Son shines for hot U2 concert, but cat gets cold paws

U2’s wonderful performance at Raymond James Stadium brought Barb Fredricksen’s son to town, much to the dismay of another resident.

KATHLEEN FLYNN | Times

U2’s wonderful performance at Raymond James Stadium brought Barb Fredricksen’s son to town, much to the dismay of another resident.

To answer everyone who has asked, yes, it was awesome. Better than Chicago's Sears Tower. Better than Toronto's CN Tower. Heck, better than Paris' Eiffel Tower. Better than any symphony orchestra or rock band or celestial choir I've ever heard. Better than any man-made sight or sound in my personal experience.

It was U2 and "The Claw," the monster stage imagined by lead singer Bono and set up in Raymond James Stadium eight days ago for one spectacular night.

The sound was perfect, the evening was perfect (hey, what's 105-degree temperatures among friends?), my Sweet Rosy Infant (he's in his 40s, but he'll always be the Sweet Rosy Infant to me), also known as my son, was right next to me, singing every word of every song, rocking out, no doubt recalling a near-lifetime of following around after U2, through the U.S., Canada, and Europe, with me often tagging along. Or not.

So, yes, it was an evening that I will cherish and never forget and will think about when storms rage and the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune overwhelm me.

Okay. A little dramatic, but you get the idea. I enjoyed the U2 concert.

Meanwhile, back home, my cat Snickers was in a snit. And this isn't a cat prone to snits. In fact, Snickers is so loving and indiscriminately affectionate that if he were a female high school junior, he would have a bad reputation, even in this day and time.

Any time anyone comes to our house — bug exterminators, cable TV repairmen, religious proselytizers, and, of course, overnight visitors who are allergic to cats — Snickers winds himself around their legs, turns his turquoise eyes upward in supplication and doesn't quit until his target tells him how beautiful he is.

But the moment he laid eyes on the Sweet Rosy Infant relaxing on my red leather sofa, Snickers slicked back his ears, hissed, dashed through his little kitty door onto the lanai, and was not seen again for the all-too-brief 65 hours that my son was at my house.

It wasn't that the cat sensed hostility from my son. SRI is an animal lover of the first order, with two adoring and adored cats, a near-worshiped Corgi dog named Moose and a sweetly pampered rabbit named Harry — all rescues — at home.

And it wasn't that Snickers was put off by the smell of other animals on my son's clothes or person; nearly everyone who comes to my house has pets at home, and those pet smells just seem to increase Snickers' ardor.

Jealousy, perhaps? Naaah. Snickers is much too self-confident and self-centered to ever consider that he might come in second in anyone's affections.

Then I realized what was going on.

Snickers was another of my son's rescue cats, seen struggling his way through a deep December snow on the Wasatch Front above a Salt Lake City suburb in 2004, hungry, shivering and wet. He arrived at my son's house a couple of days before I did, and when I saw him, it was love at first sight. We named him Mikhail because he could leap like dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, and we called him Mickey for short.

It was much later we found out he had been thoughtlessly turned out of his owners' house for no particular reason, and his real name was Snickers, which is fitting because his dark brown, light gold and cream colors look like semi-sweet chocolate, caramel and nougat. And his expanding girth since that 2004 abandonment and rescue has made him just about as nimbly light-footed as a Snickers bar.

Suddenly, on the second day, the cat's hostility to my son began to come clear.

Every once in a while, when Snickers annoys me — a loud Siamese-like "meeeeee-yooooow" in the middle of the night, some carelessly scattered cat toys that seem to attract the arch of my bare foot as I dash for the telephone, a thoughtlessly unsheathed claw at the end of a paw wrapped around my leg as he pulls me toward the stash of cat food under the kitchen sink — I remind him that the road to Salt Lake City runs both ways, and he'd better watch himself, or …

Earlier that week, I'd noticed Snickers eyeing the weather map in the Times and looking over my shoulder when I checked the Wasatch Front weather cams on the Internet, and he had no doubt read those numbers (freeeeezing) and seen that snow, and, when he saw my son, was thinking, "That dude might be here to take me back home with him, and this is one big ol' cat who doesn't want to trade that warm lanai floor in Hudson, Florida, for a snow-swept mountainside in Cottonwood Heights, Utah."

My theory was proved when my son began to gather his stuff to leave.

Like most cats, Snickers loves to climb into suitcases as anyone packs, whether it be visitor or me, as if to say, "Hey, take me with you."

This time, though, Snickers didn't even come out to say goodbye to our departing guest, a strong tradition in our household.

In fact, it wasn't until I got a telephone call nine hours later saying my son had landed safely in Salt Lake City that Snickers slinked out of whatever hidey-hole he'd found and tip-toed his way into the living room, loudly asking if everything was all clear and was it "safe" to come out.

Guess I'd better start minding my threats.

Son shines for hot U2 concert, but cat gets cold paws 10/16/09 [Last modified: Friday, October 16, 2009 7:57pm]

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