Friday, May 20, 2005

So sad yet so sweet 

Gus is the Cat at the Theatre Door.
His name, as I ought to have told you before,
Is really Asparagus. That's such a fuss
To pronounce, that we usually call him just Gus.

Ever since we made our trip to Düsseldorf to see Cats, Annabelle has been obsessed with the show. I will often hear her sitting at the computer in the kitchen, singing away as she tends to her Neopets. I bought her the DVD of the show, and if it is possible to wear the data right off a DVD through repeated use, she might just wind up doing that.

In the DVD production, the part of "Gus the Theater Cat," an old cat who looks back over his life and re-lives his glory days on the stage, is played by John Mills (or Sir John Mills, as Annabelle will be the first to tell you). Sir John Mills passed away on April 23, 2005, at the ripe old age of 97. We had just watched the DVD with my sister a couple of nights before, and when I heard about his death, I mentioned it to Annabelle. She took it quite well, rationalizing that he was after all very old. Until . . .

Two nights before Jenny was set to return to the States, we agreed on one final viewing of Cats. All was going fine until it came time for Gus's piece, which is preceded by a short snippet of Memory:

Moonlight, turn your face to the moonlight
Let your memory lead you
Open up, enter in
If you find there the meaning of what happiness is
Then a new life will begin

By the time Gus actually went into his spiel, Annabelle was sobbing. She refused to consider simply turning off the show and instead opted to snuggle in between Jenny and me, weeping violently through the entire number. At the end, she looked up at me and wailed: "I just don't get it. I wasn't this upset when I found out T.S. Eliot was dead!!!"

Tonight, Annabelle has a friend over to spend the night. Always eager to spread the gospel of Cats, she dragged out the DVD and set it up to show off a few of her favorite numbers. It would be necessary, she explained to her friend, to skip Gus "unless you want to watch me cry."

I know very little about Sir John Mills, but I can't help but think he would be touched to know that he is deeply mourned by a little American girl in Germany.

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