Calling All Geezers

 

Hey, all you old buzzards out there! Concerned about climate change, but feel at a loss for what to do about it?

Let me introduce you to Elders Climate Action (https://eldersclimateaction.org), a nationwide network of senior citizens who want to have a part in influencing policy changes in our government regarding climate change.

As I have said on here before, I believe climate change is THE biggest issue we face today, because all the other issues mean nothing if none of us are here. And that’s where we’re headed, if we don’t make some large-scale changes ASAP to our climate policy.

Elders Climate Action is an aggregation of parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles united in doing everything we can (yes, we; I’m a very new member) to assure this planet is still inhabitable for future generations. You can be as active as you are able and willing, whether you get out in your community, or never leave your home, there’s something you can do.

I encourage all of you to check out their website and see if, like me, you decide Elders Climate Action is something you want to be part of. But, even if not, maybe what you see there will inspire you to take some action, big or small, in the fight against climate change.

The kids need us. Let’s do this for them. Thank you.

 

 

You Want Them Here Forever

 

One of the bad things about getting older is, everyone else gets older, too.

And the people you love the most, who are older than you, who have always been in your life…

…eventually pass away.

And an essential part of your life is now gone.

You feel deeply hurt and, for a while, a little disoriented.

Your constellation looks different now; there’s a star missing.

And it upsets your sense of order. You want all these precious people who have always been here, to always stay here, defying the inevitable, because you don’t know life without them, nor do you want to.

And you know this is how life is; it’s just the natural order of things. But you still hate it.

 

My wife lost an aunt this week, one that she knew and dearly loved all her life.

Her passing wasn’t that unexpected; she’d been in poor health. But of course, that doesn’t make losing her hurt any less.

I met her 37 years ago, back when my wife was my girlfriend, even before I met my future in-laws. She was a wonderful lady, a terrific sister, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. She loved her family wholeheartedly, and took care of them the best she could.

I know everyone who knew her will miss her. Like I said at the beginning, letting go of someone you love is always hard, and the older you get, the more letting go you have to do.

And memories, as much as they will sustain you in the future, feel woefully inadequate in the immediate sorrow and grief.

And that’s where family comes in. We cry on each other, hold each other up, affirm our love for each other and for the one who has left.

And we all just go on, considering ourselves so lucky for having known that special someone.

 

Love you, Geneva. You’re one of the best people I ever knew. Rest In Peace.

From Your Little Boy

 

You idiot! Why are you such an idiot?

How stupid can you get?

Shit, talkin’ to you is like talkin’ to a child, sometimes.

You cotton-pickin’, half-witted idiot!

 

I know that, over the course of our life together, you said many kind, loving words to me. I know you loved me.

I loved you, too. I admired you. I looked up to you. I wanted to be just like you.

And I hung on to every single word you said to me.

Including all the ones at the beginning of this post.

The ones that sliced deep into my heart. The ones that told me I was a failure in your eyes. The ones that have haunted me ever since, and I still struggle to forget.

As far as I’m concerned, I am an idiot.

And so, for the rest of your life, I couldn’t look at you without imagining you looking back at me and wondering how you ended up with such a stupid son.

 

I never told you this. I couldn’t.

I guess I thought it was something I had to just get over. Maybe it is.

But, dammit, it’s tough. Even with the memory of how good you were to me. (And you were.) Even with the memories of all the good times we had together. (And we did.)

You’ve been gone nineteen years, but even if you were here now, I probably still couldn’t tell this to you.

So, this is as close as I’ll ever get, I guess. Now that I’m nearly 60.

On some level, I forgive you. I know you were angry or frustrated when you spoke these words to me.

But, I could never convince myself you didn’t mean them, anyway.

Shouldn’t be so freakin’ sensitive, right? Dads say this $#!t to their sons all the time.

 

At the end of all this rambling, I guess all I really wanted to say is, I wish I had told you.

So you could apologize. And we could embrace. And it could be behind us. And everything would be okay.

But I guess I couldn’t do that right, either. Sorry.

 

Our Sweet Girls

 

 

Ten years ago this month, we brought these two adorable bundles of joy home from the animal shelter:

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Cute, right?

We don’t know their exact date of birth, but they were estimated to have arrived late March/early April. These two sisters. Lizzy and Izzy, as we so cleverly named them.

They looked so much alike, we put a drop of white-out on Izzy’s head, so we could tell who was who. (Not even noticing that Lizzy, as she does today, had more white hair in her little ears.)

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We’d only planned to adopt one cat, but when we learned these two were sisters…well, we just couldn’t break them up, you know?

And, like any two sisters, they have their own individual personalities, along with their times of getting along and not getting along.

Mostly, thank goodness, they get along.

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And they have given us so much joy in these ten years. We can’t imagine life without them.

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I wrote part of this while sitting on the couch with my feet propped up and Izzy lying comfortably between my legs. Life is good.

Izzy is definitely Daddy’s Girl. She runs to greet me when I get home from work, accompanied by her audio stream of “Meow”, which she can say about a hundred different ways. She’s probably the most eloquent “meower” I’ve ever met. I don’t know what all those meows mean, but I think they all have the same basic subtext: “Give me ATTENTION!”

Although she may be Daddy’s Girl, Izzy is Mama’s Sleeping Buddy. She’ll come get in bed with us at night and, though she may visit Dad for awhile, she eventually gravitates to Mom and lies down next to her, because she knows Mom will cover her in a blanket, so she can stay good and warm while she sleeps. Only thing is, if you ask Mom, she’ll say Izzy takes up too much space in the bed. She’s sweet, but she’s a bedhog.

And, in the morning, brother, that girl is ready to eat! (Izzy, I mean, not Mom. Well, maybe, Mom, too.) You had best get her some breakfast right away. Fortunately, she’s not picky; pretty much anything you set in front of her will do. But you will hear from her until she gets it.

Izzy always wants to be where we are: in bed with us at night, on the couch with us while we watch TV…whatever you’ve heard about cats being antisocial, she ain’t that.

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One thing about the couch, though: she gets up on top and lays there while she whips us in the head with her swishing tail. Gets a little annoying. Well, not when she does it to my wife, just me.

Then there’s Lizzy, Mama’s Baby. Our quiet girl. Relatively speaking, anyway. She has gotten a lot more vocal than she used to be, we’ve noticed. Used to just be a cute little peep now and then, but she’s, um, found her voice now.

She’s slightly bigger than Izzy, so we call Lizzy our “full-figured kitty.” Like I said before, she’s still got the white hair in her ears. And whiskers that go nearly to the floor. Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not much.

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Lizzy’s much choosier than Izzy about where you may pet her. Izzy’s basically an “anywhere, anytime” gal, but Lizzy prefers Mom’s closet. Sometimes Dad’s. No, I’m serious. I guess she wants privacy; she wants to feel like there’s no other cat but her in our world. They can both get pretty jealous of our attention.

And Lizzy never passes up an opportunity. When she hears one of us get up from the couch, that’s her cue to come from wherever she is in the house to the living room, where she will shamelessly try to guilt someone into taking her to the closet for some well-deserved petting. Shameless, I tell you!

Oh, and Lizzy and Izzy both love weekends; Mom and Dad are home, instead of at work all day, so they have more time to pet those kitties!! And these girls will take full advantage of that. Hey, can you blame them?

Well obviously, I could just go on about these two. They’re our precious babies, and we love them so much. We’re happy they are in our lives, and we sure hope they are a while longer.

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One last thing: Studies have shown the benefits for people with depression and anxiety of having a pet, and I can definitely vouch for the wonderful “kitty therapy” I’ve received from our girls. You listen to the blissful purring of a cat sometime, and tell me it doesn’t just make your heart melt.

Or, if it doesn’t, don’t tell me. I’d rather not know.

Do yourself a huge favor: Go to your local animal shelter and find somebody (cat, dog, whatever you choose) that’s so anxious to give you all the unconditional love he or she has to give. I guarantee, you’ll gain a new best friend.

Here, kitty, kitty, kitty…

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The Fab Four

 

Okay, show of hands: How many of you became an uncle or aunt before your eighth birthday?

My hand is up.

By virtue of my two brothers being so much older than me (so much older!), my first of three adorable nieces showed up in January of 1967. Yeah, I know, I’m old, too. The other girls showed up in 1970; one in March, the other in July. Last to arrive was the nephew, just before Christmas, 1971.

(Don’t tell any of the girls this, but by the time that boy came along, I was elated!)

I was taken with all of them from the start.

I’m not sharing any pictures here but, trust me, they all were cute.

And, I had fun with them. I guess it was good that I was close to their age, so I could match them in energy. Most of the time. We did plenty of running around, indoors and out. And, I always loved making them laugh, usually by being silly some way or other.

Of course, to hear them tell it, I did cruel and terrible things to them when they were little.

Believe all of it. I could be kind of a devil sometimes. Couldn’t help it. 😈

But, they were all sweet kids, and I enjoyed our time together. Naturally, it’s just in retrospect that I understand exactly how much they meant to me, then.

They still mean a lot to me, of course. They’re all adults now with their own families and obligations, so I almost never see them anymore, but I think of them, often.

And, I love them all very much.

You hear that, guys? Your old uncle loves you, like he always has.

I promise, I’ll try to do better at staying in touch, but always remember how special the four of you are to me. And always will be.

 

Oh, and that also goes for the two nieces and nephew on my wife’s side. Y’all are pretty darn special, too. I don’t know why the nephew’s always last to arrive, though; what is up with that?