This letter from Aunt Sha to Oz was written on Friday, September 4, 2009Oz

Dear Oz,

Like the other cats who have come into our family over the years, you chose us in your time of need. When your dad -- my brother -- first met you, you were badly hurt and in need of love. What a blessing you have been to all of us. Our first native Tucsonan family member! You were with us for over thirteen years and watched our family take root here in the desert and evolve. There are many memories. Some things I loved most about you:

You quickly learned that the Discorfano family is a loud bunch, your typical effusive Italian clan -- and you fit in right away. You were the most vocal cat I've ever met. I remember one time I was talking to Grandpa on the phone and he said, "Wait... here's Oz.... say hello to Oz!" And then I heard a long and loud meow into the phone. Another time, I was standing in front of the refrigerator and I felt a tap on my shoulder: not only were you using your paw to get my attention, but you also meowed with great gusto to express your desire for a treat. Another Oz-ism I'll miss is your penchant for hiding yourself away inside the kitchen cabinets. How cute it was when I'd open up a cabinet to get a pot or a container and see those beautiful blue eyes staring at me while you were sitting pretty. Of course, another meow, just to say hello to me.

Grandpa loves strawberries so much that he says in heaven strawberries are always in season. It's appropriate that, above all else, it was the smell of strawberries that threw you into a fit of ecstasy! If someone left strawberries on the counter, they almost always wound up on the floor because you couldn't resist playing with the container. And if someone left an empty grocery bag on the countertop that had carried strawberries in it, you would find a way to roll around on top of the bag, blissful as you enveloped yourself in the lingering aroma.

We're going to miss you. But I imagine you, right now, rolling around in a big strawberry patch. I hope you've reunited with Oreo and that, by now, you've introduced the beloved family dog of my youth to your cousin Pushkin. I hope the three of you are having a good day in heaven together.


Aunt Sha