Today, I went to Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis, Tennessee (my home city) on my lunch break for two things: one was that I needed to be there to take photos and the second was to say goodbye to a beloved friend - Howard Carothers. Now, if you've ever visited Elmwood, chances were good that you met Howard or you saw him strolling on the lawn by the guest house/office, or perhaps even saw him jump on a desk and possibly look at you in a silent request to be petted.
Yes, Howard was a cat. A very sweet cat at that.
When I first saw Howard at Elmwood, I felt my heart melt. He had a laid back disposition and all the free time in the world to simply be a pretty and sweet cat. Although I never got to pet him, I did have one conversation with him and his meow was quite nice.
However, when I received the recent notice that Howard had died, I felt something inside of me die as well. Although he was a cat, he was still a beautiful life on this planet and I knew he would be sorely missed. I decided to attend the funeral both as Elmwood's photographer and also a short term friend of Howard. When I drove up to the bridge, I began to take photos in preparation for my goodbye. Several people were already there and Kim McCollum, Executive Director, welcomed me and introduced me to everyone else. Soon, we took our seats and began the ceremony. I listened to how Howard touched the lives of many people not only in Memphis but all over the world; he even had his own business card as well as a Facebook page and people always asked about him. This, as I happily admitted to myself, was no ordinary cat. Finally, we ended the service with the song "All Things Bright and Beautiful". I followed several people to Howard's burial site, of which is behind the house/office. I smiled as I looked down at the spot then said goodbye and made my way around a part of the cemetery to take photos then left to return to work.
I hope Howard has become a frolicking kitten and has as much cream as he can drink.
Goodbye, Howard Carothers.