Rituals Coalesce Into a Blur — But I’m Thankful

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Every morning, if I get up before my Beautiful Mystery Companion rises, I am greeted by a quartet of critters. Tater, an orange-and white galumph of a cat weighing in at close to 20 pounds, is perched at the top of the stairs, waiting for me to open the door. It stays closed during the night to keep critters downstairs. Otherwise, meowing and whimpering could commence about 4 a.m.

Once I open the door, Tater bounds down the stairs, the sound echoing off the wooden steps like a small pony in full gallop. His brother, Tot, and the two dogs, Sam and Rosie, join Tater at the foot of the stairs. All four mill about, circling like sharks as I wade through them to turn on the coffee maker.

I would like to believe they are happy to see me, but in reality I am seen as the Food and Outside Guy. I let the cats out to the adjoining shop and open the back door so they can eat and then venture outside to do enjoy their morning constitutional. My BMC expertly trained the cats to be housebroken when they were kittens, eliminating the stinky gross litter box as soon as practicable. I take the dogs outside, Sam as always on a leash. He is is an escape artist who keeps finding ways to bore beneath the deck and get out. Sam doesn’t really go anywhere other than prowl around our quiet cul-de-sac, but invariably returns covered in dirt and stinky. Rosie quickly does her business and comes inside. Both circle-dance in delight as I scoop food from the containers in the pantry.

Thirty seconds later, breakfast is over. Something awaited with such anticipation ends quickly. Rosie hops on the couch for a post-meal nap, while Sam lies with his head on his paws — which look like miniature Ugg boots — at the front door entrance. He is waiting for me to quit dawdling with the coffee and checking email, to put on my walking shoes and grab his leash off the hall tree. The morning ritual is not complete without a walk with Sam in the neighborhood.


These rituals coalesce into a blur at this stage in my life, as do the annual holidays we mark each year. Yesterday, we celebrated Thanksgiving with family, ate too much and watched a bit of football. All political topics wisely were avoided. A nap was required, blame falsely placed on the amino acid tryptophan that the bird contains. Now it is time to gear up for Christmas, to climb on the roof and hang lights. Soon we will be in a new year.

I try not to become alarmed at how quickly time passes. After all, there is nothing to be done for it, other than to be grateful for every day. I am thankful for good health and the ability to still be productive, to write and take photographs, or to settle in with a fascinating biography or a suspenseful novel on Sunday afternoons when rain lashes the windows. And to be able to still push my body several times a week at the CrossFit gym, in an effort to keep relatively fit for an old guy, to delay decrepitude as long as possible.


Over the past month, I have gotten to know two of the latest additions to the BMC’s side of the family. Technically, they are my grandniece and grandnephew by marriage. At ages four and two, they are finally old enough to remember who I am after a few minutes. They soon decide hanging out with this old guy is fun. Soon I’m helping Tennyson build a tower of blocks, and tossing Hasten into the air while he cackles over and again. It is sort of auditioning to be a grandfather. I enjoyed the experience.

Then there are their dogs, much larger beasts than our critters, who we wisely leave at home during these outings. Miley, Jaley, Annie, Copper and Moxie are all decent-sized dogs — labs, setters, cowdogs and such — who revel in milling about this crowd of folks, searching for tidbits dropped off kitchen counters. They are hanging out in a crowd of dog lovers, ready with a head rub and maybe even a piece of leftover ham.

It is a fine life, and I am grateful on this Thanksgiving evening. And blessed. I hope that you feel that way as well.

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