Calkins: A story about Ron Olson, pneumonia, a painting — and so many cats.

By , Daily Memphian Updated: July 10, 2024 6:32 PM CT | Published: July 10, 2024 6:20 PM CT
Geoff Calkins
Daily Memphian

Geoff Calkins

Geoff Calkins has been chronicling Memphis and Memphis sports for more than two decades. He is host of "The Geoff Calkins Show" from 9-11 a.m. M-F on 92.9 FM. Calkins has been named the best sports columnist in the country five times by the Associated Press sports editors, but still figures his best columns are about the people who make Memphis what it is.

Ron Olson had pneumonia.

That is how this cat story began. And then it turned into a story about art, community, kindness, tragedy and a whole lot of cats. Many of them are dead. Or, as pet lovers sometimes prefer to say, they’ve relocated to the other side of the rainbow bridge.

But it began with pneumonia.

Calkins: Happy July Fourth, Memphis! Have a parade!

Olson, the iconic Memphis radio personality, was recovering at home, bored.

“I decided to paint a cat,” Olson said. “I don’t know why. I’ve painted guitars for forever and a day. But I was looking around social media and I saw a couple of cat pieces, and I thought to myself, ‘I could do that.’”

Olson picked up a brush and commenced painting. He didn’t know how it would turn out.


Ron Olson cats House of Mews Geoff Calkins Subscriber Only

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