Life and Pets

Reflections …

on guilt. This is not a cry for reassurance nor a yelp for attention. I’m sitting here this morning thinking, just thinking.

I talked to you before about turning 64 when “yesterday” I was 30. Most days, I still feel thirty years old.

While reflecting on “groomer humour” as found in Facebook, and in a thread too circuitous to explain, I got to thinking about thin and fragile old skin, while looking at mine.

There was a time, long ago, that I would stroke my maternal grandmother’s hands, marvelling at her translucent skin and tracing the veins and feeling a profound love and wonderment for her. Though Nana outlived Mom by several years, she would not have been older than I am now. This is very sobering! I used to pet my Dad’s hands also, when I was a child, until I got too old (in my own mind) for such demonstrations of affection. And he would have been younger than Nana.

What do I feel guilty about? For one thing, being too haughty to think I’d ever be old by anyone’s standards. It didn’t actually occur to me. Though I’m not arrogant by nature, it seems like I operated with the belief that all the new ideologies were the best, even that all my learned elders didn’t know the current thinking on anything. Everyone was old-fashioned and even out-dated.

How disrespectful! I’m not even well educated compared to most of my older or late family members, or the rest of the population. Who did I think I was?

If I could have any of those loved ones back, I would hold their hands more, ask them more and listen more. Now that it’s too late, I think of how I didn’t show enough respect to Grandma Blain and her husband Bert, my mom, Nana, Myrtle, Myrtle’s mom, my dad, and numerous friends, aunts and uncles.

I would phone more often. Myrtle and Dad both complained that I didn’t call or write regularly or often enough. I could have done better.

So much for that burden of guilt. Aunt Janette told me twenty years ago that guilt is useless. I’ll have to choose to go with that, and resolve to do better. I hope I have twenty years to do better, because I still have elders.

On the other hand, I frequently marvel at the respect that is shown to me by “the young”. Whenever someone youngish listens to me with interest, I feel honoured. Maybe not everyone has the arrogance of youth that I had.

The other day, while shopping for groceries, I greeted the young butcher on the customers’ side of his meat counter. I always ask him how he is … he is a shy and pleasant dude with a warm smile … and he typically responds, “I’m good, and you?”. I remarked that I was glad to wake up alive again today, because I had had a little stroke.

Bless his heart, he answered quietly, “Glad you survived.” Funny how a youth can really seem to be putting himself out there by stating what, to some, could be obvious.

As I often say, while monopolizing a conversation, “I’ve digressed my own story.”

The population of guests at the Pet Hostel has dwindled to Pepper & Sunny, and Zeus, but there will be a small influx in the next couple of days. I received a reservation at 9 pm last night, “Can you babysit my son for a few days?” I played along, and sure enough, the man wants to leave his “wolf-dog” with us. The others with reservations are all familiar to us already.

Spring is coming slowly; the ground is still spongy, but I’m starting to get the gardening itch again. Today is beautiful and sunny, with a crisp breeze.

Love, Ann


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