Spumoni and New Year’s Eve

Spumoni and New Year’s Eve was not a good combination. He did not like the loud music, fireworks and worst of all the gunshots coming from East Oakland. All of that noise was very disconcerting. He would look for the quietest spot to hide out and avoid the commotion.

We were living in Alameda for the 1st 10 years of his life on a charming little cul-de-sac called St. Margaret Court. This little California bungalow had 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 3 orange trees, one lemon tree and 2 tennis courts in the backyard along with a basketball court.

The neighbor I was renting from was a professional tennis teacher named Edward Murphy and his wife Madlyn.  They had purchased virtually every property around the entire rectangular block and built the tennis courts and basketball court in the center behind all of the houses. It was a wonderful place to shoot hoops and play tennis on a daily basis for many years.

Sometimes, Spumoni would go out on the tennis court and run around for a little while. But he was pretty reticent outdoors in Alameda. With all of the street noise and traffic he much preferred sitting on my desk and enjoying the view out the big picture window.

9 of the 10 years we spent New Year’s Eve together in Alameda I was working at the concerts at the Oakland Arena. I worked in the front office doing the payroll for the event staff. Essentially, I arrived about 2 hours before the show began and got all of my opening reports completed before the event ever started.  I got to enjoy all of these great shows including the Grateful Dead, Beastie Boys, Buddy Guy, Carlos Santana, the list goes on and on. And that’s just New Year’s Eve. I averaged about 100 concerts per year both in the Oakland Arena and outdoors in the Coliseum Stadium.

So, what does all of this have to do with Spumoni and New Year’s Eve? Sadly, he was alone at midnight when all of the fireworks and gunshots were going off. I would come home at around 2 AM or 3 AM to find him hiding behind some pillows or under the couch.

But a little bit of coaxing and in a few minutes he would be snuggling with me. Once he started purring again I knew that he was feeling okay and getting over the trauma from all of the loud noises.  When I think back to Spumoni and New Year’s Eve, as much as I enjoyed going to all of those concerts I wish that I had been home to comfort him and make him feel safe and secure.