All Points Bulletin: Lost Cat

This morning came a knock on the door. (The neighbors don’t know how a doorbell works.) I answered it and found a little blond boy, aged seven or eight.

”You know over there?”  He pointed to the neighbor’s overgrown brush. “Have you seen…? If you see my neighbor’s black and brown cat, it is lost.”

We discuss how much of the cat is black and how much is brown. We also discuss the monsterous brown tiger that sits on my deck and pretends he owns my garden and the fluffy black cat that hides under the front azalea near my front door.

”What’s the cat’s name?” I ask.

”I don’t know. It has two letters.”

”If I see it, should I call someone?”

“I don’t know the number.”


Addendum: The cat’s name is LT and the second house on the left at the end of street has lost him. Also, his dog – a husky which struggled mightily to get past my legs and into the house – is 18 months old.


A Veterans Day Reminder


At the clinic that drew my blood, there was a basket of toy soldiers near the check-in. A sign said to take one and put it a place where seeing it would remind me to pray for the men and women who served us.

I asked the receptionist who came up with that clever idea. She didn’t know but agreed it was lovely.


Greatest Rummage Sale Ever

Today was the drop-off day for our church rummage sale. Greatest rummage sale ever! Nothing is tagged; people just bring items to the cashiers and make an offer.

Can someone lowball and sell an item later online for a much higher price? Sure, but who cares?

The needy get what they need, the Ladies Guild raises funds for the parish, and no one can tell the difference between the poor and the thrifty.

During my second drop-off (don’t judge me!), I told one of the ladies how great it was that there are no tags. She got a gleeful smile and told me that many years ago, another group ran the sale and would spend hours tagging everything. But when the Ladies Guild took it over and let the buyers set the prices, the sale doubled in earnings.

That’s including the final hours, when it’s two dollars a bag. She told me a very funny  story – complete with pantomime – about fitting an electric typewriter into a plastic grocery bag for an astonished customer.

If you’re wondering where I’ve been for months, I’ve been luxuriating in an exhilarating bath of stress. No, the Young Human Factory hasn’t laid me off or closed.  Yes, the Old Man and His Better Half (aka my parents) are alive and kicking. The brothers are fine and the sobrinos aren’t suffering from anything they didn’t bring on themselves.

It’s just a little slice of change here, a smidgeon of inconvenient timing there, a trio of groundpiggies under my shed, and voila! le stress. (Seriously, “stress” in French is “le stress”.  In Spanish we know that it needs another syllable and some emphasis because it’s just that bad: el estrés.)

The Triumph of Trash Day

I came home Friday after a long day at The Young Human Factory and saw something beautiful – an empty garbage can on my neighbor’s lawn. Oh, happy day! All but one garbage bag and various loose debris have been cleared.

I haven’t blogged about him because, frankly, it’s a depressing situation. The family next door let their house let the bank foreclose. The bank removed the wood stove and put on a new roof, then sold it fast and cheap. ( So fast that when my parents called the bank, it was already a done deal.)

For the past two years, the “new” neighbor has been letting it fall apart. Continue reading

Paid Forward!

My father (aka The Old Man) told me about something weird that happened to him last week – not once, but twice.

First, he was buying bread and, when he reached the cashier, she told him, “You bread was already paid for.” By the woman in front of him in line, a complete stranger.

Well, that was nice – but odd.

A few days later, he and my mother had lunch after her doctor’s appointment. There was a man nearby having lunch alone, maybe early 30s, neatly dressed but with tattoos covering his forearms. He didn’t talk to my parents, but he paid for their meal.

“The waitress said it’s a ‘Pay Up Front’,” said The Old Man.

“Pay it forward?” I suggested.

“That’s it!” he said. “That’s what the cashier said, too. Now I have to pay it forward.”

“That’ll be fun.”

“They made my week. And twice! It makes you feel really good about other people.”

I doubt the two kind strangers will read this, but I’d like to thank them, anyway. When I was a kid, my father used to warn us, “People are no damned good.” He never treated strangers like criminals, but he was never surprised by thievery and corruption. So it’s wonderful that two people spent their money and thoughts to do him a good turn.