Thursday, March 22, 2012


It’s been hovering around me for a few weeks now. A feeling of blogger's burn-out. I also am revisiting my time and how I use it. I’m hitting the homestretch of publishing Martin Lost and Found, my second novel. And I need to get back to working on novel #3.

I love the friends I have made and the community I have discovered while maintaining this site, and I look forward to keeping in touch via email.

But, I need a break, and so I am going "on sabbatical."

I don't know when I will return, but while I'm away, I'll undoubtedly continue to gather stories and formulate opinions. (What writer doesn't crave fodder?)

My best wishes to everyone who has dropped by, commented, and fed my desire to share my writing with the world.

Please keep in touch.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Monday Reruns: God's Big Flashlight in the Sky

(original post-date: March 23, 2011)

It was extremely overcast in Los Angeles last weekend, so I was not able to see the Super Full Moon.

But I liked the idea of it, particularly given the current state of the world.

That Moon, brighter and bigger than usual, had a lot to shine on.

In Japan.

In Libya.

Where you are.

Where I am.

It’s impossible to address the current state of the world in one short essay. There are the actions of nature, which can be blamed on no one. There are the dangers of cultivating nuclear energy, which reflect taking calculated risks in an effort to meet the world’s complex needs. There is the chain reaction of unprecedented activism throughout the Middle East and North Africa – a man-made tsunami of social discontent.

… When I was in my 20’s, a boyfriend introduced me to the writings of Henry Miller, and I quickly devoured Tropic of Capricorn and Sexus. I used to joke that I’d read Miller with a dictionary in one hand and a vibrator in the other. Seriously – his erotic passages were as raw as they get. But that wasn’t the content that kept me reading. Miller’s writing climbs to amazing levels, eloquently reflecting his keen sense of the metaphysical, his passion for life and living, and his acknowledgment that the world is a precarious place, making every moment all the more valuable.

I have many favorite passages from both of those books, but the one that has remained in my head is this one, from Sexus:

Imagination is the voice of daring. If there is anything God-like about God it is that. He dared to imagine everything.

… I find the concept of God fascinating. I am, as they say on match dot com, “spiritual but not religious.” In fact, I’m so spiritual that I haven’t even told me what I believe. Bottom line is that I am utterly humbled by what I know for sure, and that is this: we’re all living on a big round thing that’s spinning so fast we don’t fall off.

Talk about imagination! Talk about daring! Anyway, acknowledging that little bit of proved science is pretty much all I can handle. If I think about it for more than a few minutes, I have to lie down.

And these days, it seems that this big round thing we’re all living on is really pissed off.

I don’t blame it.

And populations around the globe are upset by their societal circumstances.

I don’t blame them either.

Part of me thinks it’s damned remarkable we’ve come this far.

… I decided to dig into my old copy of Sexus to see what preceded that line that’s stayed with me. Interesting. Among other things, I love what it says about personal power:

The prisoner is not the one who has committed a crime, but the one who clings to his crime and lives it over and over. We are all guilty of crime, the great crime of not living life to the full. But we are all potentially free. We can stop thinking of what we have failed to do and do whatever lies within our power. What these powers that are in us may be no one has truly dared to imagine. That they are infinite we will realize the day we admit to ourselves that imagination is everything. Imagination is the voice of daring…

Yes, the powers within us are infinite, but only as long as we are alive.

That’s the catch; life is finite.

What we owe to the creative, imaginative, daring force that put us here is this: to embrace the blessing of every moment; to pursue our dreams; to do what is good.

That’s all we’ve got time for.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Mort: I Know You're Out There Somewhere – Part IV

A NOTE BEFORE READING: This is the final installment of a four-part story. To begin at the beginning, go here.


By the late summer of 1998, I was long-overdue for a two-week vacation. Kitty had died the year before, and at the time of my vacation departure, Mort was doing okay, excepting a runny eye. The vet had given me drops to put in his eye, but more importantly, my friend, Carolyn, had accepted the cat-sitting chore. This was a great relief. Inasmuch as Carolyn is a nurse and a cat person, she was unquestionably up to the task of tending a geriatric feline.

The eye drops, however, were not up to the task.

I got a call while I was in New York. Carolyn had taken Mort to the vet because his eye was bad. It had essentially exploded, and it would need to be removed. I was in my friend Tanya's apartment when I called the vet to follow up. And it was a mixed blessing to have one of Tanya's elderly cats sit on my lap as I made that call.

The doctor already had run the tests to see if Mort could go through the surgery, and the test results were phenomenal for a cat who was almost 18. With the exception of the cancer that was spreading through his head, his blood work described that of a two-year old.

I returned to L.A. on the upcoming Sunday, as planned. And first thing Monday morning, I went to the vet's to visit Mort. There he was in his Elizabethan collar – messy eye and all. I
spoke to him that morning through tears as the vet handed me kleenex. I thanked him for not
dying while I was away, and although I knew he might not survive the surgery, I told him I believed he would make it.

He did get through the surgery, and a few days later, Mort came home. He had one less eye, but he was still Mort. Ever-charming, as he always had been.

Regardless of those charms – his ability to smile as only he could; his willingness to purr whenever there was food in the offing; the impishly clever behavior that always reminded me of Artful Dodger – Mort's cancer grew. It grew through his head and into the remaining eye. But even as that eye became blind, he still continued to purr. He still continued to act as if the next meal were nirvana. He seemed, for a while, to have reasons to live.

But one night, I realized he was no longer happy. And I knew, then, that I had to let him go. I knew we would have to go to the vet's the next day. We just had to.


That last night with Mort, I looked at him across the room. He was sitting in the wing-back chair, and I was sitting in my usual perch on the couch. I was anticipating the next day's agenda, and I was sad. I had been saying good-bye to him all week, lying on the floor with him, crying as I told him how much I appreciated what he had brought to my life.

That last night with Mort, I looked at him across the room, and I suddenly realized that we might not make it to the next morning. I realized this because the space in Mort's face – the slit where his eye had been – was opening up. And it seemed to be opening up rather quickly.

And so I freaked (albeit quietly).

I stood up and began to prepare. Obviously, the stitches had been taken out too soon. (That's why his slit was breaking opened, I figured.) And while I hated the idea of taking him to an Emergency Place to die, I knew there were no other alternatives.

I had clung to him too long. This was the price. Mort would have to die among smells that were unfamiliar.

I went to the bathroom and then intended to get back to calling a local friend who might help me take Mort to the all-night vet.

But: an interesting thing happened (or didn't) in those fleeting moments. When I returned from the bathroom to Mort, when I walked over to him, I saw that the slit had not come undone. He was still intact. Riddled with cancer, but intact.

That night, he slept on my head. And the next morning, I took him to our vet.


A few weeks later, I had dinner with Carolyn, and I told her about that last night with Mort. Carolyn's experiences as a nurse, and particularly her experiences with death and dying, had exposed her to so many situations. She listened intently.

I told Carolyn about Mort's “slit” appearing to open up that night – the night before I took him in. I told her about my scrambling to take him to some emergency place and then realizing that I had hallucinated the change in his face.

“Katie,” she interrupted, “When that happened, and you saw the slit open up – did you see a bloody gash, or did you see an eye?”

“Oh my God!” I replied, realizing for the first time what had appeared that night. “I saw an eye!”


Some months later, Robin was back in L.A. We got together for dinner, and I told her about that last night with Mort.

With a loving smile, she said, “Well, that's just very typical of Mort, don't you think? It was his way of giving you that one last wink.

“But:” Robin added, with the playfulness that is such a strong part of her spirit, “Mort just gave it to you in reverse!”


And I believe he's out there still. Peeing where he shouldn't. Getting people to feed him.
Feeling no remorse for being happy.

Maybe he's curled up on that bench on 113th Street right now. Enjoying his own quiet spirit, but also knowing he's part of the traffic. Feeling that he's safe, but never completely out of danger.

Knowing… that a one-night stand can last for years.

Wherever Mort is, he's winking at me.

And I am winking back.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Monday Reruns: Winning Words

(original post-date: March 9, 2011)

In my Monday rerun, I mentioned playing Lotto, which I do.

But I don’t stop there.

I’m a gamer by nature, and I love investing a dollar or two into the possibility of getting more than a few in return.

Back in New York, when I worked at the burgers-in-a-basket joint, I started playing “the number.” By which I mean that, every day, I’d invest a dollar (50 cents straight/50 cents box) in the New York Lottery’s Daily Number drawing. My number was 142 (and no, I don’t remember why I chose that particular string).

If my number came in straight (i.e., in order), I’d get $250 for the 50-cent straight bet and another $40 for the box. If it came in out of order (e.g., 241), I’d just get the $40. I cashed in more than a few times, and I may well have remained ahead, if not even. Regardless, I kept playing. You see, that’s the thing about playing the number in a burger joint in Manhattan. Your co-workers play them, too. Not only that; they know your number. So, if it comes in and you didn’t play, well – you’ll never hear the end of it.

One day, I was feeling particularly light-hearted, so in addition to my 142, I decided to bet a dollar straight on a second number. I looked at the dollar in my hand, and read off the first three digits of its serial number: 160.

It came in.

$500 for me.

(Not bad, considering my rent was about $150 at the time.)

A few years later, when I had moved from waitressing to the Ford Foundation (a transfer only gamblers get to make), I was sharing my winning tales with a fellow secretary. She decided that the next time our bosses traveled together, we should play their flight numbers and ETAs and so forth (i.e., whatever 3-digit numbers showed up on their travel documents).

Sure enough, our bosses planned a trip within the month, and when another member of the support staff decided to join our investment in the lottery, the three of us pooled our resources ($4 each) and bet two dollars straight on six different numbers.

And guess what? One of them came in.

$1,000, split three ways.

Not only that, but because the gals I worked with decided I’d brought all the luck to the endeavor, they took me out to lunch.


These days, I really enjoy Crossword scratchers. What can I say – it’s the perfect marriage of my gaming ways and my love of words.

I’ve been playing them for several years now, and back in 2007, I was quite lucky just before my 50th birthday. I scratched off enough words to cash in my ticket for $1,000.

Not bad.

Because of my affection for words, though, I can be teased at times. Once, I got a Crossword scratcher that included the words “jackpot,” “fortune,” and “lucky.” Can you blame me for assuming this was the $20,000 winner?

It wasn’t. I don’t even think it was any kind of winner. But I loved the thrill of the scratch.

That’s the other appeal of the Crossword scratchers. They take time. The sense of hope can be prolonged for a bit.

So the other night, as I scratched my latest lottery purchase, I was again filled with that sense that this could be it. The ticket to a small fortune…

When the process was complete, I ‘d not become rich, but I also was not disappointed. I’d scratched off two words, which is the equivalent of breaking even.

Fine. I’ll pay it forward.

But then, I noticed the two words I had scratched:



Easy year.

I’ll take it.

In my opinion, an easy year would be worth all the Lotto jackpots combined.

For lest we forget, stress is also a verb.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mort: I Know You're Out There Somewhere – Part III

A NOTE BEFORE READING: This is the third installment of a four-part story. To begin at the beginning, go here.


Mort, Kitty, and I moved again in 1986, this time up to Inwood (“upstate Manhattan,” as Ben called it). Already planning our marriage, Ben and I decided to expedite the cohabitation, and so we established our household in the apartment that he had been renting on his own since he moved to New York two years before. We shared the apartment with the two cats and Brodie, Ben's docile German Shepherd, who had seen her prime and was aging gracefully.

There, and in subsequent apartments, Mort would continue to pee pretty much wherever he wanted. And no attempt at disciplining him would take hold. A few years down the line, after Ben and I had seen the Clint Eastwood movie for which he would get the Best Director Oscar, Ben made a comment.

“You know,” he said. “If they ever write a movie about Mort, it'll be called Forgiven.”

At the time of the comment, we were living in L.A., and our apartment in the Beverly Hills adjacent area became Mort's ticket to freedom. We let him roam at that point because we were on the first floor, because the building's front door was always open, and because I knew there was no way to stop him.

Even with his access to the outside, though, Mort would still play his games with other apartment-dwellers. If they were on the first floor, he'd enter their apartments through their windows, and then he'd do his stray-cat routine, listing and looking hungry. The young couple who lived across the hall from us were responsive to my requests. “Don't feed him,” I said. “He's just pretending, and he's plenty fed.”

(I could imagine the act he'd been playing for them. I had fallen for it myself. I remembered one of the early weeks of Mort's and my life together. He'd been limping. I made a mental note of the limp and decided that if he were still limping two days later, I'd take him to the vet. Two days later, he was still limping, but he had switched legs. He was a pro.)

In addition to working his ways with our across-the-hall L.A. neighbors, Mort also charmed Paulo, the elderly gentleman and professional violinist who lived upstairs. When we moved into the building and met Paulo, he had a dog. But, shortly after the ’92 riots, he had to give up his dog (they both had health issues), and so he was particularly responsive to Mort. They had meals together, Paulo and Mort. I recognized that this was good for Paulo, and so I didn't invade on the friendship. But I always would make sure that Mort “came home for bed,” and Paulo was agreeable to this rule.

One night, when I went upstairs to retrieve Mort, he was asleep and smiling in Paulo's violin case. I also got a whiff of room deodorizer. I didn't let it become my problem. Paulo could buy a kitty litter box if he wanted to, I reasoned. It was his decision.


While we were living in that building, Mort spent a good part of the day outside. And he'd always seem to hear me come home from work. I don't know if he recognized the sound or smell of the car or the radio station I frequented, but whenever I parked on the street, Mort would emerge from wherever he had been, run toward the driver's side door, and greet me home from the day. It was charming.

And it was actually kind of more charming that night when Paulo returned from the grocery store just as Mort and I were crossing the street together. Mort saw his friend and stopped, and Paulo, pulling grocery bags out of his trunk, said, “Tonight, Mort, we're having steaks!”

Paulo climbed the stairs with Mort fast behind him. I went into Ben's and my apartment.

“Ben,” I said, “Mort's just gone upstairs to have steaks with Paulo. We're having cereal for dinner. What's wrong with this picture?”


Mort, Kitty, Ben and I didn't leave Paulo because of the steaks. We left for a bigger apartment. That was 1993.

Our new place was a two-bedroom in the same Beverly Hills adjacent ‘hood. About seven blocks north, it was closer to the commercial drag of 3rd Street. It also was a second-floor unit.

Although our front door opened directly to the staircase that led to the great outdoors, Mort no longer demanded egress. He was in his early teens at that point, and I guess he was settling down. The only time I remember him going outside was when I would go down to the courtyard to sit in a lawn chair and read in the sun. He’d come along, and most often he would rest in the shade under my chair. Otherwise, indoors was fine with him.

But indoors was trickier for Ben and me, and in 1995, Mort, Kitty and I left Ben.

We moved to a second-floor apartment in Los Feliz – the apartment I still occupy today. And although Mort had had plenty of experience moving (this was our 8th apartment together), I guess he entered into these digs with a bit of anxiety. One morning, as I was rushing to get to my downtown job, I did a cat-count, as per my OCD rituals. Kitty was present, but Mort was nowhere for roll call.

Oh dear.

I checked the window screens, which seemed to be intact. But I also knew that Mort had a way of working screens that was near-magical. Realizing that his wanderlust may have returned, I made a beeline outdoors and checked the perimeter of the building. There was no sign of him, so I came back indoors.

Cats, of course, have an amazing capacity to find hiding places, and so I checked around, peering in every corner of every closet, in every corner of the apartment. Mort was nowhere to be seen.

Now on a schedule that would make me late for work, I had one final strategy. I would pull out the can opener and open a can of cat food. Surely the noise would bring him forth from whatever lair he had discovered in our new place.

As I began to open the drawer in which I kept the can opener, it seemed to resist in a strange way. It was heavier than usual. And that’s when I saw the tabby grey fur. Mort had gone into the cupboard below the drawer and then had accessed the drawer via its back end. A squeeze much tighter than imaginable to the human eye, but it was his mission, and he accomplished it.

For the next several days, and until he adjusted to our new home, I would entertain the same ritual before leaving for work. Finding Kitty on the couch or a chair, I’d pet her and say goodbye. Then, I’d go to the kitchen, open the drawer, and wish Mort a good day.

to be continued on March 15th.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Monday Reruns: Can You Hear Me Now?

(original post-date: March 2, 2011)

My former neighbor Debbi – of the younger-than-40 neighbor set – teased me once.

“That should be your mantra,” she said.

I knew she was referring to the three words I had just uttered during our telephone conversation. But I hadn’t realized, until she mentioned it, that Say that again? was something I said so frequently that it qualified as a mantra.

“I say that a lot?” I asked.

All the time.”

When our telephone conversation was over, I thought about what Deb had said. I thought about my apparent overuse of Say that again?, and then I thought about the mechanics of the telephone conversation we had just had. Deb was on her cell phone; I was on my land line. My needing to ask her to repeat what she had just said was a reflection of the technology, not of my hearing nor of my attention span.

When she had suggested my mantra, I asked Deb if other people didn’t do the same thing. (I.e., if other people didn’t occasionally make the request: say that again?) But Debbi was assured in her response. Among all the people with whom she spoke on the telephone, I was the only one who asked that statements be repeated.

As I continued to think about Deb’s and my telephone conversation, I became sadder.

But I wasn’t sad for me.

Rather, I felt sad for the under-40s, whose telephone conversations – cell phone to cell phone – are so regularly interrupted that they don’t even acknowledge it when they’ve missed something.

They don’t even think to inject, Say that again?

I’m guessing, too, that the people who don’t acknowledge missed dialogue are multi-tasking in the moment.

They could be driving or shopping.

Maybe they’re at a restaurant, having dinner with a friend.

Perhaps they are updating their Facebook page or glancing at the television.

They could be watching one of the 24/7 news networks.

They could be watching both the story and the crawl.

The story and the crawl…

In my opinion, we need to lose the crawl.

We need to get back to the story.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Mort: I Know You're Out There Somewhere – Part II

A NOTE BEFORE READING: This is the second installment of a four-part story. To begin at the beginning, go here.


My roommate was active in the tenants' group that formed when the building's owners were trying to convert it to a co-op. She was among those opposed to the plan, and they met often. One night, they were meeting in the living room of one of the apartments that was a few floors up and in an altogether different wing of the building.

At some point during the meeting, the living room curtains moved a bit. Mort made his entrance.

“That cat!” one person blurted out. “He is constantly coming into my apartment. I think he sprayed on my couch.”

“That cat!” another person chimed in. “He claws at my screens... He scared the hell out of me one night. I thought it was a burglar.”

“That cat!” said another. “Who does that cat belong to anyway?”

My roommate cowered for a moment or two, but ultimately copped to her knowledge – at least, she did so to one person. And when the meeting was adjourned, she returned to our apartment, and she brought with her that one person – one person who, I imagine, was among the louder complainers.

I was sitting in my room with my friend, John. We were just hanging out, chatting. Suddenly, my roommate pushed open my door and introduced me to our neighbor. Within moments, I was being read the riot act.

The complaining neighbor ticked off a list of Mort's trespassings. And when she was done, she said, “And if I ever see that cat again, I am going to call the landlord and make sure that no one in this building is allowed to have pets!” She stormed off, and my roommate didn't stick around for any debriefing.

Hmm, nice meeting you, too.

I looked at John, who was as dumbfounded as I. (John also was a big fan of Mort.) We reviewed what just happened. We reflected on the negative energy that had prevented a dialogue. We chilled for a bit.

Then, I got out the phone book, looked up the number of the pissed-off neighbor, and I gave her a call.

After I identified myself, I embarked on my unrehearsed line of reasoning. “You see,” I began, “that's not really my cat. I found him several months ago. He had a flea collar on, but no one responded to the signs I posted. And, frankly, I don't know what to do about him. I've put screens in my window, but he just pushes them away. He seems to want to be outdoors. So, I don't know what to do. May I offer to buy screens for you? I mean, I can imagine how disconcerting it must be to have a strange cat trying to get in your living room...”

The neighbor was beginning to soften. Somehow, my disconnecting myself from Mort was the key. She turned down my offer to buy her screens, though she clearly appreciated the gesture. And before we ended our conversation, she followed through on the brainstorming that my comments had suggested. “You know,” she said, “I have a brother who lives on Long Island. They have a nice farm. Maybe the cat would be happy there. Hmm, yea. I'll look into it.”

“I'd so appreciate that,” I said. “He clearly wants to be outside. There just doesn't seem to be anything I can do about it.”

“Yea,” she said, “I'll look into it.”

Thank you and goodnight.

I never heard from her again.


By late 1982, my interactions with Eric were heating up. When my roommate made it difficult for me to enjoy those developments in the apartment we shared on 108th Street, Robin gave me an out. Robin was, at that point, slowly reuniting with Doug. (They had split months before, and he had found an apartment on the East Side; now, she was slowly moving to his place – bobby pin by bobby pin). When I needed to relocate, she was ready to cop to her plans. She moved in with Doug, and I took her 110th Street place as a sublet. Kitty and Mort came with me (although Kitty, still pulling the Siamese shtick, probably would have preferred it if Mort had stayed behind.)

Though the space was a share, my room was quite large – and fabulously private. And although the beginning of my time there would be the time I lived with Eric, ultimately that apartment became the place where I would learn to bask in my privacy and make it productive. Never concerned that I had no direct access to a fire escape, I wrote a hell of a lot. It was in that apartment that I came to believe – genuinely – that I was a writer.

It also was in that apartment that Mort came to believe he had wings.


It was really over with Eric one night the following May. And after I saw him in the Chelsea area, where we had our final dialogue and I knew that was the end, I walked the four miles home. I walked through a thunderstorm that night, and when it had passed, and the New York night air had dried my clothes, I got an ice cream cone. By the time I got home, I was just finishing my ice cream, and I was feeling free. As I came into the apartment, I inadvertently let Kitty out into the hallway. I only realized I had done so when I heard her cries, a half hour later, on the other side of the apartment's front door.

I had been spacing out in my euphoria... in my release.

The next morning, when I got up to go to work, Kitty was still present, but there was something missing from the picture. Mort. He was nowhere to be seen. I wondered if he had also escaped the night before, and I silently berated myself for being so caught up in my own situation.

But it quickly became clear that he was not only not in the apartment, he was not in the building, and I grew more concerned. I looked out the screenless window. I looked down from my fourth floor apartment to see if there was a sign of him on the street below. No sign.

I ran downstairs, now fully committed to being late for work. I anxiously walked the front of the building, and somehow I found him. He was still within the building's confines, nestled under a flight of wrought-iron stairs (the kind that are used for fire escapes). The stairs led from the street level to the basement level. But I could not access them. A locked gate barred me from entering.

“Mort!” I cried, seeing him lying there, looking peaceful but dazed in the farthest corner of a space so distant from my grasp.

“You,” he cried back to me, bellowing as he had the first night I met him.

I immediately tracked down Caesar, the building's superintendent, and I brought him to the situation. Caesar retrieved a long-handled industrial broom and made his way down the private stairway. Then, as Mort and I winced together, Caesar swept Mort out of the corner where he had settled to die after his fall.

I ultimately took Mort to a place on the East Side where cats (and all other pets) get better medical treatment than humans will ever experience in this country. I left him there, and throughout the week, the prognosis was grim. Mort's tail was paralyzed, but that was not the worst news. He had a tremendous number of broken bones in his pelvic area, and the damage threatened all functioning in that region of his body.

I remember one moment that week, when I was taking lunch orders from customers in my station. Joanie, our amazingly loving manager, interrupted me. “The surgeon's on the phone,” she said. “They might need to do another operation.”

I excused myself and went into the kitchen, got on the phone and agreed to whatever. I understood the hospital's need to keep calling. Every step was an expense. But what did they think? That I had a cap? A cap at which point I would say no, the cat's not worth it?

I can't imagine putting a price tag on a cat.


Several days later, Mort was ready to come home. I went to the medical center, paid the bill, and was reunited with my sweet boy. Despite the cast on one of his back legs, the gash in one of his hips, and his general grogginess, he seemed fine. He was smiling.

Before we left, the woman on staff gave me instructions regarding how to administer medications and salve the still-opened hip wound. The woman also emphasized the concern they felt as to whether Mort would urinate regularly. She showed me how to check to make sure that his bladder wasn't too full. She demonstrated how to palpate the area and so discern a problem. I pretended to understand.

I then carried him out of the medical center just as I had carried him in: in my arms.

Without a cat carrier (I hadn't thought to buy one), it was a little dicey getting a cab, but finally, a driver allowed our fare. Mort sat on my lap as we rode home, and after several minutes, I felt my thigh getting warmer . And I knew why. “Oh Mort!,” I said quietly, leaning down and smiling at him. “You pee'd!”

And because my jeans had soaked up his accomplishment, the cabbie never knew.

Once again, Mort's actions created an unplanned load of laundry, but I was so happy to have him home. He was my buddy, my hunter, my survivor. We were clearly in for the long haul.

to be continued on March 8th