A lovely lady in Effingham, whom I’ve met at least four times and whose name I’m deeply embarrassed not to remember, told this story with a New Jersey accent only slightly tempered by years of living in New Hampshire. When I tell it, though, it’ll be full on New Hampshire.
Her husband suffered a serious heart attack. From his bed in the ICU he implored her to take good care of his cat. His first morning in the hospital, he asked the head nurse to phone his wife, and get her out of bed (he knew she’d have trouble waking up on her own -- she always did). His first words were, “Good morning, deah. Time to get up. How’s my cat?”
He remained hospitalized for several weeks. On his bedside table, at his request: a picture of his cat. “Not a picture of me,” the lovely lady said, “a picture of the cat!”
Well, bad luck comes in threes -- or sometimes twos. While the husband was recovering, the cat died. The doctor said to spare the husband any shock and the lovely lady didn’t want to lie, so she put the corpse on the porch. It was winter, and the corpse froze solid. When the husband called and asked after the cat, she truthfully said, “I just put him out.”
Next time he asked, she said, “He’s on the porch. I’m looking right at him.”
And so forth.
This went on for some time, until at last the husband was well enough to come home. The doctor said the husband must be told about the death of his cat while still in the hospital. Just in case.
"Oh, it was hard," the lovely lady said. She tried three times to tell him about the cat's passing and failed. On the day of her husband’s release, she burst into tears and managed to choke out the words, “Deah, your cat has died.”
“Oh well,” he said, “That cat never liked me anyway.”