Big Gray Kitten was born in Aston's closet to either Sarafina or Chrysanthemum, I don't really remember or care which it was. Eventually I had to move Big Gray and his twin to our yard (his name was either Mary Kate or Ashley back then and his equally annoying identical twin bore the other name) because a two year old Aston and his friend Joaquin murdered the third kitten of the litter, Moses, during a friendly game of catch in which Moses was the unfortunate ball.
Not long after his relocation, Mary Kate or Ashley (a.k.a. Big Gray) watched on from beneath a thorn bush as Ashley or Mary Kate took her final nap in the wheel well of our mini van. Unaware of the sleeping kitten and in a terrible rush to get to a restaurant and commence our tenth anniversary celebration Mr. Jones and I unknowingly bumped off Big Gray's twin right before his eyes. This tragedy stripped him of his only remaining sibling and his silly name as we never really knew which one was Mary Kate and which one was Ashley and we felt as if calling him by the wrong name might further offend the poor cat whom we had already upset unspeakably.
Not surprisingly, I suppose, Big Gray Kitten never let any of us Joneses near him after that but he did remain at the only home he had ever known. Ariel made some sort of insane mission of befriending the cat and I, with the children's help, have always left food on the back deck for him. The children's idea of feeding the cat was to dump a twenty five pound bag of cat food in a heap on the deck and Ariel became so fed up with the mess that he finally made the call: no more feeding that cat. We respected the ruling of our beloved head of household for two whole months but we just couldn't leave Gray's tremendous meows unanswered any longer and we started leaving table scraps out for him in the grass hoping not to upset Dear Old Daddy with our offerings.
One week after Thanksgiving I slid what was left of our turkey along with a bunch of carrots, garlic, onions, and celery into my biggest stock pot and plopped it onto the wood stove where it all transformed into a tasty broth for the soup I made the next day. My fridge is tiny and I couldn't fit my massive pot inside of it so I placed the pot in the chilly garage to keep the stock from spoiling. I put two quart cans of paint on the pot lid to keep any little critters from messing with it. After making a delightful turkey, mushroom, and rice soup, I still had half a pot of stock left so back in the garage it went until the next day when I would whip up another pot of soup. Who knew a heat wave would sneak up on us in the night? Ariel said he refused to eat anything I made with the garage stock and I agreed with him so I decided to give the pot to Big Gray Kitten. Not wanting Gray to miss out on the yummy broth I had to leave the pot on the deck because the lawn, obviously, would have absorbed the liquid. I'm sure at this point you are thinking back to the title of this piece and thinking Of course you need a new stock pot! You can't eat after a cat. But I must confess that I planned on simply soaking the pot in bleach and returning it to my cabinet to use again when another turkey crossed my path. No, no. The reason I need a new pot is because when I went to see if Big Gray had finished the soup I found a few cups of broth in the bottom with a mouse frozen in it. One can only assume that Big Gray Kitten knew this liquid in the pot was intended for a stock and not a finished product and decided to whip up a batch of something appealing to him: mouse soup. And this is where I draw the line. I must, must, must say Farewell to my big pot forever because bleach simply isn't strong enough to erase the image stuck in my mind. No, even if I cleaned the pot with an atomic bomb I'm quite sure I would forever see the morsel of brown fur surrounded by yellowish ice at the bottom of that pot and consequently gag uncontrollably every time I even thought about simmering anything in the damned thing.
So, Bye bye Pot. It has been grand.