The Lives of Patriarchs and Cats

The Lives of Patriarchs and Cats

In the children’s message, the pastor, referencing the Patriarchs and the Matriarchs of the faith, said that they died more often then than we do now.

I wondered how often they died back then.

I think he meant that, in spite of the stories to the contrary, they died, Methuselah not withstanding, at a younger age on average than people do now.

However, I got to thinking about that.  Did they have the nine lives of a cat?

How many lives do we have today?

How many times have I died in the last sixty-six years and risen again?

Let’s see;

— Death #1: When I was really young, like six, a cousin’s mother died and I was so nervous when I saw him I said, “Your mother is alive; no, your mother is dead; no your mother is alive; no your mother is dead.” I just knew that was wrong and if I hadn’t died on the spot, my father would have killed me.

— Death #2: In the park when I was eight, Johnny and I kissed Kathy. The vote went to Johnny. Kathy said Johnny’s kiss was smooth and nice.  Mine was dry and rough.

— Death #3: In fifth grade, I sat, so lonely in a new school, sneezed and blew a fart in front of all the students I hardly knew. They laughed; I died.  The teacher added to the humiliation by trying to come to my rescue, “Students, it could happen to anyone.” Right.

— Death #4: In sixth grade, Karen said I stuck my hand up her blouse to get a feel.  She was developed beyond her age but what? How could I, even if I had wanted. I sat behind Karen.  Are you kidding?  The only breast I knew for sure was my mother’s and that had been a long time ago.

— Death #5: The principal hung me up on a clothes hook in his office for the alleged crime of sticking my hand up Karen’s blouse to feel, let’s get serious about this, her titties.  Finally, Karen said she made up the whole story. Thanks, Karen.

— Death #6: In seventh grade, I laughed really hard and Joanne said my breath smelled like fish.

— Death #7: Skipping high school for there are far, far too, too many deaths to count during that four year span of time, in the darkness of the theatre, as I leaned over my date to say something to my fraternity brother, my breath mint fell from my mouth. I had hoped it had dropped into the netherworld.  Moments later, the person with whom I was on a first and what would be the last date, asked, “Is this yours?”  And handed me the mint that fell directly into her palm.

— Death #8:  Then there was the time I was standing too close to a support post while smoking my pipe at a college dance. Someone said hi and I turned, knocking my pipe into the post and out of my mouth. Ashes flew all over my date’s dress. BMOC and Joe Cool, not.

— Death #9: Getting to the important stuff and therefore skipping decades, I arrive at the really, real death of my wife.  I really, really, seriously contemplated real death, too. But while I died metaphorically, I thank God I didn’t die for real as in suicide.

— Life #1:  I survived and I have a beautiful, wonderful wife who survived, too, and children and grandchildren, and friends and a whole lot for which to live.

And so, I have concluded, we have many more lives than the nine lives of the cat and, apparently, at least as many as the Patriarchs and Matriarchs and all the deaths they died and survived over their acts and those of all those rebellious covenant children.

And life and death go on.

The Same Coming and Going

The Same Coming and Going

If yesterday, today and tomorrow are now,

does that mean that what I hope for is here

only I just can’t see clearly…now?  Have the rains gone?

Were, are, will be Jesus and Albert buddies?

Seems they thought a lot alike then, now and in the future.

One can only hope for that which was, is and will be,

world without end. Amen.

Oh, on first, second and third thought,

if we are as gods, does that mean that in the beginning I was Bob

and that at the end when we shall meet and be met and be known by a name only known

then that that name will be Bob, too, only Bob spelled backwards, the same as forwards but different, too?

Biblical Time and Einstein Time, Faith and Science Reconciled

Biblical Time and Einstein Time, Faith and Science Reconciled

The pastor stated in his sermon introduction that St. Paul didn’t have any idea his letters would have an audience two thousand years later.

He said he just wrote for the benefit of those little congregations around Asia Minor.

Albert Einstein thought that the past the present and the future were all now.

If so, maybe St. Paul, while he paced back and forth in his cell in Rome anytime from 55 C.E. to now and sometime in the future, thought, thinks and will think, “I wonder if Bob did, does or will understand this?” He was thinking about 2031 C.E.

I thought back in 55 C.E. that I might get it by 2031 C.E.

Right now?  I’m not so sure what he did or will mean. I just was, am and will be wondering if they really called me Bob back then.

The Death of Gods

The Death of Gods

They canoed the Muskegon on a warm, sunny summer’s day —

Two families testing out the idea of being one.


They canoed trying to work through the death of one

Tribe’s God and the other tribe’s Goddess.


A river ride would be good the parents thought.  Everyone went along with the idea.

Swiftly running water might be good to navigate on the road to recovery.


It’s a metaphor, the parents, survivor from each tribe, said, encouraging each other.

Put a finger in; take a finger out; put a finger in and you shake it all about;


That’s what life is all about — the same but different river, the same but different life.

Let’s do the Hokey Pokey, take it slow, and turn our lives around. That’s what it’s all about.


One day they were one thing; the next something very different. Herman Hesse, trying to help, sat in the back seat of the van explaining the image of the river in Buddhist thought.


“We’ve got a picnic lunch and so we can stop along the way on a sandy bank.”

“Sure,” they said without much enthusiasm.


It isn’t an easy experience, the aftermath of the death of Gods.


The teens of one tribe full of adrenaline took off in their canoe with cooler aboard. “Why did we let them take the cooler?”  They paddled like Ottawa running from Ojibwa.


Young adults from the other tribe drifted here and there and didn’t care at all about paddling pretending to be nonchalant and carefree. Two canoes, two trips all the same.


The joke goes, “What’s the difference between a Hollander and a canoe?

A canoe tips.”  It did. They splashed each other and climbed back in.


The two parents from different tribes brought up the rear aching with each stroke.

It’s hard experiencing the death of Gods, even on a sunny, summer’s day on the Muskegon.

Sixty-six Years Ago I was Thrust into Life

Sixty-six Years Ago I was Thrust into Life

Sixty-six years ago I was thrust into life.

However old anyone is, he or she was thrust into life,

And it was a traumatic struggle.


Some believe Original Sin is a metaphor

For the birthing experience. It might be a blessed event

For mother and father but it’s hell for the kid.


The water breaks and I’m Falling from the watery Eden

Where breathing was never a problem. I dream of swimming

Underwater for hours at a time.


I bring my knees up to my chest and flip over and over

And salty water never goes up my nose.  I want to swim forever

In this warm, watery wonderland.


But I only had nine months in the saline paradise and I gasped for air.

Hands pulled my head and then legs from fetal to straight,

Wiped my eyes, poked into my mouth and up my nose.


I inhaled the cold, dry sterile air and watched bright, white light

That hurt my eyes.  “Please let me go to that briny,

Sweet smell and taste that familiar/dark/mysterious womb again.”


“Goin’ home, goin’ home, Lord, I’m goin’ home.”

I roll on my side, pull my knees up close to my chest and

Slide my hand between her thighs.

On Wishing He Had Said That From The Beginning

On Wishing He Had Said That From The Beginning

The glass too big for her hand slipped

From her grip and fell in slow motion

To the table striking on a tilt clipping

The bottom edge bouncing up and tumbling down

Onto the top edge settling after a rattle.

It didn’t break,


Milk spilled and splashed all over the plate of

Manwich sandwiches. She jumped back from the table

And screamed, “I didn’t mean it. I didn’t mean it.”


A piece of broken glass flew toward him

Slashing across his body, back and forth,

Deeper, deeper till it sliced through his left ventricle

And blood gushed over the milk and the Manwich sandwiches and

Splattered across his daughter’s summer dress and face.


“It’s okay. It’s only milk.”  He wished he had said that

From the beginning.

Love Potion #K9

Love Potion #K9.
Didn’t think we could understand dog talk, but I was wrong.

Do know Boomer wants something by his bark.

Knew to tell him, “Show me.” But he’s so deaf I need to strike a gong.

People and dogs almost go back to the Ark.


PBS’s Nova traced dog back to wolf.

Yep, Shiatsu, Pomeranian and Boomer, too.

How do I do this without a sub-woofer?

Wolves howl. Dogs bark and we know a Tango takes two.


There’s a high pitched whiny “um,” “um,” meaning “Gimmy, gimmy, gimmy, pull-ease”;

A low gutteral “ummh,” “ummh”: “My 95 year old bones really ache.”

A “ruff,” “ruff” – “I want to play, now, right now, right now. Don’t tease.”

And the one just for me, “Grrruh, Grruh, Grruh, Rrrrr,” and he doesn’t fake.


“Get the heck away from Chris, right now, Bob. She’s mine.”

But when I scratch behind his ears and he looks in my eyes, it’s Love Potion #K9.

Frustration with Indian Summer Golf

Frustration with Indian Summer Golf

Red, yellow, orange curl brown and brittle,

Bunched together and strewn around the ground,

Flying up and down and swirling a little,

Rendering my golf ball lost not found.


Kicking brittle twisted curls,

This way and that fly the crunchy browns.

Looking for any sign of sparkly pearls,

At last I glance that which was lost but found.


I head back to the cart and make myself a pledge,

To par the hole with a chip that is clean.

I spin back toward the ball, hand on the wedge.

I see a sea of brown and not an inch of green.


Oh where, oh where did that little ball go?

The wind came up the ball went under ground.

I reach in my pocket and what do you know?

There was the ball which was lost but found.


Come out, come out, you damned white spot;

Finding a ball in Indian Summer is never easy;

Sweet temptation doeth thicken the plot;

Would dropping the ball from my hand be so sleazy?


But just then the wind gives me a peek.

Hurry up, you old fogie.

The wedge comes down fast; the ball flies to the creek.

Farewell, sweet par; hello, double bogey.

A Great Run During Primetime

A Great Run During Primetime

While we watch a primetime rerun, my wife catches my eye in my recently ophthamologically affirmed peripheral vision. I can see clearly now.

She points to our old Chocolate Lab who lies on the big, stuffed, red chair and ottoman, half on the chair half on the ottoman.

In his dream he is running and sniffing along the Riley trails where we go to off road run and hike.

Run done, he swims in the little lake and climbs up on the bank and follows it around as we walk along — in and out of the water, in and out of the water.

He dives back in and plunges his head under water for what seems like forever. A lab, he is on the hunt.

More often than not he comes up with a water logged stick.  Gasping for air, he shakes his head back and forth proud of his catch. He brings us his prize and presents it as his present.  Good dog, Boomer, good dog; now drop it, drop it, drop it.

He twitches and jerks his limbs on the red chair and ottoman. He shakes off the water.

Suddenly he stops.

My wife quietly moves to the chair, kneels on the cushion and leans down.  She cups his head in her arms and caresses the old Chocolate. She kisses him on his floppy ear and then his snout.

He looks up into her eyes, surprised, raises his head slightly and then flops it back down on the cushion and drifts off to a quiet and peaceful sleep.

The hunt is done for now.

Fight On

Fight On

“Shtinky Bun Dinky Bun Dinks, Poofin’ Bun Woops, Schtubin’ Bun Poofers, Poofers Bun Doobers, Dirty Bun Shtinkers Bun Poofs,

You are the dirtiest of Dirty Bun Schtoops. There ain’t room in Dodge for da bod of us, you dirty boy.

Now, get out of town.”

Love names used to attack. It’s all in the tone.

Going deaf, he still hears the fighting words and perks up his ears.

He charges off the big red cushioned chair and ottoman and slides along the laminate in search of just the right soft baby or chew toy.

Graciously, he avoids lamps and chairs and tables upon which rests fine pottery

Back legs wobble in need of two anterior cruciate ligaments.  Where did those things go so long ago?

Rummaging through his basket, he grabs the big, floppy, stuffed Black Lab by the neck and shakes him back and forth ferociously.  He growls his readiness. He approaches the enemy, the guy who otherwise feeds him.

Fight on.

Little white beads race along the floor flying out of the Black Lab’s neck.

“Boomer!” she screams.

Fight off.