I am quite sure I’ve told the story of how he got his name before but I am happy to tell it again. Wish I could lay my hands on those first pictures. Ernie arrived in July 2009 – one morning he just appeared in my hay shed. He was an older kitten, very tame, I had never seen him before and I have absolutely no idea how he got to my hay shed.
On closer inspection we discovered he had 6 toes – he was a polydactyl cat. We learned that Ernest Hemingway raised polydactyl cats in Key West and so his name became Ernie.
My mom still lived in her own home by herself in Garner and was a healthy 89 year old. She still mowed her own yard, led an exercise class every morning and was sharp as a tack. We knew Mom would actually enjoy a cat once she gave in and agreed to one but to entice her further we knew she loved the Minnesota Twins catcher/first baseman Joe Mauer. Both positions required big baseball gloves that resembled Ernie’s big paws. How could she resist a housemate named Ernie Joe Mauer? She turned 90 that September and during the party when we announced that we were giving her a cat named Ernie Joe Mauer she announced in a very firm, un 90 – like voice that she didn’t want a cat. So that was the end of that. EJM lives with us to this day. He is so big – he’s like a small child. Holding him is like holding a toddler – no kidding. And he is always underfoot.
Three months after her 90th birthday party Mom had a bad stroke and remained paralyzed on her right side for the rest of her life which was spent at the care center in Garner. And as Mom said “we never knew anything about this place and it’s the most popular place in town.” She made the best of it for 2-1/2 years but Ernie Joe Mauer should always have been her cat.
I’ll tell him he has a fan club.