The Challenge of Remembrance

I’ve never been good with that long goodbye. I don’t hold any faith for another life beyond this one, and all I ever feel about the loss of a loved one is regret.

Today, the world I live in lost a tremendous soul. I didn’t know him that well, yet I knew him extremely well, through the teachings that were retained by his son, a man that I love as a brother. Honor, integrity, kindness; we don’t see these things pouring out of the average modern citizen but, if he could have found a way to dole it out, he might  have had enough to share with the whole world.

The question here is not really about how we remember a man, but rather how we carry on the legacy that he presented. When we think back on the life of another, memories are like classroom lecture, teaching us the history of how a man chose to live. Did he make mistakes? Assuredly. Did he do great things? It would depend on the scope of your question. Did he live his life in a way that merits incorporating those philosophies into our own life?

That is the real question to ask about a man.

The man I speak of invited me into his home, spoke to me as an equal, treated me like a son, and talked to me like a man; for no other reason than I being a friend to his son. Knowing little to nothing about me, he opened his arms, and allowed me to decide our relationship through my actions, choosing not to judge until he had seen me as I am, first hand.

When I was younger, this track was the quintessential jam for remembering your fallen brethren. Seemed fitting for my friend, who was a true O.G.

He was what people would call a “good Christian”. The way he lead his life, and the way he treated others, would seem to abide greatly by the teachings of his faith. I’ve met a vast number of “good Christians” in my day, who were none of the things this man was. Because of that, I simply wish to remember him as a good man.

I have absolutely zero notions about what my legacy will be when it’s my turn. We can all say that we try to do right by people but, in the end, it’s hard to tell whether or not our mistakes will out way our positive impact. For the man that we lost today I can say, at least for me, that I will only remember the good things he had to teach me.

I hope I can live up to his legacy of a simple life with honor, integrity, and kindness. For the people that believe he’ll be looking down at me to make sure, I can only hope that you’re right; he deserves an eternal life of happiness.

Another downcast favorite from my younger days. I’m so glad I don’t know everything now, like I did back then, otherwise what could I have learned from such a noble man.

A Smart Cat You Say? What the Deuce?

You will often hear from folks that cats don’t have distinct, individual personalities, that they all just lounge around and chase the occasional mouse. There’s a word for these people: dog person.

Known to many is the fact that I have three cats. Of the most common pets, felines are the type I am least allergic to, so they are a natural fit for me, a person that loves the feeling of unconditional love one can get from an animal. Also, I prefer cats for their reduced upkeep, a thing many people associate with cats having a higher level of intelligence than other pet animals. This, I submit, is woefully backwards.

I would submit that cats require the least amount of care, simply because they are the least intelligent of all pet animals. They run purely on breeding and instinct, the basics of their animal heritage, and survive exclusively upon those tiny little lessons, hidden within the walls of their DNA.

I'm gonna go ahead an submit that you won't catch a dog trying to eat a cactus.
I’m gonna go ahead an submit that you won’t catch a dog trying to eat a cactus.

Dogs, horses, and even pigs if that’s your thing, have a far greater ability to learn, and therefore rely less on their inherent instincts. Why is it that we see stray cats, coating our streets, like a blanket of traffic-dodging fur? Their closeness to their origins give them an advantage over other domesticated animals. Simply put, they can survive without us.

On the far other side of the spectrum, look at humans. We’re so evolved passed our ability to survive on instinct, we have to learn everything, or we simply can’t do it. Once we reach the age of consciousness, we can only do what we are taught, or can figure out. We can’t even give birth and manage children, without help and education, which is a basic need for our species’ survival.

So, yes, cats are the dumbest of all domestic animals, but they are still so very cute and cuddly. And, they are each their own cat, genetic similarities besides.

My eldest cat, Emcee, is not much of a traveler. When we bought the house back in 2007, he freaked out over the move, and spent several days behind a toilet, panting aggressively. I honestly thought he was going to have a heart attack, and spent those days hand feeding him tasty bits and bringing him water. One day, he just came out, and was fine with it all, but to this day, he still spends his napping time behind that toilet, a place he no doubt considers safe. It’s also peaceful and cool, free from the meddlesome paws of other felines.

We’ll never know why he did it, but just yesterday Emcee went into the room of my house guest, jumped onto his hide-a-bed couch, dropped a funky steamer on the man’s TV remote, and pranced out. Does every cat do that? I think not, thankfully.

I'll just hide here until this whole thing blows over.
I’ll just hide here until this whole thing blows over.

Although, my youngest, Mason, did pull off something similar. After weeks of sitting atop the dresser, I finally took all of my old work shirts out of the hamper, and put it back into use. In the time it took me to fill the basket with dirty laundry, go pick up the wife from work, and return home, Mason had jumped into the basket, left a freshly lain treat, and jumped out. We’ll never know why, but I had to take the basket out back and scrub it clean.

My only girl, Bagger, is usually the quiet, aristocratic kind of cat that many associate with the feline species. She rarely moves from the bed, only coming down to eat, generally, refuses calls to gain her attention, and moves about the house like some sort of royal princess. Yet, every year, when the weather begins to cool, she flips out, and spends days charging through the house in spurts, fishtailing across the hardwood floors, trying to get into every cabinet available, and jumping onto every perch and piece of furniture, as if it were her first day here.

All three of my little kitties have things that only they do. Their personalities are as varied as are the sounds of their meows. My theory above would suggest that, since they are all running on instinct, that they should be extremely similar in manner as well. Well, for that I have absolutely no explanation.

Complain at all hours, shed everywhere, scratch up the nice furniture, get fat, always want to be right in the middle of everything, and people still think you’re adorable. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to be a cat?