Thursday, October 22:
Just a few items to pass along…
Except for the time I spend with Penelope and Bernadette, life has pretty much been tossing anvils out of open windows onto my head. I’ve thought lately that perhaps I should have stayed in China, purchased a bicycle with a wagon attached, and sold Durian fruits on a street corner. I keep waiting for life to change while making the same mistakes, having the same unhealthy reactions to tragedies and events, and failing to experience the passion for life, friends and the world around me that I had enjoyed just a few years ago. Then a Joycean epiphany bonked me on the head Monday: I keep waiting for life to change, but it’s I who need to change life. Now, I find myself making small positive changes to grow as a person. Because, let’s face it, if we don’t grow, we die.
Friday evening the veterinarian’s office called to tell us Quincy’s ashes were ready for pick up. Bernadette and I listened to the message while heading out on our romantic date — our first since Penelope entered our lives — and felt the renewed sadness of our loss earlier that week. Later that evening, moments before I fell asleep, I felt as if something had jumped onto the bed at my feet. I started to say: “Hey Quincy!” when I woke up and remembered he was gone. And here’s the funny thing: Bern felt the same sensation.
About 3:30 a.m. the spicy Ethiopian food I’d consumed at dinner torched a bonfire in my rib cage, and I stumbled to the bathroom for some antacids. I flipped on the light and looked in the mirror to find a white cat hair resting gently on my right cheek. Now, my proclivity is to cite the spicy food and my lackluster housekeeping skills as the cause of the above events, but a part of me wonders. And that wonder comforts me.
Addendum: Penelope doesn’t ever seem to ask about Quincy except at dinner time. (Please do not take that the wrong way.) When we feed the dogs, she takes a bowl out from the shelf in the island and says “Gat!?” Bern has told her that Quincy was sick and that he’s not here anymore, but she doesn’t understand.
A Big Hug of Thanks:
I want to thank everyone who offered their condolences after hearing about Quincy. He was a dear friend and family member. I’m sure anyone who has ever loved a dog or cat understands. (With one notable exception, I believe that to be true.) I also heard from several people who I haven’t talked to for a while, and I was deeply touched. I appreciate all of you who read this blog and your kind words. So, from the depths of my heart: Thank you!
Lazy Morning Musings:
Bernadette and I alternate staying in bed late one weekend morning while the other attends to Penelope. Typically, my free day is Saturday and hers Sunday. Last Saturday morning I woke early and lay staring at the ceiling. Bern popped her head in the room and naturally asked, “What are you thinking about?”
I hate that question because more often than not, I’m thinking about something utterly ridiculous. I could spend hours deciding what celebrity women I’d want on my side in a bar fight (Joan Jett, that Jillian woman from Biggest Loser, Oprah when she’s heavy) or wondering how the first person who smoked tobacco came up with the idea. Did they try to smoke fruits and vegetables first but it didn’t work? Me, I’d try to smoke an ear of corn before I’d roll up tobacco leaves.
Anyway, I wish I could say with a straight face that I was mapping out my day or reflecting on my good fortune in life. But I’m a terrible liar, so I confessed: I was wondering how I would field a baseball team comprised of ex-Presidents. After 18 years of marriage, Bern’s accustomed to my mental meanderings — which unfortunately occur sometimes during the middle of dinner — so she just nodded and before closing the door said, “Of course you are. I should have guessed.”
Anyway, after some pondering here’s what I came up with:
First Base — Abe Lincoln. Think about it: The Sultan of Springfield would have made the perfect first baseman. He was tall and with those long arms and legs he’d have great defensive reach. I also suspect Lincoln could swing the lumber with authority.
Second Base — John Adams. Fierce and bandy-legged, Adams would assume the role of the fiery spark plug on the team. I suspect his range would lack, but I think if someone were bearing down on him at second base, Adams would hang in there and turn the double play. I wonder how he would have felt playing against the Red Sox?
Shortstop — Harry Truman. Truman was such a smooth dresser that I suspect he’d have made a slick fielder. And, considering the way he battled back to beat Dewey in 1948, he’d have been a tough out.
Third Base — Dwight D. Eisenhower. The general on the field, Ike was an avid golfer with a smooth swing. I’d expect a high average from him; I’d hit him third before my clean-up man, Stretch Lincoln.
Left Field — James “J-Buck” Buchanan. A surprise pick over Rutherford B. Hayes, I admit, but I considered how Jimmy B. was built and think he’d make a great power bat behind Lincoln. Jimmy B. doesn’t look fleet footed, but I’d rely on my speedy center fielder to cover the gaps.
Center Field — George Washington. Long, lean, fast and strong, I suspect Washington could chase a ball down in the gaps and hit for a high average. I have no doubts.
Right Field — Ronald Reagan. C’mon, I had to stick Reagan in right field. Decent fielder, decent hitter.
Catcher — Theodore Roosevelt. With his barrel chest, powerful legs and big choppers, T-Row would have made an inviting target for any pitcher. Mostly he would speak softly and carry a big bat, but I love the idea of a provoked TR whipping off his catcher’s mask and getting in the umpire’s face after a bad call. I can just hear him calling the ump a “Pithecanthropoid” or a “well-meaning, pin-headed, anarchistic crank of hirsute and slabsided aspect.”*
Pitcher — Lyndon “Big Train” Johnson. If there’s one President who’d sneak a nail file into his belt buckle or a little pine tar onto the glove to throw some sneaky pitches, it’d be LBJ.
Manager: U.S. Grant. Bull-headed and stubborn, Grant would never let his team quit. Granted — no pun intended — if the game were a little slow he might hit the bottle, but that’s a chance I’m willing to take.
Finally, I considered putting JFK at third but automatically stuck him on the disabled list because of his bad back.
*Edmund Morris, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, pg. 24. Great book if you’ve never read it!