Never Say Die

cat, nine livesWhen my friend calls me from her home in the northwest, she’s tearful and sad.

“What’s the matter?” I ask.

“It’s Honey,” ‘Pat’ explains. “She’s gone.”

I’m not surprised, but I try to sound shocked and sympathetic. Honey is much loved by Pat, yet she gives Honey the freedom she believes a cat should have. Living in a wooded area, Honey slinks out of the house at all hours of the day and night, but by dawn, she always returns home with a smirk and sometimes a feather or tiny tail in her mouth.

“Let and let live,” seems to be Honey and her keeper’s motto, and for 9 years Honey has lived long and hard.cat, nine lives

Pat adores the aging feline, who has fattened over the years, despite her roaming adventures.

But the morning of Pat’s call, Honey is not in her customary cushioned pillow on the sunny spot in the kitchen corner. Honey is missing.

I figure she’s probably used up her nine lives.

Pat discovers a service she’s heard about, but never believed existed.

Hunting dogs that find lost, injured, or killed cats.  

dogs, catsThe dogs arrive a day and a half after Honey has disappeared. They search Honey’s home for items to smell – her ball of string, her pillow, her bowl. And then they take off with a bark, their trainer and Pat trailing behind.

They all race through the wooded paths, up the hills, down, over and around, for a mile, the dogs barking, hot on a trail, the humans puffing and stopping now and then, hands on knees, praying they find nothing, but wishing the dogs would stop.

Suddenly, all three animals lay down on a wooded path, panting hard, staring straight ahead.

“What are they doing? Why’d they stop?” Pat asks, looking around for some sign of Honey.

“The death smell,” the dogs’ trainer explains.

“What?” Pat trembles at the words.

“My dogs stop when they catch the cat’s death smell. She’s gone. Probably coyote. You might find her carcass somewhere near this spot, but most likely, there’s not much left.”

My friend trudges home, disheartened, depressed, mourning the loss of her treasured kitty cat.

Two days later, a despondent Pat answers the doorbell – a neighbor who lives down the street standing in the doorway wearing a puzzled expression.

“You missing your cat?” the man asks.

“Yes! Why?” Pat replies.

“I just heard a frantic meow – some fuzzy animal is stuck underneath my garage.”

Pat runs the 200 yards to the rather slanted garage with a dirt hole underneath it. “Honey?”

A responding meow answers back.

A shovel and shouted encouragement soon brings Honey, minus death smell and a few pounds lighter, back into Pat’s arms.

When she calls me with the good news, I want to shout out the moral to this story.

But I don’t, because I’m not sure what it is.

What do you think it might be?

cat, dog, hunt

Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead

torpedo, age,make a differenceDo you remember what it was like to be 25?

Me neither.

Although some of my wonderful blog followers ARE around that magical age; most of you are … ahem… beyond it.

So let’s go back. What was it like? To be young and unfettered and feasting on the newness of adulthood and freedom, relationships, and a wide world open for exploration and delight.

Confusing.

For me, the wide world was confusing and frustrating. So much to do and learn, yet so confining for a woman in the late 1970s, married, no children, ready to make a ‘mark’ and yet wondering what mark to make.

I had a graduate degree in literature, but could only get hired as a secretary or a teacher (or billboard saleswoman, but that’s another story).  My family couldn’t figure out why I wasn’t pregnant yet and making a ‘life’ literally and figuratively.  I was, after all, 25!

Ahh, how things have changed.

Flash to this spring, when my marvelous nephew arrived to spend a little quality r & r time with his aunt (me), cousin, and brother here in the bay area. He turned 25 on this visit and his 25 is so different from mine.

X is involved with the D.C. political world (working for Senators from two states that begin with an “N” and end in an “A”). He lives in the city of large egos and bigger mouths, and despite his decency and decorum (or because of it) he is surviving.

No, more than that, he’s thriving and learning and MAKING A DIFFERENCE, something I strived to do at 25 but with much less success.

X has a few bumps and bruises, but he’s crashing down that wall between childhood and adulthood, between the naivety of  youth and the cynicism of experience, between wanting to do it all to realizing that what he can do, should be done with gusto and fervor and faith.

And truly, even at our age, whatever that may be, isn’t that how we want to live our life?

Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. Wow, that’s an old expression from the American Civil War (!), yet that’s what pops in my mind when I think of my nephew. At 25.

We should all exist like we’re 25, and damn the torpedoes of ‘life.’

Full speed ahead.

25, age, D.C., make a difference