Characters, Real and Imagined

Yesterday, the gardener, our daughter, and I were sitting on the patio of the front yard. Suddenly I saw a bobcat walking the top of the wall. It kept walking the wall until it dropped down onto the grass of our lawn !!!! and scratched on the tree as if it were a cat scratcher. Then he/she climbed the tree back up to the wall and kept going. Our jaws had dropped to our chests. Something seemed a bit off, so we pulled out my daughter’s video from last week. Keep in mind that the pix of the bobcat I’ve shared have been the backyard. Sure enough, that bobcat in the backyard is an adult with long legs and dominant black stripes. This bobcat was an adolescent, much like the one I saw by the bbq before. I don’t think there were any family jewels on the adult, so maybe it’s the mother and her baby or babies still hanging around our neighborhood. None of us had our phones outside with us so we couldn’t get a pic, but that baby was definitely not concerned with us at all.

***

I’m not sure where the week went! A lot of work, house repairs, and then add in the three physical therapy visits. I have two weeks left of my six weeks, but I am sort of hoping that we can add a once a week or something for awhile after that because my shoulder won’t be completely better by then. I am doing the exercises every single day that I don’t have PT, but it also needs the manipulation by the therapist.

***

Main Street Rag published another one of my poetry book reviews. This one was for Speaking Parts by Beth Ruscio. Here is the beginning of it to give you an idea. You need to purchase a copy of the magazine to read the whole thing :).  Here’s the link: CLICK HERE. There are some amazing writers featured in this issue, so if you are looking to buy a lit mag issue this month, make it this one!

 

***

Speaking of character actors, think of all the regular characters you’ve known in your life. My mother used to say “what a character” whenever she encountered someone eccentric or a little different, particularly someone with a big personality. Here’s a Mr. Big Personality I remember from my youth.  The only title this poem could have is “Walter.”

Walter stopped by my father’s store

on the first day of shore leave every year.

While he waited for my father to finish up,

Walter picked a wallet from a wooden tray

and handed me some cash to start the process

of spending banknotes stuffed in his pockets.

Walter was a sixteen-ton giant, his enormous chest

encased in a turtleneck, his skipper cap snug

on a head like a stone Colossus. I’d ask him

what happened to last year’s wallet, and he’d

guffaw with a joy that at twelve or sixteen

I could not imagine. All these decades

after Walter, I barely understand its origins.

Dad said Walter joined the merchant marines

after leaving the orphanage: what could he do?

His head twitched as if his inside and outside

were at odds. A woman I knew saw him out

one night; after buying drinks for everyone

and every drink for himself, he slammed the face

of a man into the sticky counter. She suggested

he looked confused, maybe he didn’t realize

his fingers were thicker than the broken nose.

I disregarded her story because my Walter

carried the luggage boxes up from storage

for which I earned a paycheck; he bought us

all lunch to eat in the back room, us peeking

out for customers and trying not to choke

when he had us giggling at his silly sailor jokes.

RIP Walter

***

I’ve been very slowly working on the memoir, my current WIP. And I try to work on my art journals every day, even if only for a few minutes. It’s more relaxing than naps, reading, or TV. That said I am watching the Vera series and wishing we got the Shetland series here. I saw one episode when I was in California, but there aren’t any stations airing it in Phoenix.

Here’s a little conversation between the gardener and me this week:

G: There’s a dead squirrel on the road!

Me: Oh no! Why do you tell me something like that?!

G: So you don’t trip on it.

Me: What? Did you make sure he’s not still alive?

G: [Laughing] Perry’s squirrel.

Then I see it: one of Perry’s stuffie squirrels is in the middle of the hallway, right before you get to the bathroom (one place I am always running to).

Make it a great week!

73 Comments

Filed under #AmWriting, Book Review, Cats and Other Animals, Poetry, Poetry book, Poetry Collection, Publishing, Writing

73 responses to “Characters, Real and Imagined

  1. Glad it was only a stuffie! Walter sounds like a basic kind person who maybe doesn’t tolerate booze well. As for wildlife, we have the tame stuff here. No mountain cats. I haven’t seen a coyote (which we sometimes get) in years.

    • Yeah, Walter would get very overstimulated when he had too much to drink. Not a good drunk. But he was a sweet person who was well liked by so many otherwise. And, of course, being a sailor, he didn’t get to drink while he was on the ship. I was wondering if coyotes would hurt our bobcats or the other way around. Then I read something scary: a bobcat can take down prey that weight EIGHT times what the bobcat does!!!!!

      • Many years ago, we had a coyote in the yard. I was hustling Jake (who was willing to take him on despite the fact that he would lose) into the house. The coyote just watched me. Didn’t approach or do anything threatening. I assumed that as long as you are peaceful they don’t go after people. We only had the one visit a few times for one summer.

  2. An entertaining post with a fine poem

  3. Thanks for your update, Leanne. Always refreshing to hear from you. I’m leaving soon for my FIRST trip in well over a year, going to San Diego to celebrate with my grandson. He’s turning 10, and at his age that’s a BIG DEAL.

  4. Sounds as if things are going well in your part of the world. I’m glad you are making progress with your shoulder. And your wildlife sightings are always thrilling. Ditto your creativity.
    Be well —
    wjk

    • Thank you so much! I asked the therapist today if I would need to keep coming when the next two weeks are up. Bottom line was I probably will have to and medicare will probably approve.

  5. Amy

    That’s a lot for one week—especially the bobcats! Wow! Love the Walter poem—he does sound like quite a character. And the gardener is quite a tease!

  6. So much in this post, Luanne. I hope your yard doesn’t become the teen bobcat hangout place!😀
    Walter does sound like such “a character.” Thanks for sharing.
    Good luck with your PT and projects.
    We watched several seasons of Vera. It’s enjoyable. We liked Shetland, too. I think we saw one or two seasons, but I think it moved to Brit Box.

  7. A very enjoyable start to the week.

  8. My dear woman, you packed a lot into this post 🙂 Not sure I’d be happy at the bobcats getting used to human company. Maybe as long as they stay at your place since you all do no worse then take pictures or photos 😉 Just other humans might be a problem. And here’s to more PT! I’ve always thought PT visits end too early. I loved your poem about Walter. My family did the same, called interesting or eccentric people “characters,” although often it sounded pejorative to me. My family was quite conformist (eye roll).

    • I think my mother’s comment came out of conformity, but also a little bit of begrudging admiration, knowing she could never have a personality like that. Oh, these bobcats, I just don’t know what to think. It seems so dangerous here for the people and pets. I hear you about the dangers to the bobcats, but the experts don’t want us to have them moved, so . . . . See you in class ;)!!!!

      • Luanne, I did a bit of Googling. Here’s a few reasons why relocating bobcats is not recommended:
        “Contrary to what many people think, relocating bobcats is neither a humane nor an effective way to solve bobcat problems. Trappers frequently charge high fees to trap and relocate bobcats living in urban areas. These animals often are lactating females. Days after the captured animal has been transported and released far away, homeowners may hear the cries of hungry orphans or smell the odor of dead animals.

        Even in cases where the animal isn’t a lactating female, relocating bobcats usually results in suffering and death. Relocated bobcats rarely survive more than two weeks in an unfamiliar territory. They’re unable to successfully compete for food and shelter with the existing population of wildlife in that area. Disoriented and seen as an invader, the relocated bobcat usually dies of starvation or from injuries inflicted by other wildlife. Also, many relocated bobcats get hit by cars while crossing unfamiliar roads in an attempt to return home.

        In addition to being inhumane, relocating bobcats also is ineffective. Nature hates a vacuum. If one bobcat is removed, another from the surrounding area soon takes its place. Even in urban areas, there is an unlimited supply of bobcats searching for unoccupied territory.” (https://www.911wildlife.com/animals/bobcat/).

        You might also find this website interesting and reassuring: https://blog.nature.org/science/2020/01/15/is-there-a-bobcat-in-your-backyard/. Apparently a bobcat, unless it has rabies, is unlikely to attack humans and they prefer not to tangle with any critter that can fight back like a cat or a dog.

        • This is all very interesting and similar to what the long message at the National Bobcat Rescue says. 80% of them don’t survive relocating. I guess this is why the lady i talked to at Southwest Wildlife said that coyotes are more of a problem for pets. If I believe all this, of course haha. Thank you so much, Marie!!! Oh, and the gardener talked to someone who works on yards (irrigation) all over the area and she said that bobcats are prevalent and in view all over the valley now, probably because so much of their territory has been disturbed by new development :(.

          • Oh, indeed. Whenever a new development goes up in our city, we see more wildlife in my neighborhood which still has some strips of woodland. While I’m happy we can coexist with most wildlife, I’m not happy that they are losing so much of their own territory. (And I get the irony. My neighborhood was developed in the early 80s in what used to be a cow pasture. Every so often I meet someone who recalls what it looked like before the development. My only solace is the house was already built.)

  9. Well if there’s going to be a squirrel on the road, a stuffed kind is the best kind. I remember my mother also saying someone was “quite a character” then kind of shrugging her shoulders in a *whatever* way. Funny I hadn’t thought of that saying in years.

    • Holy cow, your post about looking for new bloggers must have really hit home. I don’t even have time to read all those comments, but they are kind of calling to me. Obviously I couldn’t comment there are you closed the comments ;). So before I forget let me tell you my experience with reading new blogs. It doesn’t usually seem to go anywhere. I read from my reader and although I usually follow they often don’t show up again. But some of those negative responses you have had I have also experienced. You wonder why some people blog, don’t you? hah
      Yes, if a squirrel is going to be on a road it better be stuffed or it won’t stand much a chance! There are a lot of expressions my mother used to use that nobody says any more, but they are deeply engrained in me.

      • Luanne, I closed the comments on that post because after 10 days I couldn’t deal with the onslaught of spam that it generated. It was unwanted and surprised me. I’m sorry that you, a legitimate blogger, were shut out of the comment section, but pleased that you replied here.

        In answer to your question: You wonder why some people blog, don’t you? YES I DO! Especially after these last few months of focusing on new to me bloggers and feeling like *maybe* I shouldn’t have bothered to say anything. Talk about mixed messages. 🤷‍♀️

        Like you, my mother’s expressions float into my mind unannounced. I rather like it!

  10. Great story about the squirrel, Luanne. Congrats on your review being published. RIP Walter indeed.

  11. Wishing you a happy Mother’s Day!!! I hope your shoulder starts to feel better…day by day. I hope the shoulder does not stop you from enjoying your happy pursuits…like your journal! 🙂

    • Happy Mother’s Day to you, too, Linda! The shoulder doesn’t stop me from doing much except having a comfortable sleep 😉 and washing my back, but i will be so glad when it’s 100% better. I guess I’m going to need extra time with PT–found that out yesterday. xo

    • That description of your mom on “A Trellis of memories” is so gorgeous. I love your writing (and your photos). I posted a video on my instagram today of a bunny right outside my window. And our bunny looks like your bunny. So funny to think of the same bunnies all the way across the country. I assume yours is a cottontail?

  12. A very characterful poem Luanne. Hope the PT gives you some relief soon and congratulations on the review!

    • Characterful! I like that! Thanks, Andrea. The shoulder gets better and better but still has a way to go. The rotational movement are still giving lots of trouble :/. Hope you are well!

  13. The gardener is turning into a comedian. What’s up with that??
    Pretty sometimes chastises me with “this is one of those times there’s no demand for being funny.”
    Of course I always think it’s time for funny.
    Hope you get your extra time with therapy.
    Beware litte bobcat’s feet that come in like fog…
    Have a great week!

    • LOL he can be pretty funny. In fact, he used to be funnier than he is today. I think the cares of life rubbed out a bit of his humor, but he still can make me crack up, and he’s especially good especially when he has a new audience ;). Since your writing can be very humorous (when it’s not serious), I can “just hear” you at home! The therapist told me they will try to get me more time as I won’t have the rotational movements back yet. Even the young bobcats have big feet–at least big for cats as their legs are chubbier when they are young. I guess babies are called kittens, but the ones this intermediate age are cubs. You have a great week, also!

  14. Sounds as if you packed a lot into that week. When people ask me what I’ve been up to I have no answer. But I am about half way through reshaping my manuscript yet again. Like your memoir, these things take time.

    • I’m sure that you have done plenty! Your ms reshaping to begin with! And then all those little chores that we don’t even count because once we do them we are so glad they are done, at least for that day! Yes, you can’t rush revision. Maybe first drafts, but never revision.

  15. So proud of you for keeping up with your PT appointments, which I know is not easy! Not surprised that animals of all kinds feel safe in your company on your property! 🙂 Interesting story/poem! xo

    • And guess what? The PTs are planning to request more time with me because my rotational skills will not be up to snuff. I hope we can move it down to 1 or 2x week because 3 is just too much. Aw, such a sweet comment about animals. xoxo

  16. Congratulations on the publication of your review in Main Street Rag, Luanne! “Walter” really struck a chord with me. I remember a series of such “characters’ that came to the rectory when I was growing up. My dad attracted them. I always appreciated that he took delight in their eccentricities. I’m very glad to hear that work continues apace on the memoir. If you get to the point of wanting to publish excerpts, I think you would find a receptive audience at Woven Tale Press literary magazine.

    • Thank you, Liz! Oh, I can just see these guys coming to visit your dad! My dad never liked to stay in the store so he was always picking up the oddest characters (some of them much odder than Walter). One of them, a Greek guy, wanted to buy me to be his wife. When Henny Youngman, the comedian, came to town he palled around with my dad when he wasn’t performing.
      Thanks for your tip about Woven Tale!

  17. Writing truly can be the most liberating experience imaginable – when everything goes according to plan, of course…

  18. Watch out for your kitties with that bobcat hanging around!

  19. What a busy week!
    Perry’s squirrel…! Hahaha, he got you good!! xoxo

  20. There was a lot to take in here and I’m a bit dim witted these days. I can’t remember the top by the time I get to the bottom especially with so many wonderful comments. I happy to hear about another publication and that your shoulder is progressing. The bobcat would absolutely terrify me. They are relaxed and peaceful until something unsettles or frightens them. I hope they go back up in the hills soon.

  21. You go outside without your phones?!?
    😉

  22. Love the poem! My grandfather was in the Merchant Marines. I never met him. He’d come home and get my grandmother pregnant then complain that he didn’t want children. He gave away (to drunk friends) the nice things my grandmother had from her father. Once he came home to find my grandmother pregnant before he got to her. He left then and started a new family.

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