ever referred to him as Ed even teasing, Dad would give me one of his “Really?” looks.

When I was in college, my parents moved to Chicago’s Near North Side where I’d visit. I wrote about one of those days recently involving the Beatles.

They got an apartment on the 22nd floor overlooking Lake Shore Drive. the Oak Street Beach, and that city’s magnificent lakefront. Mom set up a stool with a cushion by the picture window.

There, Edgar would jump up and spend most of most days monitoring all the silent doings far below. The nighttime lights seemed to fascinate him most.

We’d often spend time as a family speculating on the thoughts of the once-feral factory cat sitting over there who, even on a snowy winter night, could spot a nice man to adopt. It’s the mystery in pet thoughts that’s so intriguing. I’ve decided they know much more than we realize.

Edgar had had so many adventures and at least nine lives. A few years later, after at least 25 years of life lived as he chose, the black cat with four white paws passed away peacefully in his bed. A good way to go.


My parents treated it with appropriate solemnity. “Son,” Dad said ominously, “we have some sad news.”

As soon as I heard. “Son,” I knew what had happened. We were all devastated.

It took some time, but eventually, I realized that Edgar wasn’t really gone. He would live on forever in my life. He has.

And now, just look! Edgar – not Ed, not Eddie – lives on in yours.

This is the third in an occasional series of memories that RedState editors suggested I share. Here’s the first. And the second. Feel free to share your relevant memories in the Comments below. I hope you enjoyed this and will pass it on to others. Follow me @AHMalcolm


Join the conversation as a VIP Member

Trending on RedState Videos