Hell of a Guy
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - Albert Einstein

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Her Majesty…


It has been said, “To dogs you are family; to cats merely staff.”  Also often said, “Veritas vos liberabit” (The truth will set you free).  There is a correlation here.  We have a cat, or, perhaps, the cat has us.

Lisa and her sibling Oliver came to live with us nine years ago when we were hoodwinked into accepting them by a granddaughter.  Just a few weeks before the arrival of the felines, a canine moved in with us, too.  Note: I was not a pet person…at the time.  Poor Oliver didn’t make it that long with us.  He was a wanderer, loved making short trips into the surrounding fields, and very apparently ran into something greater than himself.  We were left with Lisa and Stella.  The difference between a cat and a dog became evident in short order.

If I spoke her name, Stella would turn and look at me.  If I speak to the cat by any name, I am totally ignored.  If I asked Stella if she needed to go outside, her tail would wag and she would jump up and walk toward the door.  The cat, on the other hand, goes to the door and meows.  If I go open the door, she sits and stares at it.  I have to move away from it to another room until she decides the moment is right to go out of it. She rarely goes out the door if I wait for her to do so.

When we came home at night, Stella was at the door awaiting our entrance.  When we opened the door she moved to greet us.  The cat is at the door when we get home, as well, but, unlike the dog, as we enter she turns her back to us and walks away, I suppose to register her disapproval of our leaving her in the first place, or so it seems.

Cats do display a degree of self-sufficiency dogs do not have.  We have a self-feeder for Lisa and a rather large litter box in our basement.  If there is a good advantage of a cat ownership over a dog ownership, it is the mere fact we can leave the cat here for a few days when we travel.  Never could have been away more than eight or ten hours with the dog.  However, cats are very demanding (annoying may be a better descriptor).  Lisa will sit by her water bowl and meow until she gets fresh water.  This happens several times each day.  She does the same thing when she wants to go the second floor of our home so she can sleep on a bed up there, or just re-coat the spreads with cat hair that we just cleaned.  She will sit at the door the second floor and meow very loudly until one of us opens it for her to go up.  She can be as annoying as a mother-in-law. 

Not being a pet person, I could easily do without dogs or cats, but I have admit, now that Stella is gone and the damn cat is all the company I have when The Nancy is out of the house, it is nice to have Lisa to talk to so it does not appear I am talking to myself all day long, even if she is as demanding as the other female occupant.

And that is all I have to say about that…

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I Never Had A Beer With My Dad…


I saw something on Facebook not long ago asking with whom, if you had the chance, would you like to have a conversation.  My immediate answer was Jesus, but on second thought, I think it might just be my dad.

You see, there were a few things left unsaid and undone, not bad things, just things – one being that beer mentioned above.  Dad didn’t drink, Dad didn’t smoke and Dad didn’t use swear words (very often), so engaging him, when he was living, was not always easy.  We lived in different worlds, did things differently.  I suppose the 40-year difference in our ages contributed to this more than anything else.

I didn’t realize just what a unique man he was until I was in my forties.  This guy with an eighth-grade education who provided for his stay-at-home wife and five children (we were the reason for the “stay-at-home wife”) while working as a payroll clerk for the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company.  Dad had the amazing ability to add columns of figures in his head with incredible speed.  While he never had any complex math training, I would bet anything calculus and trigonometry would have been a snap for him.  We had little in common when I was growing up; he was old school and I was a 50’s and 60’s kind of a guy.  I was forty-two the first time I told him I loved him.

In 1995 I became interested in genealogy.  One mid-summer afternoon, I sat down with my dad for a couple of hours talking about family and his childhood.  He had a super memory, a fantastic recall of dates and happenings.  It was on this occasion – he was 91-years old at the time – he told me of the passing of his baby brother Randall in 1918.  Dad would have been 14, Randall 5.  As he told me of Randall’s death, he had tears in his eyes.  Seventy-seven years had passed, and it still affected him. 

I miss the guy.  He died in 1997.  I cannot tell you how many times I have thought about the beer I never got to have with my dad.

And that is all I have to say about that. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Biloxi and the Beau Rivage…


The Nancy and I spent a weekend back in August in Mississippi, Biloxi Mississippi, to be exact.  We were there at the Beau Rivage Resort and Casino to celebrate the impending retirement of a longtime friend.  If you have ever gone any place and enjoyed watching people this might be a venue you would enjoy, immensely. This is a people watcher’s paradise.

The casino in the Beau Rivage is a gathering place, as I suppose most casinos might be, of a myriad of types, sizes, socio-economic levels and just plain weirdoes.

Visiting to casinos is not on my Bucket List, nor is it on mt list of favorites.  I do not like casinos.  With the constant bell ringing and flashing lights and an overhanging haze from the cigarette smoke, not to mention the ever present cigarette-smoke stench, my first thought on entering is how quickly I will be able to do what I have to do and make my escape.  The Nancy, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to mind the lights, the noise, the weirdoes or the smoke. The weirdoes (I know, I should not be judging them, after all, they are God’s children, too) do, however, present me with a cheap, really great entertainment. 

I am amazed by the vast numbers of older people (older than me, I hope), at least they look very old, sitting in front of a machine spending a dollar every time they tap a certain button on it.  Most of the people do not have the appearance of being well off, causing me to wonder if they can truly afford to spend any part of their “fixed income” (you know, the one where they can hardly afford food and medicine) to doing what they are doing.  Anyway, the people come in all shapes and sizes, some appearing to have not eaten in months, compared to others who look as if they ate everything on their plates and everyone else’s plate, too.  Some folks dressed to the “nines,” and some who look as if they woke up that morning and dressed in a dark closet.  White folks, black folks, Hispanics, Latinos, Asians and loads of others, as well; such a dichotomy, a hodgepodge.

All of this causes me to wonder, as I walk through a casino, is there someone there looking as me and thinking, “What the hell kind of weirdo comes into a casino and doesn’t play?”  Judge not, lest you be judged.”

And that is all I have to say about that…