Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Intruder

I’m not what you would call a “cat” person.  I appreciate that all God’s creatures are meaningful and serve a purpose.  For dogs and such, cats are fast food.  It’s just part of the cycle of life.

But a few years ago a stray kitten happened upon our porch.  It was gray and white and fluffy and cute and really, really skeard of people.  The blond I live with couldn’t leave it alone and insisted on putting out food and encouraging her to hang around.  And of course that’s what she did; cats being what they are.  She was pretty scrawny and awfully little to be out on her own.  She took up residence under the porch and did her best to avoid any contact with us.  Always kept her distance and ran off if you looked at her too long.  I commented on this and what I meant to say was, she sure is a skittish kitten.  But it came out skitten kitish and so it was we began to refer to her as Skitten.

Even though she was extremely wary of people she had no problem with our French Bull Dog.  The second he would come out on the porch she was all over him; rubbing up against him, purring – it was pathetic.  She was a smitten kitten.  It was so bad the dog couldn’t even do his outside business without the cat following him out to his favorite spot and while he’s trying to squat she’d be rubbin’ on him, knocking him off balance, getting into his face.  The poor dog!  He’d make a break for it as soon as the door opened to let him out.  He’d do his best to get out there and get things taken care of before that fool cat realized he was out.  But Skitty was always lurking somewhere near and thought he was playing a game of chase.  Captain’s legs aren’t very long and when he was squeezing his cheeks together anyway there was no way he could out run that cat.  She thought it great fun.  She could run behind him on her two back legs while batting him on each side of his butt with her front feet.  It would piss him off to no end.  He’d spin around to snap at her and she’d nimbly jump over him, adroitly maintaining her position of advantage at his posterior end.  And they’d continue that circus all the way to the back of the yard and as soon as he’d assume the position; rub, rub, purr, purr, she’d knock him off balance.  Finally he learned how to drop his load without stopping – like a horse.

They eventually became pretty good buddies and a few years later we got a new puppy. A Field Spaniel.  Tia is a beautiful dog but has the brain power of a toad.  Skitty sensed this and did her best to teach her some of the basics of life.  She would bring half-dead mice and drop them at Tia’s feet.  Tia would jump around it a bit and get distracted by a fly or something and the mouse would scurry off.  The cat would catch it again and bring it back to the dog, forever trying to make her understand she was supposed to kill and eat it.  It was all for naught.  It was more than the dog could grasp.

The years went by and whenever we were outside Skitty wasn’t far off.  On summer evenings when we relaxed on the deck after work, Skitty would join us.  She on a chair cleaning herself, the dogs gnawing on bones or sticks, we kicked back in our chairs.  The pack was together and all was well.  She did a great job of keeping the rodent populations in check.  She apparently thought she had to report this to us.  So on a regular basis there was evidence of her hunting skills lying by the back door.  A headless ground squirrel or a wingless bird.  A mole or mouse.  I should have saved all the skins; I could have made a coat by now.
But then last fall she went missing.  I thought Captain seemed confused.  Like he wasn’t sure where or how to go.  There was just something strange and lonely when he made his trip to the back of the yard.  A search of the roadside found nothing.  No sign of mayhem.  Just gone.  Some think she may have been mooching off someone else and they have her in their house now.  It’s a nice thought.  Others thoughtfully ponder the coyotes barking in the distance.  If that’s the case - if some coyote decided to go out for fast food – I hope he choked on it.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I'm Not Old

I don’t really think of myself as “old” although my body seems to enjoy telling me differently.  Oh, you know the signs; less energy, creaking joints, more trips to the doctor.  There is another symptom I can’t recall – I was just thinking it… well, maybe I’ll remember by the time I’m done. 

Even though I’m NOT old I have begun to make changes - take measures.  For instance, I try to double up efforts.  You know, doing two things at a time in order to conserve energy.  One thing I do now is sleep while watching TV.  I use the same technique while reading a book.  Another great energy saving device is to have a drink on the deck while watching someone else mow the yard.  It’s a wonderful way to get things done!

I find simple things more enjoyable these days.  There’s nothing I like better than a nice stroll to my car for a drive to the mailbox.   I know, I know I should leave the car parked and get some fresh air.  So I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a golf cart.  All my friends have one and highly recommend them.  Most of them are old though so I may put off getting one for a while.

My mind is still a steel trap.  A bit rusty, perhaps, but so what?  No one else knows.  I find if I keep my mouth shut and have a thoughtful look people just assume I’m having deep intellectual thoughts.  It’s fun really.  Younger people will dance around a subject all day wondering what it is I know.  Fact-of-the-matter, I haven’t a clue what the subject even is.  Nothing proves ignorance like opening your mouth.

And nothing brings on old age like admitting it.  However, I sure don’t want to be young again.  Not everyone has had this problem but I was really stupid when I was young.  Just last year I did one of the most incredibly dumb things of my life.  No, I’m not going to tell you what it was.  See how much smarter I am?  Suffice it to ask, do you really want to go back and fret about what you’re going to do with your life?  Heck no!  It’s a done deal.  I am who I am.  I sometimes wonder how different things would have been had I stayed in school or joined the military or married Heather.  But of this I’m certain; it wouldn’t be any better – just different.  And it’s been so nice, once I came to the realization, that I am not responsible for the outcome of world history.  Now, I never mind sitting around a campfire with a friend or two or three solving all the world’s problems.  That can sometimes be a quite lively activity.  But in the end I sleep well knowing mankind’s course is unalterable; the wise and the foolish alike will look back and say – Holy Shit, I could have had the yellow golf cart!
OK – If you slept through this it’s time to wake up and get on with it.  Time is running out and there’s a lot of stuff to do!  So get out there and find somebody to do it!