From the editor: For Elsie | Opinion

Elsie wasn’t a cuddly lapcat she expended an absurd amount of money of time napping, and she hardly ever went out of her way to ingratiate herself to her human underlings.

In other words, Elsie was a cat. And cat fanciers like me — not to point out her hundreds of admirers — would not have experienced it any other way.

Elsie the Library Cat, who died very last week at the age of 18, wasn’t just a cat. She embodied the St. Helena Public Library’s allure, wit, warmth and all-all around excellence.

I’ll be straightforward: Elsie was in no way a enormous Jesse fan. She tolerated my pats on the head, but I could generally explain to she was in a hurry to resume her nap. That was wonderful with me. That sense of aloofness, the emotion that you are an interloper in a vastly extra crucial feline world, is section of what helps make cats so enigmatic and interesting.

The staff members saw a unique, a lot more affectionate aspect of Elsie. She was a rider of reserve carts, an intrepid explorer of the most remote recesses of the library, and a vocal participant in staff members conferences. (The library workers — with no exception a good, sort-hearted and delicate bunch — is devastated by Elsie’s dying, so you should be tactful in supplying your condolences.)

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But Elsie’s accurate greatness lay in what she intended to the globe. She was, a lot more than any other St. Helena institution, a viral sensation.

Elsie has 17,116 Fb followers. St. Helena has a population of much less than 6,000, and only a fraction of them are on Fb. Permit that math sink in for a instant.

Elsie’s likeness adorned sweets, Xmas ornaments and a assortment of library swag. Her on-line persona promoted library functions, posted wry observations about textbooks and existence, and defined the library’s identity: pleasurable, welcoming and slightly quirky.

Elsie was the type of branding possibility that entrepreneurs dream about, but she was not a contrived gimmick. Then-Library Director Jennifer Baker adopted Elsie from a Napa shelter in July 2012 and brought her to the library in response to a mouse difficulty.

When Baker produced a Facebook webpage for Elsie and posted a several photographs of her, it became clear that Elsie was destined to be more than a backyard garden-wide variety mouser.

Before long Elsie had a superstar cat boyfriend (Aragon, who performed Lord Tubbington on “Glee”) and fans around the globe. Individuals from all about the U.S. who’d never established foot in the Napa Valley and didn’t know the 1st thing about wine would make pilgrimages to the library to meet up with Elsie, drawn by the irresistible (at minimum to individuals like me) pairing of guides and a cat.

When I received phrase previous week that Elsie was nearing the stop of her existence, I believed about going to the library to say goodbye. I decided not to. Elsie required to relaxation, and the library staff members wanted the physical and psychological room to cope with her imminent passing.

Alternatively, I conjured my own reminiscences of Elsie, and of the cats I’ve been privileged to very own and enjoy. I pictured Elsie and Aragon, who died in 2018, finally conference on some astral feline plane, the svelte Elsie teasing Aragon about his excess weight and offering him a very long checklist of assigned looking at. I pictured them settling down for the first of quite a few prolonged naps.

That Elsie — not the aloof flesh-and-blood cat but the image that captured the hearts of 1000’s — will endure.

So will the library she identified as house.

You can arrive at Jesse Duarte at (707) 967-6803 or [email protected].

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