Yesterday evening I learned something new. Cats communicate with a lot more ways than meows, although since Cleo has grown out of Kittenhood and is a grown-up cat now, she chatters at me all the time.
Before I started writing this article, I had second thoughts. What I wanted to write about was personal. I want my friends to think well of me. To say what I wanted to say, I had to unload myself and tell my friends about some of my faults. Exposing my mistakes might lower me in their estimation. On the other hand, if I can’t speak freely to my friends, who can I tell?
Every day I make mistakes; usually, one or two. I expect that, but yesterday I made my quota, and they were doozies. You may think a person as old as I don’t make mistakes anymore. After all, by the time you get to be ninety and, if it is true that we learn from our mistakes, then I should be perfect. Right? Not so. I keep on making mistakes all the time, no matter how hard I try to be perfect.
Perhaps, after my ninety-four years of making mistakes and watching this old world roll by, I have acquired a broader sense of what the future may hold for us, a sense that I did not have when I wore a younger man’s clothes. I never expected to live this long. I expected the two score and ten would be plenty during which I had my fair share of life. Now that I have, I had better use, and share, whatever small lessons and knowledge I’ve acquired to help others be ready for tomorrow.
I am a persistent person. Once I set out to do a job, like a dog with a bone, I cannot quit or let go until I have got all the meat off the bone or finished the project. While I admit that I am not always the brightest bulb in the room, I’ve discovered even a dim bulb, given time enough to shed light, may furnish enough light to do a job.
The next thing to being famous is to have a famous friend. My cat, Cleo Paleno, is famous. I know she is famous because on three separate occasions, total strangers, as well as several of my acquaintances, have gone out of their way to tell me how much they admire Cleo. That warms my heart because I consider Cleo my best animal friend and a cat deserving of admiration and praise.
Sometimes life gets complicated. Like a slap on the side of your head when you least expect it. The other day my reading glasses right ear hanger fell off. Being a person with a razor-sharp intellect and the reflexes of a jungle cat, and since the same thing happened to me a hundred times before with other glasses during the last twenty-five years, I knew instantly what happened; the screw that fastens the ear hanger to my spectacles had come unscrewed. Over time and use, the screw had come loose and fallen out.
We got to the Indian Rock and parked a dozen feet away. The rock was looked like a giant gray egg. It was half out of the ground, ten feet in diameter and covered with algae stars and rock carvings. It must have rolled from a precipice of stone at the top of what had been a mountain peak a million years ago.
I drove into town to check my front wheel bearings at Loren’s Garage. Loren, Brian, Ryan, and the other boys treat me right. They never stiff me on the cost of the repairs. They go farther. More than once, they give me a ride home while they pursue their delicate ministrations on my vehicle.
For a week, I had terrible static on my telephone. It was nearly impossible to call out, and when people called me, I couldn’t understand anything they said except every third word for the static interference. Each time I called, the static on the phone sounded like I had dialed into the grandfather of all snowstorms.
My cat Cleo and I understand each other. When I got her a year ago at the SPCA, she was a six-month-old semi-Angora kitten that nobody wanted. She let me scratch her head, so I took her home. She and I have become, well, not exactly bosom buddies, but we respect one another, and she will do what I ask if she wants to.
At a time of the year, when many of us are the center of a human bee-hive of family and friends, and have work we enjoy, feelings of loneliness don’t pay us much attention. Still, there are many of our friends, who are older, or because of illness or the loss of someone near and dear to them, feel alone. They suffer more often from those great cripplers; loneliness and depression. In a world so wonderful and amazing, some may wonder why being lonely has gained such control over so many people’s lives.
A week ago, I was driving home from Lakeport. I had just come from our once-a-month support group for folks that had lost their spouse. As I rounded the corner, going toward the 29 Freeway North and Upper Lake, I noticed one of the UPS trucks barreling ahead of me. It was heading in the same direction as I was.
‘Wine is the most healthful And most hygienic of beverages.’ Louis Pasteur ‘Drink no longer water But use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake.’ I Timothy, V ‘Wine that maketh glad The heart of man.’ Psalms CIV, 15 Witter Springs and environs is about as cosmopolitan and filled with all kinds of interesting people, […]
Tolstoy said, ‘The greatest surprise in life is to discover, suddenly, that you have grown old’. All the young men and women that fought or were part of all the wars that ever were eventually discovered that surprising fact. That’s how it was for the men I met that traveled with me in the VA […]