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Maxey…Our One-Eared Pirate

“I once was a Pirate what sailed the ‘igh seas—- “  T.S Eliot’s Cat Morgan

This pitiful matey literally washed up on our porch during a coastal downpour. He was drenched and looked like a skeleton with barely enough fur to cover his bones. He rubbed up against us while snarling and crying at the same time. This wrenched stray wasn’t sure how to act. It was obvious he had been on his own for weeks, if not months.

We offered him food and he ate like he didn’t remember his last meal. We dried him off with a towel and loved him while he continued to cry. He eventually curled up beside my grandson and quietly began to purr. It was then that we got a good look at his head and noticed that he only had one good ear. The other one was folded over. He reminded us of a pirate with his gnarled and ragged appearance. My grandson talked to him in a low voice and assured him he was ok. We left food and blankets out on our porch. We weren’t sure he would be there in the morning.

But he was….ready for breakfast and more love! He stayed all day and by night it was clear that he had no intention of setting sail again. That meant we needed to come up with a name. Maxey was the winner. For the first week or so he stayed mostly on the porch and in our side yard. Every time we went outside he would run up to us ready for food and love! He even tried to take a walk with us.

The next step was a trip to the vet. We learned that he had FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus}. No cure but good nutrition and lots of love would help him live a good life. The vet also estimated he was about five years old. We could only imagine the dangerous adventures he had experienced.

There was no way to predict what was ahead for us a few weeks later. Covid-19 and sheltering in place literally happened overnight. Maxey loved having our grandson do his virtual school on the porch with him. He even became part of the classroom ZOOM meetings. All of the students were intrigued by his one ear and agreed Maxey was a pirate. They wrote stories about him and had a picture of him up on the computer screen to keep them company. Maxey was the class mascot.

This was balm for my soul, too, with the day-to-day uncertainty of the news. I had previously written two rescue dog pirate adventures for children.. Maxey stirred my imagination and passion for writing. This scallywag was working in an unexpected way. We all became part of his crew.

His tale grows as I visit libraries and children’s venues in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. His travels expand with each “appearance.” The marshes and inlets are full of pirate stories and the many miscreants who are always waiting for the next ship to plunder. I love to share Maxey’s story and then let the children create adventures and possibilities for his band of feline pirates.

The joy and love that Maxey brought into my family’s life was totally unexpected. He came to us when we needed him most. My grandson said that there are no coincidences and I agree! Every time we look at that one ear, we all say “Arrrrrr!”

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