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A bright day awakens me this second day in September. I turn off the cassock filter, lower the bed, turn off the portable AC and plod into the bathroom for the morning ritual. It was empty, and I knew it would be. Annie always waited in there for her morning breakfast and would greet me as I came in to share her space with her. But I had steeled myself and knew she would not be there this morning. Still, the daylight was a bit bleaker, and I paused to let the moment wash over me.
And such is life. As it is for the pets I have loved, so it is with us humans. Dogs don’t sit around like I do and muse over the fate of their kind. Each day is each day, and unlike me, they greet the day as it comes. They don’t tick off the days as they pass. Some of the Holy writs mention that the animals know God, and they thank him for every act of kindness. Even in the meanest of circumstances, they never complain to God that life is unfair.
Do pets go to heaven? Frankly, I don’t know. The writs are silent on that point, but I have my doubts that they do. We have them while we have them, and when they are gone, they are gone. And Heaven mourns their passing just as we do.
Mankind suffered the same fate as animals after Adam’s poor choice. And I believe that is why God clothed Adam and Eve in animal skins. Adam became equal to the creatures he once ruled over. To the animals, Adam was the same as God. They didn’t know the difference between Adam and God when they looked upon Adam. But now Adam was like them, and they didn’t see God when they looked at him. He was just another animal to be feared. Man’s life was transferred to blood, and blood returned to the ground. And so did man, just as the animals.
But there is a deep and arcane mystery in all that, and it is a musing for another time.
Some of you may not want to read this. I am not going to gloss on about euthanasia or offer up any gentle platitudes concerning it.
Annie-Annie. Or Annie as we normally called her, came as a stray puppy who was abandoned and lived off night crawlers and bugs. She followed Linda and Sherry home one day while they were walking the neighborhood. She was emaciated, and I didn’t think she would live a week then. I was not for keeping her, but the women persisted and so we slowly brought her weight up. She had a lot of problems with her knees and had surgery on all of them. I think it was because she was thrown out of a car. People do that down here. Drive out into the country, throw the dog out and drive off.
Like most labs, she was stoic and seldom complained. Watching her these last few days when you wonder if it is time or not was hard. She can rest ok but moving is painful and slow. We just could not let her continue to suffer and made the decision to call the vet and make that last trip. It is almost time to bring the car around and load her as I write this, and I swallow hard, press my lips, and force myself to do what needs to be done. We already received more time with her than we originally thought we would.
Thanks to Sanchia and her generous giftings of CBD oil which I am convinced gave us those precious months, but it is time.
It is something I never get used to. My other dog owning friends talk about euthanasia as something peaceful and even beatiful. But for me it is anything but peaceful or beautiful. The vet comes in, the vet assistant holds the dog, the vet sprays the site, inserts the needle, and the shot is given, then everyone tries to gently lay the dog down as it relaxes from the lethal compound. Her ears went up, the doc listened till the heart stopped, seconds later she weakly tried to howl twice in reflex, but didn’t have the strength, and once again the doc checked her eyes for reflex. She was gone. It was over in ten long seconds. I killed her.
Yeah, it was necessary. It was time. But it wasn’t easy, and I don’t think it is supposed to be easy. I don’t feel like I was there for her. I don’t think she crossed over any rainbow bridges into that beautiful dog park in the sky.
4:35 PM Wednesday, September 1, 2021, I killed my beloved dog. Humanely.
“He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints.“
This is one of the more mysterious passages in the Book of Revelations. It was the first passage that captured me at the beginning of my walk of faith, and still calls to me almost fifty years later. It says of itself that it is a summation of everything for the saints. I chose the King James version because it is the most common version, and not necessarily the translation I think is the correct one.
It has been translated many different ways, and each translation believes it is closely adhering to the original. Even among Bible expositors that I admire there is much debate. When a passage of prophecy is obscured such as this one is, I believe that it points to a future time and is a prophecy for those people at that time. None the less, I ponder it. I mull over it. I have dreams of it.
One of the views is that it is best translated, “Those who lead others into captivity must go into captivity: Those who kill must be killed.” I do not reject this view entirely, but it is problematic to me. There is no doubt that the church today has little, and we hold fast to what little we have. We certainly do not labor with the power of the first century church. I attribute that lack of results to apostasy and unbelief. So in essence the church today is blind, and it leads the blind. And we all know the proverb about that.
Another view is translated, “Those who are destined for captivity will go into captivity. Those who are destined to die violently, will die violently”. I am more in accord to this view, but still not totally wed to it. Still, we have been compared to sheep being led to the slaughter. Slaughtering, no matter how humanely done, is a violent act.
So I wander from one pole to another, and read the news. I believe this mystery will be revealed in the days of most of my readers. The fulfillment of prophesy lies at our door. We are not living in blessed times ….
Woke at the crack of ten a.m. this morning. That is not normal for me, but my body seems to really appreciate the break. Bright day with bright blue skies with a low for us humidity of 47%. And it won’t go over 100° today. It has been a very mild summer by Texas standards.
Watching Annie, my black labrador-something-or-the-other and her battle with bone cancer in her front legs. Today, she is really struggling to get around, and I am reminded that I will eventually have to make that hard decision. But she still rests comfortably, and is still happy and alert, so as long as the overall quality of her life is good, I am spared that decision. Still, I must steel myself for the eventuality.
The eyes seem to be healing nicely after the cataract surgery, though it is maddening that one day I have very good vision, and blurry vision on other days. I was told to expect that, but it would probably settle down. I hope it does, because in six days I get fitted for specs. This day I am far sighted and gaze around a neighborhood that I had not watched grow. New outbuildings on some lots, tufts of weeds in lawns, all flood my eyes. I have really missed seeing. Now to get the hearing working again …
I shut my mouth on Afghanistan. What more can be said that isn’t? The newsfeeds are ¾ Afghanistan, and ¼ a chronicle of a world gone mad. So the days go by, marked by pots of Snookums perfect coffee.
The world has gone full tilt crazy. The question now becomes how does one keep sane and safe in an insane world? To be either a sheep or a wolf is two of the avenues that my religious colleagues have chosen, but either choice is fraught with peril. And if you are a person of faith, wearing the beast’s uniform or putting your hand and mind to his will cannot shield you from the insanity either. They will find you out.
Up to this point, I was a wolf, and studied the ways of arms and combat to protect my family. It seemed more noble to me to die in a hail of gunfire than to be beaten to death by the mob. But I am old and feeble now. I can still shoot reasonably well, and still train my mind in threat management (i.e., take out the major threat first), but the truth is that when the enemy come to harass me, I am toast. As the indignities of old age increase, I will become less and less of a threat. The day will come when I take to my bed, and my warrior days will be over. I will be a sheep.
I am reminded that my Master also became a sheep, and they did to him as they wished. Why would I think that I am fiercer than He? So, I ponder growing old. I will not march off bravely to war with my comrades anymore. I will not fiercely fight off Marxists from my front porch in the future. I am just an old man who remembers a time when he was proud of his government and proud of his country, even when the opposition was in power. Not so today. The government has become the enemy, or in the words of Pogo, we have met the enemy, and he is us.
I see no cure on the horizon. We are doomed to devolve from that bright and pure line the founders laid down for us. There are no visionaries around today with the founder’s dream. There are only detractors with slogans and demonstrations. There are too many. I cannot hold them back.
And so I return to the words of my Master. T’shuvah. I must turn back to the beginning. I must be safely hid within Him, and he must safely be hid within me, and he awaits me at the fork where I left him.
And this day I ponder that idea.
I expected her to show up, but still started a little when I caught her unblinking glare from atop the monitor.
I glared back at her
She glared back at me
I returned to my writing
I couldn’t concentrate on my writing, though because I can’t break free of the catastrophe in Afghanistan. The magnitude of events in Afghanistan are incomprehensible to me. The CIC’s decision in simply closing the door and leaving Afghanistan is incomprehensible to me. The media’s reaction to the CIC’s tragic decision is incomprehensible to me. And those glittering eyes at the top of the monitor were disconcerting.
Biden caved. The media caved. I caved.
There she sat balanced on the edge in her tatty wool pencil skirt. That skirt should have been retired when she retired. And that was back in ….
“Yeah. Go ahead and say it, hero. You aren’t looking so spiffy yourself. What has it been now? 31 years that you have been moldering? And get a damned haircut! You look like **** with your six hairs streaming down your neck!” She started in.
“I wasn’t going to say anything!” I shot back.
“Then don’t!” She said smugly, knowing she got the last shot.
I went on, vainly trying to stay ahead of her, “I am just so emptied at watching the events in Afghanistan. I remembered Saigon and how the House Democrats pushed that off on President Ford. Joe Biden was in on the loop when that went down. He was a 35-year-old Senator then. I was a 32-year-old bartender then and disillusioned with government that was left after the failure of my own President. Yeah, I had voted for Nixon, and that wasn’t the only shortcoming I had. I feel the same hopelessness with government now that I felt back then.”
“Well, write about that.” she replied
“I can’t. I am just as empty now as I was then.” I bleated
“Well, what can you write? On second thought, cancel that question!” She snarked.
Snark. Humorless humor invented by left wing comics to convey their smug opinions, as if they were beyond question. But I ignored the jibe and went on, “Coffee posts. Inane meanderings while I munch cookies and absorb strong bitter coffee. I am so sick of that level of writing.”
“It is writing, though. You aren’t exactly Ernest Hemmingway, you know.” She went on, sensing she had the upper hand.
I ignored that jibe too, and went on, “Yeah. It is. But I am beginning to see why comedians want to play villains. Treacle becomes very tiring, and I do have my dark side. I want to play around with the primal urges, but when I do, I scare the hell out of everyone.”
“You have your hidden site still. Do you remember the password?” She suggested a bit more seriously
“Yeah, but the truth is I am not someone who writes for themselves. I like being read and I need peoples’ reactions. Even negative ones. The secret site has sat unused for at least a decade or more now. I lead a very sedate lifestyle today.”
“You are a bit staid.” She replied, stroking her chin a bit too thoughtfully. “Perhaps you could just write coffee posts until you feel like doing something different.”
“I tried that. But when you are sipping coffee in a perfect world every morning, it is hard to punch it up into something interesting. I have a few fans who can tell me how many perfect pots of Snookums coffee I have helped empty over the years. (14,890) But most don’t care.”
“Maybe you can have a fantasy about the two of us!” she said brightly, changing one knee over the other and exposing the tops of her stockings again.
I averted my eyes again. My dark side isn’t that dark. “I think I’ll do a little challenge to write three or four 500 word pieces a week. I dunno. Maybe six weeks would be the end point?”
“I’ll be here” she said, recrossing knees.
“I was afraid of that” I said, again averting my eyes at the flash of white skin above the hose.
Of blessed memory
Ms. Becks of Beck’s Kitchen fame posted a brief bio of Madam Jeanne Louise Calment on facebook who was known as the longest living woman. In it she had several quotes such as “I’ve got only one wrinkle, and I’m sitting on it.“, “I’m in love with wine.“, and “I see badly, I hear badly, and I feel bad, but everything’s fine.“
Becky went on to say that Madam Calment reminded her of my Muse. Mz Muze. An imaginary woman who is a composite of several people I have known over a lifetime. She was
stolen appropriated from my favorite journalist and curmudgeon of all time, Gene Amole, of blessed memory. His muse was called the idea fairy and perched on his typewriter wearing a pink tutu. He would have conversations with her when the news cycle was slow and the Newspaper Editor was breathing down his neck at deadline.
Mz Muze is a dated bleach blond of indeterminate maturity. She normally wears a too small brownish woolen pencil skirt and a pink rayon blouse. She is a bit vain, but not stupid, and hates bullpucky. She is intensely interested in my writing, and tolerates my poor spelling and grammar, but is quick to point out clichéd and trite opinions that I have
stolen adopted. And she is the angel of death when I get lazy and cite talking points as my opinion.
When my hearing and eyesight started fading, I lost interest in reading and writing .. it was just too much work and yielded too little satisfaction. I am more of an essayist than a writer. Which means I hate editing my work. I want to sit down and let the wisdom flow and get very impatient if the verbiage goes nowhere. So Mz. Muze went into the dust bin of past icons.
Now that the cataracts are removed, and a whiz bang set of new hearing aids sit in their plastic box on the desktop, I have been feeling the urge to write. But all that consumes me now is the bumbling idiot we have asked to execute the laws of the land totally fails in every task we have given him and succeeds in tasks we haven’t given him. I am aghast. And I’ll just leave it there.
So, the suggestion that I resurrect Mz. Muze from the dust bin is a good one, though I expect she is going to be a bit peevish …
The decision to write every day fell, then the decision to write every other day followed. Now we are down to once a week. Maybe.
Two of my sisters are down from Colorado to visit. It is a bit sobering to think this could well be the last time we see each other. And time sure has put its mark on us. I see my dad’s face in both as they talk, and I suppose those genetic markers will continue for generations to come with their children, and their children’s children. I muse. And so, time goes, strewing its bits of DNA hither and yon.
My life, as insignificant as it is is still my life, and we retell stories of our life while sitting around the table. We tell the stories that shaped and molded us. Those bits will also echo down the generations. There was laughter. Sadness. Regrets. Resolve. And maybe even some remorse. But it was our life.
And I think of my passing …
Regrets? Yeah, I have a few. And while I am not all that enamored with the ride on Charon’s boat upon the River Styx, such is my fate. I can only hope to accept it with grace, and maybe a bit of stoicism.
I was thinking this morning while chomping on my Mini Shredded Wheats of what I wanted to do with this blog/journal/obsessive navel gazing, and where I wanted to go with it. It always reverts to the same banality. But then, maybe I just don’t really want to be deep at this stage of life. Chronicling the mundane appears to be my forte.
And truthfully, the days do seem to slip by me unnoticed. Perhaps that is why I try to capture vignettes of the passing landscape. My life seems to be hurrying to a destination and has grown weary of the traveling. My mind, however, wants to enjoy the trip and isn’t so crazy about the destination. Not that I fear it, if it arrives while my mind is clear.
I am close to swearing off politics again. Even God seems to reach a point where he just lets people do what they are going to do. While I daily encourage God to keep a hand in things, he has grown silent. God often uses the similarity of a father when illustrating his nature, and I do remember what life was like when he grew silent. It is not a good sign. Unhappy things are soon to follow
Bruce and Amber have taken on some of the responsibility for the upkeep of the house and yard. He has been running over the tall grass with The Beast, my aging Sears mower. He seems to be ok with it, and it doesn’t require a lot of physical strength to run it but does take a bit of stamina because it has no springs, and the yard is so big.
Two of my sisters are visiting next month, and some friends from Ohio will be spending some time with us as well. It is good to touch bases with family from time to time. Snooks has started preparing the house.
The eyes are progressing nicely, and the follow up is this week. It is good to see again. I need to get Blue Bucephalus, my aging Dodge mommy van, up and running again. I am looking forward to driving, but I think I will move back into it with measured caution. I am writing now without glasses, though things are a bit sharper with them I can see whole sentences at one glance. I haven’t started reading yet, but that is on the agenda.
So the ending of July is near, and August brings its promise. As I approach my daily goal of 500 words or so, I catch myself wanting to write a more detailed post, but the journal law proscribes the length. Mercifully for you!
Day two of the write everyday challenge
A near normal Texas summer day pushes in through my studio window this morning. To have everything so lush and green this late into the summer is very unusual.
Amber cut the life out of the poison ivy bush along the wall and left it to wither yesterday. Got to figure out a way to grab on to it and drag it out to the brush pile. Then apply copious amounts of plant poison along the foundation to kill it at the roots. I probably will let my eyes heal a bit more before starting on that.
And nothing but insanity on the newsfeeds. Former Senator Barbara “Call me Senator, General” Boxer was mugged for her cellphone in one of the few trendy parts of Oakland. A woke gymnast fails to deliver at the Olympics in Tokyo. A cop car is torched in Louisville, Colorado, and the House of Representatives is theater and theatrics.
But here in my little piece of paradise on the vast pampas of Central Texas, things are a little saner. We had a very wet spring and early summer, and the place is lush with grass and shrubbery. It always amazes me when this place springs to life after a drought.
I may start driving around the neighborhood a little just to get my driving skills up. I haven’t driven in well over a year now. Maybe even two years at this point. Not that I have anywhere to go. But I do like the independence.
And so the sun rises. Time for a bite of breakfast.