Scruffy the cat died last night

Scruffy was a true cat – a loner, inquisitive, studious, playful, and generous with affection

Only on his terms

Neutered and declawed, he was a house cat, who always wanted outside, but once there wanted in

In 2011 we stayed in two places on the Big Island, the first was a home on the water in Hilo. It was an older plantation style home with the main floor on the second story. It had great ocean views and was close enough to the water to hear the ocean. If you ever stay on this part of the Island be prepared for a chorus of frogs singing every evening.

The second floor living room was totally surrounded by windows. Sliding them to the right could open each window. Each window also had screens to keep out the bugs. When we checked we opened a number of windows to reduce the musty smell. Understand Hilo is a very wet and rainy town.

I guess it started with a dog whose name is a distant forgotten memory. Killed by a car in front of the house in Princeton Illinois when I was 10. We buried him in the back yard—deep- so I assume he is still there.

Tippy, our dog in Idaho, quite a handful, so much so he went to a ranch and enjoyed life until a tractor tire got him.

Cleo, the family dog when my parents took the family to, New Jersey. She was a Cocker with a Cocker disposition. Lived a good long life until she got sick and old and my dad had to take her for her last ride to the vet’s office, actually twice before he could complete the task.

Cisco, a pure bred black lab with enormous energy given to us by my sister –in –law and shipped by air to Georgia. Came out of the crate like a bullet and ran every moment of his life. We gave Cisco to a neighbor who took him back to rural Alabama and made a coon dog out of him, bet he lived a great life.

Buffy, the dog who lived with us the longest – 2 months to 17 years. A feisty female, loved long walks, was afraid of nothing, could jump 4 feet in the air and truly enjoyed life until hurt by a German Shepard. A grieving family put her to sleep a year later. Until moving again I could look out our townhouse window and see where her ashes were buried.

Then 15 years ago a family of three dogs came into my life along with a human they brought with them. Rojo- the smart laid back big dog, Blackie, the fraidy cat dog with many neuroses, but very lovable and finally Sweet Pea, the queen bee of the place, treated well by her brothers, but like human women probably the strongest of the lot . Oh yes Newton, brought home to be a companion for Sweet Pea when the other dogs had passed on . He was not that brilliant and had issues with weather but as sweet a dog as there ever was and loved Sweet Pea, giving them both second lives.

Eventually age caught up with him and Sweet was left along again. She weathered the loneliness like a human widow-had good days and bad until her bad hips and cancer took it’s toll and she exclaimed “I’m ready to go-don’t keep me any longer –it’s my time.   So today is the day she went—-May 18,2010. We will miss her greatly.

P.S.-I guess it’s been maybe 5 years since we got Sable, a Husky Shepard mix. He was an older dog, very willful and it took me a long time to bond with him. we are certainly bonded now but he is still willful and will not come if called therefore a leash is always present when we go outside. Diabetes is taking a toll on him but he is still moving forward and enjoyed life. He is a part of the family and will so until he passes.

Where would we be without such great partners in life?

I was sitting in a bar
A voice says, “excuse me,” – my chair is bumped
A walker; a little old lady attempts to make her way by
Silver hair, moving slowly but with a smile
I smile and move; others turn and look; stare
Are they thinking of their own mortality

Hands gnarled
Back stooped
Mind – sometimes good , sometimes not
Pain, ever-present pain
A look of wonderment as to why she is still here
She wants to go – has asked the Lord many times to go
And yet for some reason not known to us, is still here
We remember when we think about it
The days when we were held and she melted our incurable problems away

Reminds me of a Des Moines Rotary party
At 58, I’m definitely on the young side of the group
As is the case with this age, it’s five to three women versus men
In retirement, everything’s an issue – the sun is too hot; not enough wind; too much wind; pool to cold

South Texas at its best
Blue sky, slight breeze and 85 – humidity low
A luxury resort at 3:00 p.m., around the pool
Humanity at not its best or worst, but its average
A German tanned muscular skimpy suited guy
A woman, 60 plus cellulite and tan, earlier looking very royal in a pink gown and interesting hat – a wedding party, I believe
4 kids playing their version of water polo with a tennis ball

The Winona sails wrapped, anchor down – a pretty boat always moored
Who owns it – some wealthy industrialist, who flies in for a weekend–rarely
Or a movie star or singer with the same name
It’s fun to guess as we lie on the beach and look out to the water
A private beach, not for locals – a techno guarded gate and people; each with a story
The young couple, skin as white as the sand

When I was young I had no silver magic box-

Notes and mail and clocks and signs and most of all–memory-of things past-things present and future things to do ran my life.

If I needed knowledge-the Dewey Decimal System learned in college became invaluable.

I read books, I listened to learned men. I connected ideas, formed opinions and many times just stared at the clouds and became aware of new thoughts.

A spring morning – dew on the leaves – quiet, but with life all around

A winter’s day – a wet snow fallen like a blanket covering all we can see – nothing stirring but oh so beautiful

A morning view from Haleakala looking outward across the ocean

The tops of mountains with clouds surrounding

A hot July day looking across the western desert, the heat shimmering on the landscape