The Nature of Love


So, my friends.  We always think, when we hear the word love, of romantic love.  And don’t get me wrong, romantic love is a wonderful thing if it is part of your life.  But it is wrong thinking to think that romantic love is what should always be top of mind when you think of “love”.

My cats love me, in their own peculiar way.  They need to be close a lot of the time when I am home because I often am not.  They groom me and bring me various live and half-eaten prey to show how much they love me.  Dogs, fortunately, do not bring prey but theirs is a most unconditional form of love.  They do not care what you do or when, they just love you.  Cats are a little pickier but always come around.

And religion, ritual, spiritual practices tell me that G-d loves me.  The best version of any of these tells me that my concept of a G-d should be loving and caring and not punitive despite some of the biblical allegories that might drive you to believe otherwise.  I choose to believe that if there is a power greater than myself, it is caring; that the universe means me no harm.  Bad things happen, they are part of life not the vengeful creations of a punishing G-d.

Despite my own insecurities and self-doubt, I know today that my friends love me.  Now there are the women.  They are the friends whose love is wrapped in sympathy, empathy and hard truth.  They are the friends that fill my house with laughter when we play cards and whose paths, in many cases, parallel my own.  They are the friends that understand what my life is like at the present time and that is  a priceless gift.  Then there are the men.  I have learned that it is indeed possible to have really stalwart and steady male friends without the need for tension, chemistry or romance.  They have brought me meals, listened to me rant about the shortcomings of certain other men in my life.  They show up to fix things or reach things I can’t.  They refer me to services I need as a single homeowner.  They have my back all the time and don’t laugh at me as much as the women do.  They are the friends that just show up and care whether they understand or not. And men and women alike, I love them back.

And there is my son, with whom I am friends.  He is the friend that showed up every day to clean the pool and take out my trash when I couldn’t.  He is the friend that knows me inside out and doesn’t take any bullshit answers. He is the friend that thinks I should have romantic love in my life. He is the friend that shares his fears and understands mine.  We have come to this wonderful adult place.  And of course, he is my baby and I love him more than I will ever love anyone!

So, romantic love – it would be nice. But I have, as you can see, lots of love in my life; and it is good.

Things Your Dogs Want You To Know #1 ~ Borax, Vacuums and Responsibility

We had a series of wonderful dogs when you were growing up. All rescued, don’t forget that.

Max was your yellow lab. When your father and I were first together we used to visit a farm where they raised sheep and bred yellow labrador retrievers. Max was to be their new breeding sire, he was young and beautiful. We played with him every time we went and we told them we wanted a puppy from the first litter. Just before they were ready, it turned out that the new bitch had hip dysplasia and they decided it was time to retire from breeding. We got a call. They wanted Max to have a good home with loving people and they offered him to us!

Max was amazing, although at first he didn’t care for being left during the day. He ate my good work shoes to show me, and the remote control to show daddy how he felt about it. When you were born he slept in our room, as he had always done. From the day you moved to your bedroom he slept in your room until the day he died; he guarded you like gold. Max had a heart the size of Montana, he was run over several times, almost died, but kept on going.

Then there was Quincy, the adopted golden retriever. The story is complicated but the short version is that Grandma Joan got him after her ex moved to the house at the end of the driveway. Since Quincy didn’t know him, he would bark like a crazy dog every time he came out of the house. He offered to pay Quincy’s airfare if Grandma would send him to us, which she did. Quincy was a good dog. His best day in New Mexico was the day the the chicken fell out of the sky… but that’s a story for another day.

And then there was Jericho the border collie, who was really your dog. After Quincy died and our Aussie puppy was stolen, Bob and Dolly brought him home from Texas for you. Of course they didn’t ask us. They invited us over for dinner and after dinner they said, oh, we have a surprise. They let him out and he ran into your arms and it was all over. His white patches were red from being tied out in the Texas red clay and he was a sorry sight. You gave him his “bible” name because it was what you were doing in Sunday school! And he was beautiful when we cleaned him up. Jericho was afraid of a lot, especially that “vacuum monster”, but he was the most loving dog that ever was.

From the time you were just a little bit your job in the house was to feed the dogs. Responsibility for other living things can begin at a very young age. Even a toddler can scoop out a cup of kibble and put it in a bowl. Of course you ate your fair share (yuck). This remains your job, although now it’s just cats. Your pets taught you some important lessons over the years.

Loyalty, devotion and fun, these are all things that a dog brings to your life. They are good things to have whether you have a dog or not. You can learn more about unconditional love from a dog than almost anywhere else in life. The vacuum won’t hurt you even if it makes a big noise, that is a good thing to know, especially once you live alone. Borax laundry booster kills fleas, also very good to know. Sprinkle it on carpets and mattresses, it kills most any kind of bugs (not bedbugs, unfortunately). And it doesn’t hurt the other living things. Most important, remember that your pets are not able to feed themselves, just as your babies wont be. Your daddy told you when you were just a tyke, feed the helpless first, then yourself. Your dog needs you for survival and trusts you with his life, the least you can do is feed him on time.

Things Miss Kitty Wants You To Know #1 ~ Looks Can Be Deceiving

Ok, says Miss Kitty, we have been together for fifteen of your almost eighteen years. As a result, I think I know you pretty well and I have some things to say.

Just because I am skinny doesn’t mean I’m not tough. As you know, I was gone for three weeks. And you (all of you) assumed I was dead. Because I am old, and because I was gone. But I surprised you… I came back. If I could talk I would tell you where I was, but then I might have to kill you. Suffice it to say that it wasn’t pretty. And you know I came back skin and bones, but I’m okay.

I have had a pretty interesting life as cat lives go. I was abandoned by my mother when I was four weeks old and was rescued by a crazy old public defender. He put us in a big box and brought us to the office where your mom found me. I was different even then. All my brothers and sisters were plain old tabby cats. I, on the other hand, am a delicate, beautiful long-haired, blue-eyed chocolate point siamese.
As you know yourself, being different isn’t easy.

Since then I have been a cossetted house pet, a wild New England barn cat and lots of things in between. In New Mexico I ran with horses and patrolled the perimeter, watching the house for enemies. In Florida I walked the golf course with your mom and dad and, of course, the dogs. By the way, I have trained several dogs in my life. I have always chosen what I wanted to be. Sometimes a cuddly house cat, sometimes living almost exclusively outdoors. I have reinvented myself many times. But how I chose to be was always my choice.

I was a beautiful cat, even when I lived in the barn. With my beautiful long fur, nobody would have guessed I was a barn cat. I have always been skittish, but I can be very loyal. I look very very delicate but I have grown old despite my many adventures. I might have come home really skinny but I am tough. So remember, don’t judge a book by its cover, often there is much more to people than meets the eye; you never know who you might be talking to.