Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Enjoying The Morning After

Yesterday I got great news, my sort of blood brother orange cat is healthy and resenting being cooped up.  My neighbor e-mailed me that the cat was fine, and the health department called later in the morning with a message containing the same information.  The exception is, the health department guy must have repeated "No Rabies" three or four times, just to make sure I heard it.  I heard it.  I didn't realize/admit to myself how tense I was until that news.  My stomach stopped trying to reject any food I ate, and I was able to breathe more easily.  The bite is healing and, though it still hurts at intervals, whatever other bacteria  the cat and I exchanged, I'll let my immune system handle.  For now, all is well.

We have completed the first leg of our trip home from Louisiana.  We are stopping at my sister-in-law's home in Birmingham for the night; a visit I always look forward to.  She is one of my all-time favorite people.  She and Carol are about finished preparing a terrific dinner, so it looks like about time to eat.  Tomorrow's a long ride into northern Virginia where we'll stay the night at a motel.  The next day will be lunch with daughter and then home.

More when we get back there.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

On the Road Again, and a Quarantined Cat

I write this from Bristol, Tennessee after 670+/- miles of driving on our way to Patterson, Louisiana.  Tomorrow we travel to Tuscaloosa, Alabama for dinner with my niece and mother-in-law.  I'll try to add an additional shot of Carol's former home post-tornado, tomorrow, but tonight let's talk about a town/city with an identity crisis.   Bristol straddles the border of Virginia and Tennessee.  One contiguous urban area with two distinct governments, one town divided by an arbitrary, invisible line on someone's map.  I guess it's no stranger than several other similar urban areas, except for the fact that both parts have the same name and, where other areas have a visible boundary, usually a river, this one seems completely arbitrary.

One lesson to be learned about Bristol, however, is that the bulk of the restaurants, hotels, etc. seem to be on the Virginia side.  Just a note to anyone who happens by and wants to spend a night.

Now about quarantined cats:  I believe I mentioned I was bitten by a neighbor's cat on Saturday, if I didn't mention it, there it is.  The neighbor hadn't kept the critter's shots up to date, and it apparently had an altercation with some unknown animal five days before it bit me, so we are waiting.  The Ulster County Health Department said to me that if the cat was rabid at the time I was bitten, in ten days it would be dead.  I wait now, until the twenty-fourth to see if I must undergo the rabies treatment.  I'm hoping my blood-brother cat lives a long and healthy life.  So far so good.  I'll keep you posted.  I feel a little bad for the cat, but not too bad.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Huge sculptures and Elvis stalking his tail

Elvis is my cat, actually he's one of three but he is my constant companion, so I call him mine.  Yeah I know, he made the choice so "I'm his human" is a more accurate designation, but why quibble.  Anyway, we're buds.  Now those of you who know cats have seen them chase their tails as if it were a toy, which it may be in catland.  It's usually nothing special, they notice it and pounce.  Not Elvis.  He sits and glances over his shoulder, sees the tail and waits, watching for it to move.  And move it does, a teasing flick of the tip followed by a more overt wag, then it goes still.  Elvis' other end, seeing the motion, tenses for a pounce but when the teasing tail stops, he waits.  Very soon, the tail-tip flicks, followed by the wag, and he finally attacks, only to go into contortions when it evades his grasp.   This is remarkably entertaining to me, and I assume to him, since it's a daily occurrence.

Enough about Elvis.

Carol and I went to Storm King Art Center today.  This is hundreds of acres of enormous outdoor sculptures, most in steel or stone, a huge outdoor museum.  Any attempt to describe it would be inadequate so here's the URL for the website. Storm King Art Center



It was a bone-chilling windy day today but we managed  to walk through a bit of the place before hopping the tram for a forty minute ride around.  If you are ever in the area, this is not to be missed.

This evening, as I sat out on my front steps, a neighbor's cat bit me, drawing blood.  Bummer.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Strangeness of Estrangement

I have two sons and two stepdaughters. I am close with both girls and my younger adopted son. I am estranged from my older son, the only offspring who carries my genes.

I don't know why, exactly.   He refused to visit on the weekends I was supposed to have the boys.  That carried all through his middle and high school years.  When he was out of school and working,  however, we visited each other occasionally, usually around some project one of us was engaged in, or a car to show off.

One day, ten, maybe twelve years ago, he came over to show me a Ford Mustang he and his best friend had set up to race in the infamous Cannonball Run (I think it was renamed, Rally Across America and legalized by then.) He mention that he was getting married.  Carol and I knew the girl, having lunched with them a few times, and we liked her.

"Great," I said. "When?"
"October 11th," he answered. "It's going to be a small wedding."

We said our goodbyes and he left. What I didn't know until later was that I was not invited. Those were his last words to me until his brother's fortieth birthday celebration in Louisiana this March. My attempts to communicate with him through the years yielded nothing. His wife sent notes apologizing, saying she couldn't understand why. She finally divorced him.

The strangeness, the curiosity question of this estrangement in my mind is, "Why then?" It would have been logical, though no less painful, for him to have done it immediately and totally when I left. Logical - funny how that word came up. The whole estrangement issue rose while watching a Star Trek Next Generation episode where Spock talked of being estranged from his father.

The reason we both ended up in Louisiana together was my younger son's gift from his wife, race car driving lessons. His best friend and my older son were also invited. At the end of the day, I photographed the three together. I took several shots, but he didn't look at me in any of them. The enclosed shot is as close as he got. It should be obvious that he's the one on the left.

While we were there I discovered that, in many ways I was proud of the man he'd become. Even though it hurt being so close to him physically and so terribly far away at the same time, I could see that he'd crafted a life that worked for him.   I wish it had included me.

I thought about just dumping this after I wrote it. Maybe I should have.