We are only human, and subject to many limitations.
We put our socks on one at a time. We cannot see straight from New Jersey to Neptune with our naked little eyes.
And, in the presence of a cat named Jed, we will inevitably sing one song.
Although I was not yet alive when humans attained this pinnacle of cultural achievement, Nick at Nite has made it possible for generations of impressionable youth to be just as scarred as their parents were. I hardly need to quote it, since you fellow humans are already singing it against your wills right now, but in case you’ve somehow been spared that peculiar American phenomenon…well…click here.
On behalf of all the cats: I’m sorry.
But now that that’s behind us, back to the Jed of the feline, ain’t-never-seen-Californy persuasion.
I’m no fan of The Beverly Hillbillies, but in the presence of Jed, I reckon I’m incapable of not singing this song in the tortured confines of my brain. Never mind that my brain only knows the line “Come and listen to a story ’bout a man named Jed.” (After that, it all kind of melts into the theme song of “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.”)
Being the actual Nicest Creature In All The Land, Jed would simply cock an ear and look at me with benevolent confusion. (Kind of how everyone in high school looked at me, actually.) It’s as though I was singing the wrong song, but he was too polite to tell me.
“Polite” is a highly appropriate word for Jed in general. If you wake him up abruptly, he’ll spring to jaunty consciousness, as if to say, “Oh! Thank you! It’s so much better to be awake anyway!” If you bop him over the head repeatedly (in other words, if you are Angus), he’ll bob and weave and handle himself quite manfully, but without so much as giving you a dirty look or a counter-bop. And if you sweep him into your arms and hold him longer than he’d like to be held, he’ll make only the gentlest, most mannerly little maneuver to let you know, wriggling carefully so as not to scratch you.
Whoever you are, Jed is eager to give you a heapin helpin of his hospitality.
This is all the more exquisite when you realize that Jed hasn’t always been on the receiving end of righteousness. As with so many of our residents, we don’t know exactly what constellation of circumstances brought Jed to where we found him, but the skinny, sleek boy was outdoors, unneutered, unspoken for, and ailing from a puncture wound…on his posterior.
Let us not mince words. Jed had been bitten upon the buttocks.
A moment of silence, please, for Jed’s dignity.
Still, sunny, funny, big-eyed Jed shows not a shadow of shame or disdain for the people/cats/wildebeests of his past. Like most of his vaunted species, he’s forward-looking and happy just to be happy. Jed is simply the complete package.
The only thing he’s not, in fact, is…Jed.
If Jed always seemed a bit bemused by his namesake song, there is a reason. None other than Jed’s adopters discovered this. I had the high honor of meeting this extraordinary couple and introducing them to nearly every cat at Tabby’s Place, as they took the time to let their next family member announce himself. In the course of our conversations, I learned that they had a beloved cat named Isaiah, one in a long, loved line of biblically-named felines.
So there was something very right — dare I say sacred — when the extraordinary couple met the Nicest Creature in All The Land, heard his name, and smilingly said it: “As in…Jedediah?”
In case your Hebrew is rusty, that translates to “beloved of God.”
When you know you’re “beloved of God,” you have every reason to be the Nicest Creature in All The Land. When you know you’re “beloved of God,” you have an endless source of love to lavish — even on Angus. And when you know you’re “beloved of God,” you know your song is even better than “The Ballad of Jed Clampett.”
Jedediah knows he’s beloved with every fiber of his being, on earth as he is in heaven. That’s true now more than ever: a half hour ago, he went to his forever home.
And the better song goes ever on.
Photo credits from de top: Mark, Jess, AT.