My wife, the lovely and equally amazed, Dawn, were in Cincinnati last week. That, in and of itself, is nothing worthy of amazement. Cincinnati is, after all,…Cincinnati. If you’ve seen one fast food chili shop, you’ve seen ‘em all. But then we saw something that stopped us in our comfortably shod tracks.
We had stopped into a Kroger Supermarket to replenish our “Goodies” supply. Our shopping cart wobbled up and down each aisle ending up over near the Deli department and the in-store mini-St. Arbucks.
That is where we saw it.
Look at them. Chances are they’ll be looking back at you. If, while you are looking for them, you notice that everybody is looking at you…well, there you go. You are the Black Sheep in that family. Congratulations.
How does one become The Black Sheep? It starts early. In those formative years when the other kids in the family are setting up little lemonade stands there is one tyke, boy or girl, who starts their own business selling newspapers. What’s so wrong with that? Nothing except that, our lone wolf entrepreneur is selling yesterday’s newspapers to unsuspecting adults.
One of my weekly chores around the house is doing the Laundry. The Laundry must be done and somebody has to do it, and…
I AM SOMEBODY!
Doing the Laundry is not all that difficult. If I was Color Blind, Illiterate, and entirely Anti-Social it would be much harder to do. It would be horribly more taxing if I had to lug everything down to the banks of the Wabash River and beat our clothing on a flat rock. Luckily, I don’t have to that, but I’m still looking for a way out of this weekly chore.
I am trying to train the cat to do the Laundry.
I SAW A LITTLE NEWS ITEM TODAY that caught my attention and actually set me to thinking.
Not an easy thing to do.
Most things that I read bring my thinking to a screeching halt or make me hungry.
This news item was an announcement from the U.S. Department of Transportation along with the Federal Railroad Administration. I never knew that there was a Federal Railroad Administration. I knew about Lionel and American Flyer, but the Federal Railroad Administration? Never.
THE OTHER DAY I BUMPED INTO A LITTLE FACTOID. It was about you, me, and everyone else on Earth. Unless you know something I don’t know all of us are natives of this planet. According to that factoid you and I live here on Earth which is one planet in our Solar System, which is part of our Galaxy – The Milky Way – and that our Galaxy is off by itself in the emptiest and most remote part of the visible Universe.
To the rest of the Universe we are off in the desert.
How did that happen? Do we have B.O.?
HERE WE ARE NEAR THE STUBBY END OF FEBRUARY and signs of life are returning to this frozen slice of the world. One of those indicators is the return of the Four-Legged Restaurant Critic to Terre Haute (That’s French for “Are you going to eat that?”). This town has more dining options than any town this side of West Terre Haute (That’s Portuguese for “Does anybody here speak French?”).
I like Mexican food. Unfortunately, it is difficult to find. There is a Taco Bell within hurling distance of where I am seated – no Mexican food there. Taco Bell has twice tried to open stores inside the nation of Mexico and twice they have failed to find an audience. ‘Nuff said.
OK…I’M AS FREE THINKING AS THE NEXT GUY and even more so than the guy next to him, but even I have to draw the line somewhere.
Not everyone in the world has good luck in dating and looking for true love.
The perfect, or rather highly imperfect, example of this comes in the person of Mr. Christian Nichols, 21, of Oldsmar, Florida. Mr. Nichols is currently incarcerated for “Looking for Love in all the wrong places.”
Today I have the pleasure of presenting a Reblog from the Witty and Insightful blogger:
Joanne Sarginson at “Some Words That Say What I Think”
Dogs have been man’s best friend for thousands of years and, as time has gone on, our four-legged companions have had many roles in human society.
Recently, a lot of dogs have become smaller to adapt to urban living conditions.
One of these small dogs lives down the road from me.
He is called Harold.
Visually, Harold is nothing short of angelic – he a sentient ball of fur, suspended a few inches above the ground by four stubby and extremely fluffy legs.
However, Harold cannot fathom the fact that he is a small dog.
His mind is completely out of sync with his body.
Although he is physically small in stature, I think that on some level, Harold whole-heartedly believes that he is a wolf.
As a result, he cannot comprehend why he is not treated with the same sense of reverence and awe as his fearsome and majestic ancestor.
Being called ‘cute’ and ‘adorable’ does not sit well with Harold.
In fact, it makes him very angry.
He therefore feels a constant and unstoppable urge to establish himself and remind anyone or anything that strays into his immediate vicinity that he is a force to be reckoned with.
Harold’s has a severe case of ‘small dog syndrome’.
He is under the impression that, if he yaps with enough frequency and intensity, he will eventually be able to transform his deluded perception of himself into reality and convince everyone that he is, in fact, a big dog.
WINTERTIME IN INDIANA – ICY COLD, SNOW UP TO YOUR VASECTOMY SCARS, AND DEER EVERYWHERE. You can’t do much about the cold temperatures and it is pointless to worry about the snow. It is all of those deer that make things scary. They are everywhere and they all seem to be part of a suicide pact.
Maybe all of the 87 million deer within the Terre Haute (That’s French for “Look out, here they come!”) city limits have reached their own personal breaking point and have decided to end it all by leaping into traffic.
The number of deer/motor vehicle collisions around here is just plain ridiculous. The result is measured in bent metal insurance claims and venison hot links.
Zero wins – Two losses.
A few years ago my wife, the lovely and much more photogenic, Dawn, and I toured the National Parks of the Southwest. We took pictures of the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, and the rest. We did not take pictures of ourselves. I saw her there and she saw me – that was proof enough.
Throwback Thursday from October 2015 –
The dateline on the news item, and I use the word “News” very loosely, was Yekaterinburg, Kazakhstan. We’re talking Central Asia here, a place where I might think that isolation from – everywhere else – can play practical jokes with your brain. The gist of this story was something that the AAA magazine would never have printed I am sure.
It seems that motorists hurrying on their way to other parts of Kazakhstan saw a guy driving down the road with a live bear sitting in the backseat of his car. Up at the start of this posting is a picture of the bear in question hanging out of the car window, possibly asking for directions to the nearest asylum for the Seriously Wacky. I have to admit that if I was driving along and saw a bear in the car in front of me I would also try to get a picture – just to give to the driver’s family, in case things didn’t end peacefully, and the bear had lawyered up.
To give due credit to the local Kazakhstanian police, they did pull the guy over. One peek into the backseat and I’m sure those cops were wishing that they were going up against terrorists, drug-crazed bank robbers or even Mary Kay Sales Reps instead.
Cut to several steps closer to the chase – the Kazakhstanian CHiPs sent the guy on his way, along with his bear, but without any kind of traffic citation ticket.
It seems, that according to Kazakhstanian Law it is perfectly legal to drive around with a live bear in your car – provided that the bear is wearing a seatbelt – and the bear in the backseat was, indeed, wearing his seatbelt.
This whole thing brings several questions to mind.
How in the heck did the guy get the bear buckled up without being mauled into an early grave?
Since the bear allowed itself to be put in the backseat and properly belted in – I’m guessing that this was not the bear’s maiden voyage in a car. Just by the fact that the bear was in the backseat tells me that the guy wasn’t driving a Mini Cooper.
Was driver training next on the agenda?
Does this sort of thing go on in Kazakhstan often enough to warrant such safety conscious legislation?
Nowhere in the news item did it ever mention if anyone bothered to find out why the guy had the bear in the first place and where were they headed. I can’t imagine that there are too many spots one can go with your bear tagging along. I know that such places would be limited here, so I can imagine there would be fewer in, say, Yekaterinburg, Kazakhstan. At least I hope so.
In more local Terre Haute news (That’s French for “Bears under 100# must be in an approved car seat.”) bears have recently been spotted in northern Indiana. There is no word on whether or not these bears are émigrés from Kazakhstan or simply bears from the Detroit area looking for work.
Throwback Thursday from August 2015
After stumbling through the process of making tea and doing the crossword puzzle in the newspaper I felt that I was sufficiently conscious to drive to St. Arbucks.
“Oh, great nectar from the mountains of Abyssinia, you awaken my mind and soul to all the wonders and possibilities of God’s creation.”
— From the Gospel of St. Arbucks, Patron Saint of Jittery people.
This afternoon, however, is a different story.
As I stepped out of the back door I was made immediately aware that things were happening – big time.
First of all my ears were assaulted by the cacophony of a million Cicadas nestled high in the treetops. There is no other sound quite like the half buzz, half whine of the ugliest insect around. I don’t know if these are the 5-year, 7-year or the 17-year Cicadas that seem to like this part of the country, but they are noisy. When they are going full blast it can make earplugs a nice accessory.
After regaining my equilibrium from the aural assault I headed to the car, but I stopped when I saw what is in the picture displayed above.
We had a bit of rain overnight and I think it inflated the mushroom that has been growing by the tree near the car. I have put a book into the picture to give you some idea of the size. It first popped up about three years ago and has somehow survived some truly bitter winters. Now it looks poised to take over the whole yard.
I’ve seen squirrels nibble at it and birds too, but I’d be afraid to sample it for fear that it might bite back. I have no idea what kind of mushroom it is other than Honking Big.
After snapping the picture of the Mega-Shroom I walked around to the driver’s side of the car and noticed yet another sign of activity.
We have either a collection of moles living in/under the backyard or the city is putting in a new subway tunnel, which would surprise the heck out of me because Terre Haute (That’s French for “Mama don’t ‘low no subways around here.”) doesn’t have a subway system. It barely has bus lines. I don’t think they’d want to dig too deep around here anyway – you never know who you might bring up.
It must be moles – lots of them. It looks like they’ve all been drinking too. None of the little raised piles of dirt go in a straight line for more than six inches.
Then again, maybe the moles haven’t been drinking. They might be disoriented from sampling that giant Magic Mushroom over by the tree.
Or maybe it’s those darn Cicadas. They make enough noise to drive me crazy – just imagine what they could do to the nervous system of a mole.
Wait a minute…
Did I just compare myself to a mole?
If someone else said that to me I would ask them to step outside, but under the circumstances I would find myself out there alone. Then what?
Besides, it’s too hot and muggy today, so I’ll just stay inside and give myself a stern talking to.
I will continue to monitor the activity in the backyard and report on any significant changes.
If you don’t hear from me – it’s the moles.
I’LL BE THE FIRST TO ADMIT IT – I am a person who is easily amused. I laugh at “Knock, Knock” jokes. “Animal House” is one of my favorite movies. I can be heard laughing out loud as I walk up and down the aisles in one of those huge Mega-Stores like Wal-Mart and Meijer’s. I find them very entertaining.
Last week my wife, the lovely and much more commercially sophisticated, Dawn, and I were pushing our shopping cart through our nearby Meijer store in search of…all sorts of stuff. Dawn is shopping while I am browsing. She is looking for a good price on Pork Chops while I am wondering how many of those “Happy 100th Birthday!” cards they sell.
It was already 65 degrees at 7 A.M. With a high-pressure system out in the Pacific and a warm wind coming down from the High Sierras, it promised that things would be heating up in San Francisco. This Sunday would be a day for shorts and a tank top.
Marlee was up and feeling invigorated by a restful night’s sleep and a hot shower. She had already started her wash in the basement laundry room and had a few minutes to kill until it was ready for the dryers. The vague memory of last night’s dreams led her into the bedroom. She got down on her knees, reached under the bed and slid out the black, hard plastic cello case protecting, at one time, the most important thing in her life.
Marlee carried it onto the sunny living room. It never seemed heavy to her. She had been toting around her cello since high school and she liked its heft. It had a substantial quality that carried over into her playing.
Over the years audiences and critics alike, upon seeing this slim young woman take the stage, had dismissed her off hand as an ornament. It was when she played, coaxed and cajoled the music from the strings and wood that they fell under her powerful spell. Many reviews commented that she handled the cello with the tenderness of a lover and the brute strength of a longshoreman.
When Marlee was onstage people believed that the music came from her and that the cello was merely an instrument of transmission. She was in total control and never wavered or hesitated.
She got one of her dining room chairs and set by the bay window so that the sun would wash over her as she played. Seated in the chair she stared at the case, sizing it up like a boxer waiting for the bell to ring.
The sun played off the varnished wood and it flared into her eyes. She slid the bow from its place and the small tuning fork as well.
She lifted the cello out of the case and adjusted the tail spike. The neck felt hard and strange in her hand. She had not played in months and both she and the cello were out of tune.
Marlee opened her thighs and welcomed home her first love. The varnished curves of the fire-blasted Maplewood felt warm and clinging against the skin on her legs and she wondered why more women didn’t take up the cello.
She tapped the tuning fork on the windowsill and checked to see how much tuning would be necessary.
“Not bad,” she said with a smile and made some adjustments to the tuning pegs and left the fine tuners alone.
She picked up the bow again, tightened the hair and began to do some simple scales and arpeggios. It felt good and sounded comfortable and “at home.”
Tonic, Dominant, Sub-dominant. Triads. Yampulsky’s Exercises: scales in four octaves, chords and harmonics. Faster. Louder. She heard the overtones as her fingers danced up and down the carved wooden neck of the 80 year-old French instrument.
She also heard a scraping sound and then a loud thump from the apartment above. Her fingers froze in mid-arpeggio. Dennis was home.
In her hunger to play again, she had forgotten that it was still only a little past 8:00 A.M. on Sunday morning. She would have to find a practice space.
Marlee waited, and hearing nothing more from up above, resumed her exercises, but softly. She fought the urge to tear into some Baroque Period piece by J.S. Bach, just to feel it in her hands. She resisted because it would have gotten raucous and also because she was out of practice and would not have done it justice. Another time. Today was a day for getting reacquainted with the instrument and for it to do the same with her.
As they age, fine musical instruments take on a patina. The highly buffed varnish on hers had an almost 3-dimensional quality and glowed as if there was a fire inside the F-holes, shining through and heating every note.
Such quality does not come cheaply. Marlee’s cello cost her over $32,000, the bow was over $3,000 and a decent set of four strings was at least $100. Someday she hoped to step up to a first-class kit. At the top there were those made by Stradivarius. The genius from Cremona made more than just violins, but those were very rare and far beyond Marlee’s credit line.
It felt so natural and right to be playing again, even if it was so muted that she could barely hear it, but the vibrations were there.
Leaning in close to the strings, embracing the cello, Marlee poured out her emotions, hopes and fears through the silver tipped bow. Bach, Vivaldi and Mozart responded to her touch across the centuries.
She had worked up a sweat, but it was the sweat of sweet accomplishment. A quick wipe with a towel and a glass of juice would get her ready for another round of exercises. She could already feel the burn in the muscles of her arms.
With the refrigerator door wide open, she stood there drinking straight from the carton. Nobody else was there to scold her. The cold air felt good on her skin. She shivered.
As she put the half empty carton back on the shelf next to some white grapes that were getting too ripe, the doorbell rang, quickly followed by several short raps on her apartment door.
“Oh, get real. It was so low I couldn’t even hear it myself.”
At the door she looked through the security peephole, but couldn’t see anyone.
“Who is it?”
“Marlee, it’s me, Dennis Thayer.”
“Please, I need to talk with you. I have to apologize.”
“Apology accepted. Now, go away.”
“Marlee, please. I have behaved badly.”
“Behaved badly? You attacked me.”
“You’re right.” He had his face up against the door. “I was way out of line, but I have to explain.” Marlee stood silently, glaring at her side of the door. “I have a medical condition and I’d rather not discuss standing out here in the hallway, if you know what I mean.”
“I don’t know, Dennis. I’m still very angry.”
“I know and that’s why I need to talk with you face to face. Please, let me in and I can explain everything.” He lowered his voice, forcing her to move closer to the door.
“I’m really a nice guy, a pussycat even. Meow.” Unseen by Marlee, he rubbed up against the door and licked the wood. “Meow.”
Marlee smiled at his cat impression and leaned against the door, thinking. Dennis had gotten out of line, but she had been able to handle him easily. He was a strange one, but also charming and witty.
“Marlee? Are you still there?” His voice was soft and pleading. “Meow.”
“OK, Dennis, but know this: any funny business and I’ll toss you out the window in front of a bus.”
“No funny business, I swear.”
Despite the hard bits of foreboding in her stomach, she turned the deadbolt and opened the door to a smiling Dennis Thayer.
He stood there in her doorway, dressed in chinos and a bright green Polo shirt. With his blonde curls just touching his eyebrows, he looked like a Preppie leprechaun.
The man had a twinkle in his eyes that made people want to invite him into their lives. In one hand he was holding a pot of steaming coffee and in the other, a rose colored plate piled high with croissants.
He gave Marlee a nod. “I hope you have some cream and some jam.”
He walked past her, into the dining room. “I hope you like croissants. They are so melt in your mouth delicious. And these are still warm. Honey, they are to die for.”
She followed him into the room. “Dennis, I don’t want breakfast. You said you wanted to explain why you attacked me when I was trying to help you. Get on with it. What should I know about the man living above me?”
He set down the coffee and reached for the cups and saucers on the built-in buffet next to the table.
“What should you know? Well, let’s see. Oh…you should know that I usually like to sleep late on Saturday mornings.”
Marlee took a deep breath as he reprimanded her.
“I’m sorry about that, Dennis. I forgot about the thin walls and floors in this old building. I’m sorry I woke you.”
“That’s OK, but it makes a lousy alarm clock. Some of the people in this building might complain, but not me. I’m in a good mood this morning.”
She caught his non-complaining complaint about her music, but since she felt that it was deserved, she let it go. His cheerful mood relaxed her. Her agitation and anger ebbed as she went into the kitchen for some utensils, plates, butter and the half pint carton of half ‘n half she had picked up across the street the night before.
“I don’t have any jam. Do you like sugar for you coffee?”
“It’s in the kitchen. I couldn’t carry it all. On the shelf next to the microwave.”
“I’ll get it.” He went into the kitchen as Marlee arranged the place settings. He picked up the sugar bowl and a few paper napkins from the top of the refrigerator. Marlee moved a small vase filled with Sweet Williams in from the living room.
“A centerpiece. How elegant, Miss Marlee.”
Marlee tensed a bit when she realized that he was standing behind her. He had a habit of silently entering the room. It unnerved her.
He pulled out her chair and, even though a bit uneasy, she allowed him to play the gentleman.
“Shall I pour,” he asked.
Over the clink of knives, plates, cups and saucers, Dennis carried on a nonstop monologue about how happy he was, the weather, anything, but the reason he said that he needed to be there.
“Dennis, stop it!”
“Stop what?” he said as he paused to take a big bite of his buttered croissant.
“You said you needed to talk with me. You begged to be let in. I don’t think it was to give me a weather report.”
“I’m just making sociable chitchat.”
“Dennis, you said you came here to apologize for pawing me in your apartment. Let’s hear it.”
He looked at her, unblinking. He wasn’t used to being spoken to with such directness, especially by women. From women he expected reverential doting, like from his mother, polite helpfulness, like the girls who bagged his groceries at the Safeway, or eventual, fearful surrender to his will. Marlee’s controlled quiet was unfamiliar. One side of him found her strength arousing, while another part of him thought it was too masculine and unattractive.
When he didn’t speak, she went on.
“Let me show you how it’s done. ‘I apologize for playing my cello this early and waking you up.’ There, now it’s your turn.”
“Oh, Miss Marlee, there’s no need to apologize again about the music. It was really quite lovely.”
“Get out of my apartment.” She stood up and looked down at him.
“I’m sorry. You’re right. How stupid of me. Please sit down. You’re making me feel so small, like a boy being scolded by his mother. That hurts and you’re not a hurtful person. Are you, Marlee?”
She sat down.
“You have five seconds to start this apology business or I’ll throw you out of here.” She looked him in the eyes, hoping her nervousness didn’t show. It did.
“Marlee, you’re right, as always. Please allow me to sincerely and deeply apologize for my behavior. You offered me nothing but kindness and hospitality and I acted like a boorish jerk.
“I have a chemical imbalance in my brain and it can throw me for a real loop. On top of that and the pain killers, about which you already know, the night before your beautiful and delicious brunch, at which, incidentally, you served some of the best hollandaise I’ve ever had. I’d love to get the recipe from you. Do you use fresh lemon juice? I think that’s the key, don’t you.”
“Oh, sorry. The night before your brunch I couldn’t sleep from the pain and I took a couple of Vicodin. One used to do the trick, but not any more. And, when I drank that champagne, well it just hit me like a moving van.
“I needed your help getting home, obviously, and I guess that my barbaric and uncivilized nature came out and I…Oh, Marlee. I am so sorry. I am not that kind of man at all.
“From what I recall, you put me on my ass. I don’t remember the details, but I’ll always have the pictures. What did you do to me? I could barely walk for two days.
“I know that what I did was wrong and it was stupid and I swear that I will never, ever, do anything like that again. Please forgive me. I feel like I should be doing an act of contrition. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.” He tapped his heart three times as he chanted.
He looked at her, not knowing what else to say to convince her of his regret.
“Am I forgiven?”
Marlee didn’t say a word. She took a sip of coffee and stared at him over the lip of the cup.
“Marlee? I apologize. Please forgive me.”
“I forgive you, Dennis, but you have a problem with those pills that needs addressing.”
“I know. I’m going to the Free Clinic about that. They’ve assigned me a counselor.”
“There’s one more thing I need to bring up before I can feel comfortable with you again.”
“The pictures. All those photographs on the walls of your bedroom.”
“Its ‘The Haight.’ I take pictures of the neighborhood. It’s my Art.”
“You told me you were a sculptor.”
“I am. I take the photographs and mold them onto forms. ‘Photographic Sculpture’ I call it.”
“You had a picture of me on your wall. A shot of me and Luco Reyes.”
“Well, aren’t you part of The Haight now?”
He waved his hands in the air as if to say, “I thought that was self-evident.”
“I’m sorry. I never meant to offend you.”
“I took it down, Dennis, and ripped it up. I’m sorry too. I was just so shook up by what had just happened. I saw that picture and I felt…”
“Yes, violated by that picture.”
He nodded. “It will never happen again. I promise you.”
Marlee refilled both their cups.
“You know, Luco warned me about you. He said that you were trouble. He called you a ‘bad egg.’”
“He and I have had our problems. It was all my fault, but I bumped into him last night and I think that my problems with him are a thing of the past.”
“Oh, I’m glad to hear that. I know only two men in San Francisco and I don’t want them hating each other.”
Dennis wiped his hands with his napkin and extended his hand across the wooden table. “Friends again?”
Marlee looked at him, her head tilted and her eyes, slits. Just as his smile began to fade a big grin appeared on her face. “Friends again, and I hope forever.” She took his offered hand and they made an exaggerated shake.
“Oh, this is silly,” bubbled Dennis as he got up and came around the table. “Give us a hug.” They gave each other a big bear hug and exchanged “Hollywood Kisses.”
“Miss Marlee, I am so glad we are friends again because I already got you a little gift to celebrate.”
“Dennis, no. I don’t want you spending your money on gifts for me.”
“Don’t worry. It’s nothing. Let me go get it. I’ll be right back.” He hurried out of the door and took the stairs two at a time. Marlee moved over to the door and listened as he quickly came back down from the third floor. He was carrying a large cardboard box. She had to move so he could get it through the door. He set it down on the living room floor.
“Dennis, you crazy nut, what in the world is it?”
He grinned like a circus clown and with a flourish, lifted off the lid.
“Oh, my God, Dennis. What have you done?”
Dennis squatted down, reached into the box a held up a small, yellow kitten.
Marlee put her hand over her mouth to stifle a scream of delight.
“Good Lord. It’s a kitty cat.”
“I know that, girl. I brought him here, remember?”
They were both laughing. The past was seemingly forgotten.
“Miss Marlee Owens, I’d like you to meet Mr. J.P. Cat. Marlee, J.P., J.P., Marlee.” She reached out and shook the kitten’s tiny paw.
“J.P.? What does that stand for?”
“I think it stands for ‘Just Plain’. He is ‘Just Plain Cat’,” said Dennis as he put the cat down.
Marlee got down on the floor and petted the animal as he hopped around inside the box.
“He is just the cutest little thing, but I can’t accept him. I love him already, but I’ve never had a cat before. I don’t know anything about cats.”
“There’s nothing to it.”
“Is he housebroken?”
“Already done. Momma cat teaches them the proper etiquette. Wait here, I’ll be right back.” Again he bounded up the stairs. She could hear him running around his apartment.
Marlee lifted J.P. Cat high overhead as he mewed and pawed at the air. She was definitely smitten with the tiny, yellow ball of fuzz.
Inside the box was a red foam rubber ball the size of a small peach. She set J.P. on the floor and then rolled the ball toward him. He watched it roll by and scampered after the bright red toy, losing traction and sliding into the side of the steamer trunk coffee table. Marlee was fascinated by this furry little bounce of life.
“Isn’t he sweet?” Dennis was back and holding another cardboard box. “I’ve got a few of the necessities here.” He set it down and J.P. scurried over to investigate.
“All right, here are a few things that you and J.P. will need. It’s not much.”
“Dennis, I have to tell you, I am so in love with this little guy. J.P. is so precious.”
“Ain’t he though? I got him from a friend who just got transferred to Terre Haute, Indiana of all places.
“Anyway, here we have the most important item – the litter tray. I’ll set it up for you.”
For the next ten minutes Dennis and Marlee sat on the floor like two kids on Christmas morning going through their toys. They held each item out for the little kitten to sniff. He was learning about his new home.
“Dennis, I am just flabbergasted. I’ve never thought about getting a cat, but now, after just a few minutes, I can’t imagine life without him, Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
“You’re welcome. I thought you two would make a ‘Love Connection’.”
“More coffee? I think it’s still hot.”
“No, thanks. I have to go. You know, places to go, people to see. Maybe later.”
Marlee walked him to the door.
“Dennis, I am so glad that we have things worked out between us.”
“And J.P. will be here whenever you want to come down and play.”
She gave him a hug and kissed him on the cheek. Dennis smiled from ear to ear. His smile didn’t disappear until he closed the door to his apartment, leaving Marlee behind.
WE HAD A VISITOR TO TERRE HAUTE (That’s French for “Care for a donut?”) a few days ago. Actually, it was two visitors – a fellow named Steve Westcott and LeeRoy (His spelling, not mine) Brown, his goat.
Mr. Westcott is from Seattle, undoubtedly heavily caffeinated and trying raise money to help build an orphanage in Kenya. He has the goal of walking all the way to Times Square in New York City. Why he is taking the goat with him remains unclear.
Making these treks across country to raise money for various charitable causes is not new. Taking a goat with you is a unique twist, however.
Mr. Westcott has a webpage about all of this:
He even has a blog running about it, but it looks like he hasn’t added to it for several months. The goat hasn’t said much either.
I looked at a number of his blog entries and my first reaction was, “Who’s crazier, the guy with the goat or the people he meets along the way?”
Blog date: 9/1/2014
Place: Denver, Co.
“Now, as I am walking down 16th Street about five blocks I was surrounded by four motorcycle cops. No joke! The first thing they said to me was, “Hey man you were told not to bring your llama down here.” I said, “I am sorry, I don’t have a llama.”
“You can’t walk on 16th Street. You need to go over to 15th Street.”
Now, I get towards the edge of 15th Street. There is a 7-11 and I want to get myself something to drink. I tie LeeRoy to a flag pole out front, I come out and there are people all around. This lady comes out of nowhere in a full head to toe peach pant suit. She is yelling, walking up to me screaming about llamas. She says, “You were told by the police not to bring your llamas down here!”
I start yelling back. I say, “LADY, IT’S NOT A LLAMA!” I tell her, “I am trying to leave! You are in my way! I am trying to leave! It’s not a llama!” I finally just start yelling, “IT’S NOT A LLAMA, IT’S A GOAT! IT’S NOT A LLAMA!”
I would have thought that the people of Denver would have a better understanding of what a goat looks like. Obviously not.
Mr. Westcott has reported that he and the goat can cover anywhere from four to twenty miles a day – depending on the attitude of the goat.
What must the goat think of all this? They have been walking for more than two years. LeeRoy has to be wondering about Mr. Westcott’s sanity.
I really do doubt that the goat appreciates the goal of building an orphanage in Kenya. After walking across country for two years I doubt that I would appreciate anything but a hot tub and a cold drink. I know that I would NOT appreciate Mr. Westcott and as far as LeeRoy Brown is concerned – I’ve eaten goat before.
I do wish them both well on their journey. I am concerned that when they get to New York City things might get dicey for LeeRoy. The coyotes that live in Central Park might see Mr. Westcott leading LeeRoy up the street and say to themselves, “I didn’t know that we could get food delivered here.”
Well, Mr. Westcott and LeeRoy – Bon Voyage, bon appetite, and, remember, New York doesn’t want you bringing in any llamas either.
To bring everyone up to date on this saga – I have learned that the goat “LeeRoy” died before they got to New York. The cause of his death wasn’t reported, but I suspect it may have been a suicide.
SOMEONE KINDLY INFORMED ME this morning that this month has been designated “National Dog Bite Prevention Month.”
Who knew? Nobody told me about it until today. More importantly, I’d like to know if anybody bothered to inform the dogs of the world about this.
I have never been bitten by a dog – other than the playful nips of puppies. To be truthful, I’ve suffered more bites from humans than I ever have from animals. I have been scratched by dogs, but that happened while the dogs were showing me how glad they were to see me. “