keep me in your heart a while

Hold me in your thoughts
Take me to your dreams
Touch me as I fall into view
When the winter comes
Keep the fires lit
And I will be right next to you
— warren william zevon

Many years ago, Rick was obsessed with getting the red van’s odometer past 200,000 miles. Many caliche outings and Kerrville Folk Festivals later, it didn’t quite make it.

He would have turned 68 today, in what I always thought would be the beginning of his third act. Damn early deadlines.

Enjoy every sandwich, the prophet Zevon said. Bask in the bluebonnets, unleash the puns, have a second Dr Pepper. Because you never know.

Rick and the van sputtered out way too soon, but they had some fine adventures along the way. I hope they’re on a dusty road somewhere, searching for the marfa lights or a moon pie or a column. Surely heaven has spellcheck.

Happy birthday. I miss you.

your dear and worthless brother

I’m almost certain that’s not a purse.
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just another morning conversation, part 88

Mo to Cat: “How’s it going, Fluffbucket?”

Me to Mo: “Did you just call the cat Fluffbucket?”

Mo to me: “No. I said Fluffbudget. Fluffbucket isn’t a cat name.”

Cat to nobody in particular: “How did I get stuck with these Fluffbuckets?”

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another one gone and another one gone

Are you ready hey
are you ready for this?
Are you hanging
on the edge of your seat?
— the prophet john deacon

I am a Bad Person.

I see the poster after making the turn on the gumbo loop. Lost bird.

His name is Pretty Boy, which oddly enough is the nickname I had picked out for myself as a youngster until discovering I was homely. His owner is looking for him.

I glance around the park in that “hey, you never know” way. Wouldn’t it be grand to call the number and say, “hello, madam, I believe your bird is perched on my Salomon cap.”

And then.

The sign says the bird enjoys whistling “Another One Bites the Dust.”

Suddenly i realize what has been missing in my life, the empty spot deep in my soul that nothing will fill, not even a Medium Chocolate Frosty. OK, a Frosty would fill it, but that would require driving and talking to a stranger and trying to get the spoon out of the plastic wrapper. Clearly, stealing a bird would be much easier.

Sure, it’s unlikely. but this is bird park. Seems like a fine place for a bird on the run. And I had the first queen album before they became upper case Queen. I sometimes whistle “Keep Yourself Alive” from that album during bad stretches in runs. Clearly, the bird and I are kindred spirits.

Besides, the woman also calls the bird “Birdie.” how creative. Yes, our cat is named Baby Kat. What’s your point? What if this is Freddie Mercury reincarnated? If so, I hope he has forgotten “Bohemian Rhapsody.” He’s just a poor bird from a poor family. Mama mia.

I hope Pretty Boy finds his way home. I hope “home” is our spare bedroom. Yes, I’m ready for this. I’ll be hanging on the edge of my seat. I hope our “Bites the Dust” duet goes viral. I hope his mom doesn’t see it online.

I am a Bad Person.

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early morning in a bar that faces a giant car wash

All you need to know about Mo: a photo essay.

We asked our cat to hang on through Christmas. We’re now a few day away from the Fourth of July.

BK is increasingly fragile on her slow march toward the rainbow bridge. She has developed some new quirks, but the oddest is the way she drinks water. Like some guy in a Sheryl Crow sing, she doesn’t like to drink alone.

She stands by the water bowl and shrieks like a fire alarm until Mo sits next to her, putting her finger in the bowl while BK uses it to drink.

This is a problem when we try to sleep. The piercing yowl goes off periodically through the night in the next room. I work around it by pulling a pillow over my head, but Mo is a good mom.

So I was not surprised in the wee hours this morning to find them together in the living room. Mo was curled up on the floor, asleep on a lawn chair pad. The baby cat, by the soft glow of her new night light, was drinking contentedly next to her.

The true test of character is what you do when nobody’s watching, the old saying goes.

Or nobody but a happy cat.

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old boxes of corn flakes

Success is survival
and you toughed it out.
— the prophet michael martin murphey

In the end, they finished pretty much as I suspected they would: magnificently.

Mild Sauce, unassuming as she crossed, no big celebration, her emotions betrayed only by a little fist pump as she looked up at the clock. Oh, you know, she seemed to be saying. Just went for a run.

Moose, with a hilariously majestic bow, the curtain call on a jet lag weekend that led from Italy to the Met to the Auburn track. I wish I knew how to say bravo in Italian.

Why do people do this stuff? I think I knew the answer a long time ago, but I seem to have forgotten.

It would have been the accomplishment of a lifetime, if they hadn’t already had so many others.

“Success means having the courage, the determination, and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be,” Dr. Sheehan once said.

They have succeeded.

They’ll pack away their buckles, limp around like grannies for a while as they look back at the memory, and then gaze into the horizon for the next seemingly impossible dream. Why? Because they must. It’s what they do.

Oh, yeah, now I remember. That’s the answer.

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