Catch You Later Pasta…

An item came across my facebook newsfeed a few months ago. I don’t remember who posted it and I must admit I didn’t give it much thought at the time. I’m thinking about it now.

I’ll have to paraphrase because I can’t remember exactly how it went but it suggested that when we pass on, and if you believe we go to heaven, the first greeters will be all the pets you shared a life with. I’d really like to believe that.

In my case it would be a pretty big crowd. From a mouse (not-too-creatively named ‘Mouse’) to a Boxer named ‘Mitzi’ to a Bunny named ‘Pasta’. Another rabbit…a big white Flemish Giant called (again, not-too-creatively) ‘Whitey’. Other dogs called ‘Lucky’, ‘Happy’, ‘Schultz’ and a couple and can’t remember. Cats…‘Hogan’, ‘Klink’, ‘Louie’, ‘Sunshine’, ‘Nicholas Thomas’ and again many names I can’t remember but I’m sure they’ll come back to me should I see them again. A Salamander who remained unnamed, hamsters, guinea pigs, and fish. So many.

I wish they’d all lived longer than me but we’d need a much bigger house.

I’m an emotional basket case when it comes to saying goodbye to pets. To those who say “it’s only a cat…or a rabbit”…well, I feel sorry for you. A pet, indeed any animal, is a life. Life is precious and special no matter what shape or form it is. To share that spark is also special. Pets don’t care if you’re funny-looking or overweight or in a bad mood or sad. They just want to be part of your life, to do what they do best. To make you feel good…and loved. And what do they want in return? Pretty much the same thing plus a full food dish.

It’s never easy losing a pet. Pasta initially went to live with my grandson on his birthday. Her name came when he asked my daughter to pass the bunny. Pasta bunny. Then their landlord decided that rabbits weren’t allowed in the building and she needed a new home. I would have nothing to do with her going to a stranger so she came into our lives. She has provided so much love and spark over the last nine years. She would sit with me and watch movies or hockey games, all the time snuggling against me and licking my hand. I grew incredibly fond of the furball.

Pasta 2013 001.jpgShe was the first pet that passed on in my arms. I felt the end was near and I picked her up and sat on the couch stroking her and chatting like we always did. She burrowed deep into my arms and after a few minutes I felt her twitch. She gave three last defiant kicks then lay still. At that instant it was like the life had gone out of me as well. I can’t explain the feeling. Sharing that last moment with her felt somehow right yet my eyes filled and my body trembled. I wonder how she felt. Did my being there holding her make it easier? I like to think it did. She was where she loved to be.

She had a good life. She received and gave so much love. But it’s still not easy. Feeding the two cats but not seeing Pasta run to me for her suppertime sprig of parsley feels so wrong. Hearing her at her water bottle in the middle of the night or having her come for her evening yogurt treat are little things that I will miss for a long time. I will miss the softness of her fur and the warmth of her against me and the little chatter noises she made when I skritched behind her ears.

For such a little furball she’s left a helluva big empty space here.

Mike Grant is the author of three novels. “White Wolf Moon”, “Barking at Yesterday’s Moon”, and “Fergus”. Visit his Amazon page to find out more.

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ANOTHER SUMMER…

Another summer has gone. This wasn’t a particularly good one for me. My neck of the woods was strangled by smoke from forest fires all around the province and while we weren’t affected by the fires proper the smoke from all of them seemed to gather in our valley. On the air quality index, (1 being low health risk to 10 being high risk) we had more days in the ‘+ very high’ category than I care to remember. At one point we had a reading of +49. The air was virtually unbreathable, meaning that at my age and with my health status a mask was in order.

I know where this summer went. It’s the other 69 I’m wondering about.

I remember during my youth those hot summer days and warm summer nights seemed to go on forever but I didn’t really think about it at the time. I lived in the moment. Whether it was a road trip to California or a European summer with time spent on the Riviera and Monte Carlo or simple days at the local lake I didn’t give much thought to how precious those times were.

70 summers. It seems like a lot until you really think about it. It’s then that you realize how quickly those seasons have passed. Some family, friends, and acquaintances that shared those times with me have also passed. It’s life, I guess.

If I am to be philosophical about all of this I suppose I should be thankful that I have 70 summers to remember. Many people will never have that opportunity.

If I were the village elder I would be telling my children to cherish the moment for soon it will be gone. Create fond memories and appreciate the world around you. Listen to the birdsong, feel the warm winds upon you and value the essence that lives within you.

Time is fleeting and unless you reach out and grab those moments they will fly by faster than the crimson leaves on the brisk autumn winds.

Mike Grant, author: White Wolf Moon/Barking at Yesterday’s Moon

TRUMP….(sorry, I just have to)

I give up.

I generally avoid discussing politics either here or on social media but this time around I decided to test my toe in that turbulent torrent of turbidity. There’s an obvious target of course but writing about Donald Trump is akin to composing an unfinished symphony. I have drafted three posts but before I get them to the polishing stage Mr. Trump throws another sack of fodder into the trough. Honestly, it’s just too damn repetitive, silly, and depressing to pursue with any amount of enthusiasm. Add ‘easy’ to that list.

Coupled with President T’s confusing rhetoric is the influx of ‘fake’ news sites. These digital Enquirers pander to those who don’t have the wherewithal to spend a few moments researching real news. If you go by what you hear, even from some members of your own online circle, every news organization is fake or politically motivated. Even here in Canada news outlets from the CBC and CTV/ATV to my local paper present fake news or are bought and paid for by political parties…according to my catalogue of online friends. After careful consideration I have come to the conclusion that if the media doesn’t mate with your narrative then it is the media that is wrong.

Opinions are fine. I love opinions. That’s what this blog is. An opinion.

Opinions, however, are not always totally factual. An op-ed may be based on black and white fact but can easily be colored by the simple inclusion of the author’s opinion and sometimes separating the two can be difficult. That’s why we have to research.

As far as Mr. Trump is concerned I have to resort to my first line…I give up.

Following is the original blog I started two weeks ago. It’s a bit of a rant but I haven’t done that for a while so….

I tend to judge stories and comments based on presentation as much as content. If someone makes a point clearly and it sounds like they know what they’re talking about I’ll pay attention and often research what they have said. When it comes to Trump I usually don’t waste the time checking. When he uses phrases like “The CIA ‘are’…” I can forgive him. Fundamental English doesn’t build golden vanity towers I guess. When my grandchildren can spell better than he…well, I suppose I could blame the education system although I suspect he just didn’t pay attention. When he points to his head and says “Believe me, I’m really smart”…who is he trying to convince? If he was smart he would hire a communications secretary to look after his social media and try to keep him on track (or quiet) when there are cameras around. When he has to tweet that he is in charge…again, who is he trying to convince?

He has had many opportunities to correct the impression he made during the campaign. Instead he has taken every opportunity to show the world how self-obsessed he is. At a wall commemorating CIA members who gave the ultimate sacrifice once again he managed to make it all about himself. In his own words on video or Twitter he likened the same agency to Nazis yet it was ‘the enemy’, that ‘corrupt media’, that twisted his words. You said it Donald…on the internet and on camera. It doesn’t disappear because you delete or refute it.

When he can make a statement in a live, uncut interview then turn around and deny saying it, blaming the ‘dishonest media’ for taking something out of context or misinterpreting what he had to say, I know it’s only bull residue. When he can ‘tweet’ in the morning then six hours later unequivocally state that he never said it then, to my mind, there is a problem.

But, like it or not, Trump is the president. It’s as simple as that. I respect the position as I respect the position of Prime Minister of Canada. It’s unfortunate that the office and the person holding that office become one and the same. I’ve distantly dabbled in American politics since Eisenhower (yes, I’m that old) and I can’t recall any president disrespecting the position as much as Trump has. I’m sure presidents from JFK to Obama (and especially Nixon) dropped a few f-bombs in the privacy of the White House but they never did it live on national television.

Yet he was elected. What does this say about those who voted for him? That’s a question I won’t even try to answer. I don’t know what’s going to happen over the next four years and all those people tossing their comments around don’t know either. We can speculate but all the speculation in the world won’t alter what destiny has in store for not only America but the world.

He and his family all proudly state that Trump is the voice of the ‘common man’, Donald Jr. even commenting that his father was more blue-collar than the ‘average’ man. They’ve stepped on enough common men on their way up that I suppose they know what they’re talking about. Trump Sr. also declares that he’s building a cabinet of folks who understand ‘the common man’. Uh huh. Other than Mad Dog I’m not sure any of these people have ever experienced a ‘common’ lifestyle. To paraphrase…he drained the swamp and now he’s up to his ass in new alligators.

Some say ‘give him a chance…it’s early’. To a degree I agree although he was elected in November 2016. He’s had enough time to start acting presidential…to show respect for the office and the people. He’s had plenty of time to take off the campaign mask and show the kind of president he will be but he hasn’t…or has he?

If Trump can set up a government as transparent as he is then it could be an interesting four years but I doubt this will happen. He’s already backtracking on his promises. That bright light across America that you can see from space is the lightbulb coming on in the collective mind of his supporters.