Monthly Archives: April 2017

Peace in the Valley

It is Monday morning. i am awake, waiting for Maureen and Alan and Maren Hicks to rise before packing.

It’s travel time. Back to San Diego. Home. The drive to San Francisco’s airport will take about an hour in traffic. The flight will be just over an hour, but the airlines have turned short trips into all-day affairs.

That’s okay.

It has been a glorious weekend with the Hicks.  Alan and Maren took us to Alan Jr’s wine shop, Arlequin over on Hayes Street,  for tasting wines from the Canary Islands — the wines were delicious and unique — after we arrived on Thursday. Friday, we spent several hours, i gawking, at “Monet: The Early Years” exhibit at The Legion of Honor Museum, a piece of art in its own right.

Following lunch at Alan’s Sausalito Yacht Club, we drove to their home in Sonoma. Alan grilled pork tenderloin. Maren and Maureen prepared vegetables and salad. i sat around.

We studied the stars in their backyard with the shadows of the grapevines in the abutting Sebastiani vineyard looming in the dark across the fence.

Saturday, the ladies went to book signing of a cookbook writer, featuring her new book on Middle Eastern cuisine (i think). Alan and i walked around Plaza de Sonoma and nearby streets with a late lunch.

Steve and Maria Frailey joined by their neighbor, Leslie Yellen flew in from San Diego midday Saturday. We met the Frailey’s and Leslie at Murphy’s Pub for a delightful celebration of Maria’s 55th birthday. Sara Petite and her band performed. Sara has been a long time favorite of Maria and they are friends. Sara is also a terrific song writer and singer. Her band matches her in talent. We sat up front. Except for some way too old yahoo playing the spoons, it was a wonderful evening.

Sunday, we met the San Diego threesome at the Buena Vista Winery. Then we ate lunch at “Sonoma’s Best” deli, truly more of a wine shop than a deli. It lived up to its name. The Reuben was great. The Shebang red wine perfect for a Reuben.

Nap time before dinner with the seven at the Depot Hotel, no longer a depot and no longer a hotel, but a great place to eat Italian al fresco, sorta.

Then, it was over. As usual, i woke early. Packing day. But first at first light, i walked in the backyard on the tan rock path. The day would be overcast. It was spring cool. Near the fence, i stopped to gaze at the irises, Tennessee’s state flower, you know. For some reason, it brought a neo-gospel to mind. i thought it came from slaves. It didn’t. Some guy named Tom Dorsey — no, not that Tom Dorsey — wrote it in 1947, and the country and rock singers, even Elvis rolled with it, even later, Little Richard. i liked it better when i didn’t know better and thought its origin was different. But it was still just right for the moment: the early morning moment next to a vineyard in the Valley of the Moon. Sonoma. Fit the weekend too.

As i looked at the flowers, i remembered the words:

i’m tired and weary but I must toil on
Till the Lord come to call me away
Where the morning is bright and the Lamb is the light
And the night is fair as the day.

There’ll be peace in the valley for me some day
There’ll be peace in the valley for me
I pray no more sorrow and sadness or trouble will be
There’ll be peace in the valley for me.

There the flow’rs will be blooming, the grass will be green
And the skies will be clear and serene
The sun ever shines, giving one endless beam
And the clouds there will ever be seen.

Where the bear will be gentle, the wolf will be tame
And the lion will lay down by the lamb
The host from the wild will be led by a Child
I’ll be changed from the creature I am.

No headaches or heartaches or misunderstands
No confusion or trouble won’t be
No frowns to defile, just a big endless smile
There’ll be peace and contentment for me.

Thanks, Steve, Maria, Leslie for sharing. And thanks, Alan and Maren for peace in the valley.

Long Ago Mystery This Morning

i received the package last week.

It was a stuffed 10-inch by 13-inch manila envelope inside a white plastic protective envelope. The return address was that of my cousin, pretty much the same as sister Nancy Orr Schwarze.

Nancy has been observing my posts of old photographs. Obviously, she also is going through lots of stuff and decided rather than throwing away some she had she would send them to me. As her note instructed, i will throw away the duplicates from my cache, copy the others and add them to the burgeoning notebooks for posterity.

The two shown here have some mystery for me. Others more inclined toward digging through family trees or with a better memory of mine may have some inkling of who was who linked to whom.

Between deciphering the faded writing on the back and having my sister Martha inform me of my grandfather’s history — Why, oh why don’t i know or remember the things she  and Joe know and remember? — i have solved some of the mystery about this photograph.

The guy with the “X” on his head is my grandfather, Joe Blythe Prichard. Turns out, according to Martha he played semipro baseball. From what i could make out, this team, Chanchellor, was in Little Rock. The pitcher was Carnesty; first base Demoss; second base Woodard; shortstop Eddins; outfielders Purdorn (?), Eddins (a brother to the shortstop i assume), and McClellan (?). i cannot make out the manager’s and assistant manager’s names. It’s signed “J.B. Prichard” and dated March 22, 00. And folks, that is not 2000; that’s 1900. (i should explain the spellings were difficult and likely contain some errors.) i’m guessing this is mostly a team of Little Rock players, but some could have been from Lebanon.

So my love of baseball goes back a long, long way.

The second photo may be a mystery for Lebanon folks to solve.

There are no descriptive notes on the back. Martha has photos of family members in similar dress in Lebanon. So i’m guessing this one is in the late 1800’s. i cannot identify any one in the photo. When i look at it, i think of Coles Ferry Pike, but that is just my unrealistic dreaming. i have enlarged the section with the people included.

Can any family member or someone from Lebanon help me solve this mystery.

Thanks, Nancy. This is fun.

 

 

Mike Kelly

i suppose there are an innumerable number of men named Mike Kelly.

i know one. He lives near Houston. He is from Texas and Montana and probably several other places i don’t know about. He lived in the Southwest corner for a long time before moving East. He is a giant of a man in many ways. i met Mike through a mutual close friend. Jim Hileman and Mike go back a long way. They both were in the Navy on carriers in rougher times. i’m pretty sure it wasn’t together, just similar. The two became fast friends working for Ma Bell out here.

i met Jim Hileman at my wedding. 1983. He was late to the reception because he had a golf round that morning. When we were introduced, he explained, and i asked him why hadn’t he invited me to play. We’ve been fast friends ever since…but that’s another story and one way too long to tell here.

Shortly after i met Jim, he introduced me to Kelly on a golf course. From that point on, we played golf together until Mike and Sheri moved back to Texas to be near their granddaughter and son.

Mike rose through the ranks of AT&T until he was at an upper management level. He also got his masters in fine arts. He was/is a landscaper, a farmer, a hunter, and a wonderful artist among other things. Much more importantly, he is a great friend. i remember how he and i picked up Sarah from day care when she was one. She was crying in her baby car seat. While i drove, Mike put Sarah in those gigantic arms of his, and Sarah immediately quit crying and started to coo. He also is tremendous artist. We have one of his chalk paintings hanging in our master bedroom.

A week or so ago, Jim and his wife Sharon returned to the Southwest corner from near Dallas. They had attended their daughter Mandy’s wedding. Since they were in Texas, they rolled on over to Houston and spent a day with Mike and Sheri.

“They haven’t changed,” the Hileman’s commented on the Kelly’s. i expected as much.

Then Jim gave me a present. Kelly had given two six packs of beer to him, one to be given to me upon return. Jim gave me both. He doesn’t drink. i have given some to friends causing them to laugh. It’s pretty good beer made in College Station, Texas, of all things.

Mike Kelly thought the gifts were appropriate. i found a perfect spot for drinking it. It’s the workshop side of my garage. That’s when i say the words on the label most, although i’m sure Mike had heard me shout them in frustration many times on the golf course.

As usual, Mike hit the nail on the head:

 

Thanks, Mike

Easter

i have written of Easter before. Several times. It is a hallowed, sacred day.

In the span of my life, it has been much celebrated in many ways.

Today, it has been quiet.

No sunrise service. i did walk to the top of my hill around that time of the morning and watched the white heat orb burning through the mist of the marine layer hanging over Mount Miguel. i had my moment, prayer i guess you could call it. Thankful, sober prayer.

i came down to another Maureen egg special with toast, fruit, and Tennessee Pride country sausage. We sat at our usual places at my great aunt’s oak table, looking out the window at the green lawn as the sun burned through. We read the newspaper with several cups of coffee.

i remembered previous Easters. A not too big Easter egg hunt at home upon awakening and scurrying down the stairs. Those egg hunts remain dim memories except i know i never fared well at the community ones. Perhaps i was too impatient. Sunrise service outside of MacFadden Auditorium in the cool but sunny mornings. Dressing up in our finest, newly purchased spring ensembles to spend most of the day at church. Big, big ham dinner (that’s the midday meal where i come from) in the dining room reserved for only the big family celebrations. For some reasons, the dinner rolls stick out in my mind.

i don’t remember Easter at sea except for my last ship. The chaplain made it a big deal, or at least as big a deal as he could with sailors who preferred to sleep in on the one day of the week they could do so. i do remember a number of Easters at sea when we raised the church pennant above the U.S. Ensign on Easter. It was the only pennant or flag we ever flew above the ensign.

Most of all, i remember Easter Egg hunts with my two daughters. The ones with Blythe were sadly few in the first years of her life. It was such a beautiful sight to see her dressed up in a pinafore dress with her beautiful blonde hair and carrying a real basket. She would laugh excitedly every time she spied another real colored egg hidden somewhere by her clever mother.

The hunts with Sarah were outside at first, usually confined to the courtyard. She behaved just like her sister when finding an egg. i guess that is pretty much a universal response for children on Easter egg hunts. The hunts here in the Southwest corner quickly moved indoors. Sarah’s mother delighted in her own cleverness in hiding the foil covered chocolate eggs. The Easter Bunny, or as he signed his nickname “E.B.,” began to leave a note each year, usually extolling Sarah’s behavior and telling her of how the others who left her notes on big days, Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy, shared his fondness for her.

Maureen is off to yoga. i have cleaned the grill. We had steak last night with a superb California Red wine from Shebang “without too much pretension” as the label describes it. I like pretty much any wine without too much pretension. Unlike my old grill, i am taking good care of this relatively new “egg” knockoff.

We are going to friends for dinner tonight.

That’s it.

i sit in my office with many tasks and other writing projects piled around me. The sun slinking low to the south is now in its glory. The mist and the clouds have burned off. The bougainvillea outside my office window is the healthiest it has been in years after the rain of previous months and somehow reminds me it’s Easter.

Sitting in my desk chair, i meditate, something i have found greatly calming, refreshing, and empowering in just the last six months or so. Again i had my moment we might call prayer. i think of my two daughters, son-in-law, and grandson. i know Sam had yet another successful Easter egg hunt in Austin. i suspect Sarah either participated with Blythe and her family or with one or other of the children she tends. i am happy for them.

The Easter Bunny didn’t leave any eggs for us here in the Southwest corner. He didn’t leave a note either. i checked.

He did leave something better.

Hope.

You Don’t Want to Know What’s Out There

 

Lady Snooks of Joy, aka Snooks, 127 Castle Heights Avenue, 1971. We were visiting my parents for the first time with Snooks, named after my wonderful uncle Snooks Hall. She was a wedding present we gave to each other. My wife trained her. i enjoyed her. When everything finally fell apart, i ended up with Snooks, or Snookers as i often called her. My wife on her way to divorce me couldn’t bear of thinking Snooks and i should be separated.

Snooks was mine. First dog, really.

My sister won the golden cocker spaniel we appropriately named Lucky in a Halloween drawing in the school festival in Mrs. Vasti Prichard’s fourth grade class. Puppy Lucky lived in the den and the basement at night — our parents grew up in a farm world where animals were for helping with work or providing something to sell like eggs, milk, beef, or chicken breasts, not as house pets — through the winter only to escape one spring afternoon and run into the street and into a car. Just over six months.

Then, we had Trixie, an obnoxious little ankle biter the three children loved but who disappeared mysteriously after about a year.

Finally, Martha brought home Cotton, a bundle of male energy and close to a Eskimo Spitz, but there was something else in there too. He was allowed in the den but stayed outside at night unless brutal cold caused my father to let him in for the night. Cotton became the family dog. Cotton also, long before we even knew what lease laws were, ruled the world, wandered afar, and had a good and healthy life. Even the averse parents became fond of him, and he really ended up being our father’s dog.

But Snooks was mine. My ex-to-be understood that.

She, Snooks that is, presented a problem. She was my solace and no real problem at Texas A&M while i was the senior Naval officer at the NROTC Unit. One of our secretaries lived on a farm with her husband. She would keep Snooks when i went on summer duty to Little Creek, Virginia. But i was in the Navy. Navy officers, especially those that shunned the idea of heroically flying, sinking below the surface, or doing superhuman things like SEALS, to go to sea. i went back to sea.

So the secretary agreed to keep Snooks when i left to join the amphibious staff in Hobart, Tasmania and remain in the western Pacific for five months. On the way back, i was trying to figure out how to make having Snooks with me work in San Diego. I wanted her badly, but it was a sticky wicket: finding an apartment that would allow big pets, finding a keeper when i went to sea, giving her exercise, what to do with long work days. Problems. But i was working on it until i got the letter in the mail call when we reached Pearl Harbor on the way home.

The secretary sent the letter. It told how her husband was taking Snooks and another of their dogs to the vet in the back of their pickup. How Snooks leaped out of the truck bed while the truck was going pretty fast. She died instantly.

When i read the letter in my stateroom, i cried for about an hour. She was a lovely dog.  My dog: slept with me in the bed on the porch of that farmhouse north of Paris, Texas when we came back from Korea; jumped into Spring Creek while i was water skiing because she wanted to me with me. Worst fault: she didn’t like Blythe getting close to her food dish. She was my dog. i cried some more.

Lady Snooks of Joy. We named her that because she was AKC registered and her mom was a champion with Joy in her name. Fitting.

And, i now think when looking at this photo, she really didn’t want to know what was out that window. i’m not sure i did either.

It Is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free

i was a good ole boy, a young good ole boy to be sure, but essentially a Southern small town boy still unaware of what lay out there in the magical world of the written word. The now sadly defunct Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, Tennessee gave me a look see into literature courtesy of  Majors Harris, Donnell, and Wooten.

i was titillated by the joy of fiction by Vanderbilt’s Dr. Sullivan in the course we called “Novels.” — i was not really supposed to be there, but it was my last shot to bring my civil engineering major grades up to a C average. Prior, the engineers and the Navy would not allow me to wander from the rigors of math and science to pursue my whims, but that summer of 1963 gave me liberty to choose my courses. So i had to retake “Statics,” the one course i flunked in four semesters of 19, 21, 20, and 18 hours of courses which that civil (oh, what a terrible description of my course load) engineering department and the Navy ROTC scholarship minions demanded while i was dumb enough to think i was smart enough to attend all sports events, party damn near every night, gambol at every chance, and play cards and drink beer until the early mornings, stopping only on the day before exams to cram one night on coffee and “No Doz” to make passing grades even though each ensuing semester signaled a continuing slide down the academic flunk out tunnel until i finally came to within one course of flunking out without failing a course. Fourteen D’s in four semesters (in addition to that one F, taken over that fateful summer and raised to a C). But that wondrous summer i took Drama 101, Philosophy 101, the dreaded Statics (2 something), and Sullivan’s Modern British and American Fiction (4 something: it was a senior and graduate course).

i didn’t make it but the beauty of Carson McCullers, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, and of course, my hero and Vanderbilt’s own Robert Penn Warren took me away to another planet. i was then undeniably, officially in love with writing, albeit a rather naive love of the monster i adored.

But nine months under one Mister Fred Russell, erstwhile and nationally known sports editor of The Nashville Banner, whetted my appetite for writing, especially sports writing. Feeling my oats once again, i entered Middle Tennessee, the “rather parochial” (as described by Dean Richard Peck) bastion of teaching education, and more stubbornly pursuing a BA even after the Dean of Arts and Science, my academic counselor, stunned, questioned my sanity with “Are you sure? You know you must take a foreign language (Spanish: that didn’t take either). You know you would be one of the first ever to major in English as a BA, not BS?” and “hmm,” i thought, “How strange?” and “BS just doesn’t sound right or literary enough to me.” And so i took to my pursuit of writing, sports writing to be exact.

i wandered through a rather bizarre world. i moved back home. i continued writing for the Banner, now as a county and sports correspondent. i began my brief but very enjoyable career as a radio man, deejay at WCOR AM/FM. i commuted to Murfreesboro with my buddy Jimmy Hatcher, Ken Berry, Clifton Tribble, and other friends in the early morning, traversing back and forth on Murfreesboro Road, more formally known as U.S. 231 and more informally as road kill trek, getting home in time to have dinner (that’s the noon meal from where i come) with my father, usually a baloney and American cheese slice sandwich with iced tea before laying down on the two couches in the den for a joint midday nap. i took required classes like physical science because the chemistry and physics D’s didn’t transfer, and later trigonometry, which i had taken under Colonel Brown in CHMA’s advanced math program. And i passed both with A’s without ever opening a book, and becoming the lab assistant for the physical science professor, which let me flirt with a lot of pretty coeds. AND i took wonderful literature courses where i was challenged and others like English Literature where the old lady professor, Dr. Emily Calcott read Percy Bysshe Shelly’s nine cantos Queen Mab: A Philosophical Poem; With Notes verbatim in class. All of it. Seems like that summer course took about two dozen years.

And then i took Dr. Peck’s Shakespeare class, and i began to see the world, or at least my small literary part of it, differently.

And finally, i met Dr. Bill Holland. Bam! We became friends. He took me under his wing and revealed a whole new world. He was from Mississippi, been a surveyor for the Army Corps of Engineers. Got his Romantic Literature doctorate from the University of Edinburgh. Yeh, that one in Scotland. Wrote his dissertation on the common thread in literature from Chaucer through Shakespeare through the Romantics, especially one Mr. William Wordsworth. i was told he received a “first class” doctorate, one of ten awarded in the history of that university. Yeh, that University of Edinburgh.

So we talked about Mr. Wordsworth, and i compared “time” of WW and RPW (Wordsworth’s “Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey, On Revisiting the Banks of the Wye during a Tour. July 13, 1798” and Warren’s “The Ballad of Billie Potts”). And he liked it. And we talked some more. And i cut other classes to discuss deep things in his office like the symbolism in Bob Lind’s Top 40 hit, “Elusive Butterfly (of Love),” and what was it Billy Joe McAllister and that strange woman threw off the Tallahatchie Bridge in Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billy Joe,” and did Plato err when he got the decimals from Egypt wrong and Atlantis consequently was really in the Adriatic, not the Atlantic, and more and more and more.

But before Holland, i was not into Romantics. i mean why would a good ole boy be concerned about some Englishman who wrote about daffodils? Now, i like daffodils and even more to the point, i think writing about daffodils and butterflies can be manly. Caring but manly. i like that.

Two days ago, i learned it was William Wordsworth’s birthday from “The Writer’s Almanac.” i had known that but forgot. To honor him, the writers and editors of the “Almanac” included a Wordsworth poem.

i read. i’m so glad Dr. William Holland, my friend, introduced me to that guy who wrote about daffodils.

It Is a Beauteous Evening, Calm and Free
by William Wordsworth

It is a beauteous evening, calm and free,
The holy time is quiet as a nun
Breathless with adoration; the broad sun
Is sinking down in its tranquility;
The gentleness of heaven broods o’er the sea:
Listen! the mighty Being is awake,
And doth with his eternal motion make
A sound like thunder—everlastingly.
Dear Child! dear Girl! that walkest with me here,
If thou appear untouched by solemn thought,
Thy nature is not therefore less divine:
Thou liest in Abraham’s bosom all the year,
And worship’st at the Temple’s inner shrine,
God being with thee when we know it not.

Cass Done Gone

Sean Dietrich wrote a post this morning on his blog “Sean of the South” (http://seandietrich.com/).  Sean writes a post every morning. Judy Lewis Gray, as mentioned before put me onto Sean’s posts. i thank her again. Sean sends me his post each morning in an email to which i subscribe. i don’t know how he comes up with the stuff he comes up with every morning. i read them. Nearly all of them tug at my heart strings. The resulting music is enjoyable, soothing for the soul.

Sean’s post this morning was entitled “Dear Sean,” a letter from a fifteen-year old sad boy about his dog dying. Sean wrote of his own loss of a best friend. It made me recall my sad moment. When i went to find an old post with a poem about my friend Cass, a wonderful Labrador, golden in color, who was more part of me than just a friend, i discovered that old post had also vanished in the great website provider disaster several years ago.

So for “fifteen and sad,” Sean, and everyone else who has had to put their dog down, here again are my thoughts on Cass leaving me:

Cass Done Gone

a part of my soul left today.
the stubborn, ole cuss of a lab was more me than him
i worshiped the way he defied the world
until it no longer mattered.
some people told me
i would know when it was time.
i did not believe until
that silly old dog told me two nights ago and
told me last night it was okay.
he has been my mirror, my dreams, my soul
fifteen years.
i could tell him me like i can tell no other.
i am not ashamed of crying, feeling lost.
my granddaddy would scoff:
it isn’t the way it was back then.
there is an emptiness in my soul.
i am really not sure i’ll recover.
yeh, the pain will go in time;
the emptiness will be covered by events passing by,
but the hole will never be filled,
he was one of a kind to me.
he was me
he is gone.
i will bury his ashes at the top of the hill behind the house.
you can see the beach where he body surfed;
you can see the trails where he ran with abandon,
scaring hell out of coyote, rabbit, possum and birds alike;
if you turn around you can see the home he ruled
welcoming unknown people as if they were long lost friends;
taking on all dogs who foolishly entered his territory:
the doberman, the big shepherd, and all other intruders
stood clear after one encounter .

my feet feel cool now.
for most of his life, he would lie under my desk,
while i read, contemplated or typed with
his head resting on my feet.
the silence is awkward:
even in his sleep, he would grunt, wheeze,
kick the walls, chasing something in his dreams,
my dreams.
run sweet dog again;
pant with delicious tiredness after chasing the blues away;
scan the field with those keen sparkling eyes that
always read joy to me;
catch the next wave to bound into the bubbling surf
shake the misery with the salt wetness
from your coat of gold;
lick the face of someone
to give them unmitigated joy.

goodbye, sweet Cass.
goodbye, you joyful part of my soul.

gossamer

gossamer in the micro-world we miss

 

she saw the photo,

laughed,
thought it inane;

in the morning when i saw the gossamer
in the dawn mist of the front lawn
i thought
beautiful, mysterious, another minuscular world;
for there in the waking hours
when we arise into our daily hurdles
of a complex world of humanity
with as many claims to living right
as there are humans,
out there in that yard
is a micro biosphere, if you will,
that shouldn’t be in the desert
except we have added water
from the Colorado and the Sierras snowbank
to allow another world
where gossamer beauty
in such an illogical place
has the purpose
to snare and kill game:
the ultimate and sole mission
of the minute spider
that wove this gossamer
on grass in deep in the high desert
off the coast of Baja;

i discarded her sarcasm
because
i thought the spider’s purpose
along with the gossamer
to meet its purpose
beautiful.

 

Indoor Cats

It was a morning after two rounds of Friday golf. i  played with my group of curmudgeons as usual; had a beer and lunch, and then joined my Pacific Tugboat friends for the Propeller Club tournament (the Propeller Club is an association of businesses dedicated to supporting all things concerning the well-being of San Diego Bay).

So when i woke up, i was not particularly energetic. Thirty-six holes of golf are now pretty demanding for this old man. But what the heck?

So for a change, i woke up second. Whoever wakes up second naturally makes the bed. That is when i had my first morning encounter with our indoor cats.

i like cats. However, i’m not too keen on indoor cats. My older daughter Blythe has had indoor/outdoor cats all of her life. Up until these two, all of my cats were indoor/outdoor. i think they should do their natural thing. But in our neck of the woods in the Southwest corner (okay, okay, our neck doesn’t really have woods, just high desert weeds and low-lying acacia, usually thorny, and not fun in the ten months of dry).

But my younger daughter Sarah got a kitten while she shared a house with other college friends. We had given up on outdoor cats because we had lost four to the snakes, owls, bobcats, hawks, foxes, falcons, and coyotes in the open space surrounding our home.

Sarah moved back home for her last two years at San Diego state, bringing that cat with her, the indoor cat named Dakota who had no desire to go outside after a mad dash into Halloween stormy weather for more than two weeks at the SDSU house. She was a sweet domestic cat, unlike most cats i’ve known.

Sarah recognized her mother was a fanatic cat lover. So when she began packing for her move to Austin,  she went and acquired another cat named over arguments about what to name this black and white tom from “BW” to “Bruce Willis” to the common referral to him as “Bruce” (me) and “Brucie” (Maureen).

To complicate things , Sarah couldn’t take Dakota to Austin. She moved into her sister Blythe’s home shared by Jason, Sam, two dogs, and at least two outdoor cats. They all recognized an indoor cat was implausible in such an evironment.

So, the Southwest corner Jewell’s ended up with two indoor cats.

It’s not all that bad since i remembered to always close the door. They are entertaining.

For example, when i began making the bed this morning, i heard a slight noise and turned around to see Dakota.

She was waiting patiently but anxiously for me to finish making that bed. You see, that bed is her solace, her safe place for the majority of the day.

Since there is a lot of cat hair involved with sleeping on our bed and Dakota prefers to burrow, Maureen created a cat pad, old sheet haven for the princess.

Yes, the princess. Dakota relishes the role.

So after i finished the bed and completed a couple of other chores, i returned to our
bedroom and found Dakota in her usual spot.

She is there every day as soon as her haven is prepared properly. In the afternoon, she comes out and lays on Maureen’s lap while Maureen is reading and continues this practice through the evening. Occasionally, very occasionally, she will do something radical and jump up on my lap while i’m watching a baseball game or reading.

But the bed, under that old sheet is her place. She even looks a bit cross if i sneak my phone nearby to take a photograph. i mean that spot is hers. Hers. Period.

Then we have Bruce. He will eventually wander into Dakota’s lair and being careful not to disturb the princess, will lay on top of the pillows for a brief rest. But in the morning, he is bouncing off walls, demanding to play, drinking out of the kitchen faucet, letting us know his needs with a few well-placed meows.

As i said, i’m not particularly fond of the idea of indoor cats. But i’ve grown attached to these two.

And in the morning, especially mornings when i’ve done something old man stupid like playing two rounds of golf the previous day. i can stiffly move about until i experience these two indoor cats. Then, they make me smile. My day starts on a good note.

That’s enough.

 

 

Grand Canyon

The FB post i shared today had a link to a poem of mine. Unfortunately, about two years ago, my web-service provider took a header and lost my previous posts forever. This is the poem i mentioned that was from that link.

Grand Canyon

Snow
until the lights hit the banks of the roadside,
blurting whiteness into the driver’s eyes,
it had not revealed its presence in the night.

Driver:
at the wheel since L.A. mid-morning,
staring bleakly at the white
long since ceasing to distinguish colors and shades,
reacting to only black and white.
recognizing the significance in the blanch of
late night white,
he slowed:
those uphill climbs around the curves
had brought them to the mountains
sunk in.

Car.
Slipping slightly, it slid over the median
into the glazed parking lot of the inn.

Bar.
Sunny, bearded cowboy
singing in the bar
accompanied by his guitar,
wired for sound:
electronic Tumbling Tumbleweeds.

Imagination?
shabby dirty man alongside
white robed man with wool-hooded jacket, looking like
Jesus in Pomona, returning to Sambo’s
after turning heads by asking for five balloons
and announcing,
“I’m going to bag some heroin.”
a real bad effort to impress
i guess.

Holes in the mountains.
snow outside is real;
the cowboy has sung his song,
turned off the amplifier;
daughter, curled beneath the covers,
is sacred.

Full day:
grand canyon, cowboys, and
white robed, doped up Jesus in Pomona
and
sleeping daughter in the snow.

Grand Canyon, Arizona
December 21, 1981