Do you ever look at the countries represented on this blog's Feed Burner or published comments? Readers come from all over the world to read this humble blog. I have tried to wish some of them happy holidays in their own language. I am so honored!
I have missed you my dear readers. I have been laid up with two abscessed molars that left me pretty much prostate in front of the dummy box hating myself for hours spent in mindlessness. But I did catch some well-made programs too.
Also, I haven't had a computer. I was using Ubuntu Linux installed on Mac and it is hacked and in sad shape too. I shall miss all my beautiful writing and art files stolen out from under me. I continue to be determined not to resent the hacker(s) because I can't afford the negativity. Perhaps Santa will bring me something cyber for Christmas.
I woke up this morning, Christmas Eve day, thinking for some reason as yet unknown to me legend of how the animals can talk on Christmas Eve. And we all know animals are better than we are. They aren't griping about moldy hay or mocking the new perm of the farmer's wife with their 24-hour gift of speech. I prefer to think they are using it to show love.
Let me tell you about the cat who lives with me--the formerly underground cat. My ex-brother-in-law lives alone and doesn't have many friends. He was suffering from bipolar disorder and depression and had to go into the hospital. He worried because he had no one to take care of his cat. My daughter asked me to take it even though I have asthma and am very allergic to cats. I felt for the man and the cat and agreed.
I have had plenty of pet cats over the years, but I never encountered anything like this misfit beast. To begin with, it had been with Pete since it was a kitten, about 12 years, and absolutely hated the idea of going mobile with a total stranger. As soon as it got here it ran and hid anywhere it could find, and, buddy, it found some good places. I found the animal in kitchen cabinets whose doors were shut. It could climb in through a half-open drawer. It was one sneaky beast. It absolutely refused all food and water and even milk for around a week and a half. I was worried it would die but figured the trauma of having fluids pumped into him at the Vet's would kill him before dehydration did. In desperation I did finally do something many cat lovers will hate me for, but I wasn't going to add having his cat die to Pete's emotional and situational problems when he got out of the hospital. I got out the turkey baster and squirted some water into its mouth. BTW, Pete had named it Baby. I hated calling a senior citizen cat, one would would hope self-respecting proud feline "Baby," and settled on "Cat."
Cat, a terrified underground, half-starved pitiful creature, finally settled on one hiding place and stayed under my bed 24/7 except for secretive runs to the kitchen where I kept his food, water and kitty litter. I figured he needed some daily change of scenery or he was going to get crazier than he was. Because the poor cat was quite insane. It wouldn't let me come near it to pet it or play with it. It didn't want to sit on a sunny windowsill or on a comfortable cushioned chair. It didn't meow and it didn't cry. I guessed it just sat in its self-inflicted prison for all those hours waiting for Pete.
My asthma got bad, my eyes itched and I could hardly breathe. I grew impatient for Pete to come and get his pet. He didn't return my phone calls to the hospital. Then after about two months, my daughter, Marjorie, happened to mention that Pete had been home for several weeks. I was mad. What was up with that? His best friend in the world, so the animal thought, had patiently waiting in his life of exile for his master's return and he was being so cavalier that he didn't rush right over and pick him up?
I gave old Petey a call the next day. Imagine my surprise when he told me that it was now MY cat. He didn't want the cat back. His sinuses were so much better and he was sleeping much better now. No, he was sure that he meant to give me the cat for good and I had accepted it. Sonja had told him I would take it.
My dear daughter admitted that she had said something to that effect because it looked like he might back out of going into the hospital and she was willing to say anything in my name. He reiterated in stronger language than I knew him to be capable of that it was my cat, my problem, and he didn't much care about the 12 years bond or the fact that "Baby" had lived in a self-made prison without food or water wasting away for love of him.
I was ticked. Now I would have to carry the guilt of moving this hapless, neurotic cat to a shelter and hope that he didn't suicide from the trauma. I decided to enlist my son's help. I would need someone with a car for sure.
But just a couple of weeks later, my 20-year-old son, Dundee, surprised me by suddenly moving out of his home with his step-mother for the past 13 years and coming over to tell me he was moving in because he had a falling out with step-mom. As I have written before in this space, I had lived alone for over 14 years, enjoyed my solitude and was getting somewhat set in my ways in my later years.
But I love my son and my heart went out to him. I cleared out of the one bedroom of my one-bedroom apartment, and he coincidentally inherited the crazy underground cat who lived under the bed and rarely came out.
A very strange thing began to happen. My son had recently had to give up his pet rabbit. Watching him pet or feed or play with his bunny was a joy because I got to see all his tenderness and gentleness. Giving it up to a no-kill animal shelter must have broke his heart. When I heard the news I worried that it was a sign that he had become cold, unfeeling and would now grow into a machine-man without a heart and no room in his life for bunnies.
But I needn't have feared. He was the same gentle, tender, funny, quirky and loving character he'd always been I discovered, only now I got to enjoy him at close range and learn his nuances and his inside jokes. I took the couch and he seemed to thrive in a space of his own, saying it was the nicest bedroom he'd ever had. He suffers from ADD and depression and I worry about him. He can and does sleep 18 hours a day. He doesn't work or go to school.
I respected his privacy and didn't intrude on his closed door. But one day the door was wide open and I saw a sight that almost had me speaking in tongues. There on the TOP of the bed, curled into one large fur and young man ball were Cat and Dundee snuggled into a comfy sleep mode. I honestly didn't believe that the cat would go near people--any people except Pete. But when I tiptoed closer for a better look, I could plainly hear this once written off (by me) used up, pitiful creature now on his back with legs spread in indolence and comfort purring strongly enough that his fur was moving as though in a breeze. He was one happy, contented cat.
My son named the cat Meatloaf because the orange tabby as a result of just eating and laying around, now resembled a big Wednesday night family dinner meatloaf when he could move himself away from Dundee* for a minute to go have a seat and wonder at his change in destiny. Meatloaf followed Dundee around the house, climbed up his leg or jumped on the couch to be petted by him, and, amazingly, even showed some sparks of life and wanted to play crouch and pounce or jump me fast with Dundee. I could not believe the burned out old cat had this second childhood in him.
I didn't measure up. Dundee was the Sun to his Earth. I was just some Uranus sort of incidentally there and apparently somehow okay because the master interacted with me. He let me pet him once or twice and then seemed to remember he had important state matters to attend to post haste. Dundee could pet him for hours. I wasn't even a substitute when my son went out for an evening. Meatloaf just laid on the top of the bed by himself and waited for his man.
So that's my Christmas story. We are never too old, inflexible or set in our ways to be transformed. Look at me: I once was put out if someone telephoned before noon or I didn't get to read. journal, pray and meditate for three hours after waking. Today I sleep in a pretzel shape on a barbed wire skinny couch, hope I can grab some caffeine before I need to talk and manage to catch solitude where I find it. Call me Buffalo Chicken Wings. I once trudged. Love has set me free and shown me how to be flexible, stretch my butterfly wings and learn to fly.
BTW, guess what God gave Dundee to give me on exactly Christmas Eve? Did you believe in the movie "The Miracle on 34th Street?" I did. I still believe in Santa too. My incredible, amazing and brilliant son came home today carting a Windows XP computer that a friend was just going to get rid of. He found all the accessories and cords and I'm back computing again. God is always on time. And, get this, last night, he brought home a newish microwave to replace my dying one that wouldn't hardly heat coffee any more. Another freebie from a recycling friend thanks to God.
God is good. My son is an awesome sunflower in my dandelion garden. My life is now a celebration of the a brand new journey and a rich original adventure.
Don't you just love this life so much you want to kiss it back sometimes?
*The names of my children have been changed. Marjorie and Dundee are made up. My daughter, with a beautiful name and her brother, another great family name, insisted on it.