Hurricane Cat

We adopted our precious cat, Scout, after Hurricane Charley in 2004. We lived in Melbourne, Florida, at the time, and Scout along with her brother had been found wandering alone once the storm passed through our area. I wrote a story about her adoption, and it never fails to make me cry. That’s like laughing at one’s own joke, I suppose.

Scout is now around fourteen years old. She’s still playful and likes to play fetch. She sleeps more than she once did, but she’s still a sweet cat who loves to snuggle. Some day we’ll have to say goodbye to our Scout, but we hope we’ll be graced with her presence for many more years.

I found her snoozing on a fresh from the dryer towel one afternoon. That’s my girl.

Peace, people.

Close Encounters of the Arnold Palmer Kind

As I listened to one celebrity after another pay tribute to the recently deceased golfer, Arnold Palmer, yesterday afternoon, I recalled my own brief encounter with this legend of the links. 

For Christmas one year I’d purchased club house passes for Studly Doright and my dad to Arnie’s Bay Hill tournament in Orlando, FL. We lived in Melbourne, FL, at the time, so we were only an hour away from the course. I have to confess that when I purchased the tickets a part of me was secretly hoping that I’d get to attend at least one day of the tournament. As it happened I ended up using the passes more than Studly and Daddy did. 

Now, I’m not a golfer. I’m the furthest thing from a golfer anyone could possibly imagine. But I grew up watching the great golfers on television with my dad, and Arnold Palmer almost seemed like a member of the family. So much so that when he walked up beside me as I sat in the lower stands on the tenth hole at Bay Hill and took a banana from a bowl near the tee box that I just smiled and nodded and he smiled and winked back before teeing off.

It wasn’t until later that it hit me I’d been in the presence of greatness. In retrospect I wish I’d said something witty or golfy, but maybe, just maybe he thought to himself, “That was one cool chick. I should have offered her part of my banana.” We will never know. 

Well Tended Forest

I slipped outside last Sunday afternoon, too restless for a nap, too lazy to do laundry. Leaving the quiet air-conditioned comfort of our home for the heavy, humid Florida air I was temporarily sightless as my glasses fogged over. Mole-like, I stumbled up the driveway.

There was no purpose to my walk as I left the confines of Doright Manor and slowly trudged through the neighborhood, but I was struck as always by the abundance of foliage. A product of the semi-arid Texas panhandle where relatively few trees grow, I’m constantly amazed by the variety and the vigor of my surroundings. 

Studly Doright and I do not live in a prettily manicured housing development. When we moved to Tallahassee we steered clear of what I’ve come to call “cookie cutter” neighborhoods. I don’t mean that term to be derogatory. Indeed, our home in Melbourne, Florida, was in such an area, and we appreciated the continuity of architecture and the strict guidelines that kept the community pristine.

This time, though, we knew we’d most likely be settling into retirement in this home, and Studly wanted a separate garage for the storage and care of his motorcycles. Most home owners’ associations won’t approve that sort of project, so we opted for a more loosely governed neighborhood.

We still have a neighborhood covenant with strict building guidelines, though. For example, the brick, roof, and windows on the shop had to precisely match our home, and we (meaning Studly) had to pore over tons of paperwork until he had the request for building approval worded just right. 

And if the yards aren’t kept in a reasonably acceptable manner residents receive a nasty gram from the powers that be. So far we’ve managed to live up to our end of the bargain. So as I walked up our tree-shaded lane I noted one home in serious need of attention:

Several months back I stopped and spoke with the elderly woman who lived here. Her husband was in poor health and she was lonely. We visited for awhile and I gave her my address. I encouraged her to call if she needed me.

Well, not long after her husband passed away and her family placed her in a nursing home. My heart goes out to her. I can easily imagine Studly and me going through the same trials someday in the future.

I’m not so worried  about neighborhood aesthetics, except our next door neighbor is trying to sell her home, and the neglected one down the street probably doesn’t help her efforts.

Not much I can do, but I have offered my services to help spruce the place up if we get the go ahead. It’s a tough thing–no one wants to step on anyone else’s toes.

I snapped a few more photos of our quiet neighborhood as I walked and perspired under the Florida sun. Now I need a shower!

Peace, people!