Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Un-Bucket List

I see the signs: the blossoms on the hydrangea are turning pink, the days are getting shorter, I'm dragging out my sweatshirts. Summer's over, fall is upon us. The seasons are passing more and more quickly. Some people, considering this, create a bucket list. Not the sort our friend Homer created, but a list of things they want to do before they kick the proverbial bucket.

I don't have such a list, although there are some things I would put on one: visit Mont St. Michel, publish my latest collection of poetry, meet the man of my dreams. (hope springs eternal).

But as I consider that every day I have 86,400 fewer seconds  than I did the day before, I've decided it’s more important to cross some things off my list, and thereby clear away space and time for the important stuff. To wit, I present my Un-bucket List: Things that I have decided I never have to do:
  • read Ulysses
  • eat raw oysters
  • dust the top of the refrigerator
  • write the great American novel, or any novel for that matter
  • learn the difference between a sine and a cosine
  • run a marathon
  • climb anything higher than the step ladder
  • learn how to fold fitted sheets
  • learn to play the violin
  • travel to a pole—North or South (sorry,  Santa)
  • swim with sharks
  • invite the Queen to tea
  • alphabetize my books
  • run for elected office
  • cheer for the Yankees

 If forced by circumstances or embarrassment, I may do any of the following:
  • drive in NYC
  • watch another Eugene O’Neill play (I know, I know, it’s great art, but it puts me to sleep)
  • roll out a pie crust
  • run, except to catch a runaway dog

OK, I've cleared away a bit of time. Now I think I'll take a nap--that's always on my list of things to do.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Patsy and JC

As I looked out the window this morning I saw a large black and white cat coming out of my garage. I recognized it as Jessie's Cat. Jessie lived across the street until she died eight years ago. Jessie is gone, but JC is still here, surviving on the kindness of neighbors.

I was reminded of my cat, Patsy (seen here on a Halloween many years ago). Patsy (short for Patrick) was a gift on my seventh birthday, which I described as "the happiest day of my life," and I'm sure being all grown up at the end of first grade, I was sure of that.

He was a wonderful and affectionate pet, often purring and rubbing up against my leg. He would even bring me "presents." Not infrequently he would arrive at the door with a dead chipmunk in his teeth, very proud of his quarry. The only time I remember his being unpleasant was when we had to take him anywhere in the car. He would claw at his cage and growl until finally released. Fortunately that didn't happen often.

Although I am generally allergic to cats, for some reason Patsy never bothered me. Maybe it was because he was outside most of the time. The dander didn't get confined to the house. He liked being outside, liked his independence, probably because it allowed him to hunt for choice morsels. For the most part, we let him do his thing, but there were a couple of times when we thought we'd lost him.

One particularly bad winter we let him out for what we thought was a quick pee, but when we went to let him back in, he wasn't there, and he wasn't there that night, or the next day, or the next day. Just when we were sure Old Man Winter had done his worst, Patsy came meandering down the driveway looking well-fed and happy.

I suspect it was good neighbors who sheltered him, just like JC now. I'm not sure how old Jessie's Cat is or how much longer he will survive. Wikipedia tells me that the oldest known cat was Creme Puff who lived to be just over 38 years old, (168 in human years). It's doubtful that JC will live that long, but certain that he survives now because of the kindness of neighbors.

All of us, whether we're left alone or wander off and get lost, need the help and support of good neighbors. Fortunately there are still lots of good neighbors out there.