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… and your immediate family is?

January 14, 2011

Jude and I have kids and grandkids strewn from Virginia to California,

her sons in the Bay Area being the closest relatives.  So the family you’d

meet immediately when visiting us are … well, us and the pets.  You met

me yesterday.  This is the rest of the crew:

JUDE: the last in a series of wives.  We met on a locked psych unit.  I

like to tell people that she was the charge nurse when I took myself in

for an estimate.  Actually, I was there first, on night shift, when she

started working there.  I was attracted to her straightaway, but we

were both on the tail end of other relationships.  She was surprised

when I finally asked her out for the coffee date because she thought

I was gay — apparently because I was polite and watched my weight.

While we were hitting it off at IHOP, my mother was breaking her

hip in Kansas.  Just before I headed back east, I asked Jude if I could

call her while I helped Ma with her rehab.  We courted by phone.  We

fell in love on the phone.  We were on the phone when the second plane

hit the World Trade Center.  By then our souls were fused.

What I want you to understand most about her is that her beauty goes

all the way through.  She gives and gives, yet knows when she’s given

enough.  And she’s not cursed with perfection.  She has one serious

flaw: she cannot or will not acknowledge the huge difference between

watching a sporting event live on TV and watching a tape of it later.

I have explained this distinction to her at length and have had several

male friends corroborate my arguments.  Still she persists, knowing

full well that saying “you can watch it tomorrow” turns my ruddy cheeks

(all four of them) Arctic Circle white.  It’s tragic when a person of such

sweeping intelligence doesn’t grasp this particular immutable law.

Fortunately, her remarkable tolerance of my quirkiness mitigates this


ROAMEO: our alpha pet, a mix of pit bull and golden lab.  He’s a rescue

dog who rescued himself.  He wandered into the barn of a friend of Jude.

An escapee from a dog fighting ring, he had cuts on his head and chest.

Nearing age 14, his bursts of puppy energy are waning.  Roameo’s a good

soul, but trusts only Jude.  He’s bitten me twice because I broke his one

ground rule: any food on the ground is his.

SLINKEE: our beta pet with eyes on the throne.  Part collie, part retriever and I

like to think there was a wolf involved at some point.  Another rescue dog, picked

out at the shelter by Roameo.  I’ve never met a more exuberant being.  Everyone

is her best friend.  Her huge wagging tail cools us in the summer and chills us in

the winter.  She patrols our little valley with regal bearing.  I can’t imagine the

farm without her.

OLLIE: officially Oliver Purr Twist, a tabby who was literally dumped in Jude’s

lap during a home visit with a hospice client.  Ollie has no assignment in the

family constellation because he lives in an alternate universe.  He’s even in-

different to gravity.  To him, there’s no time that isn’t playtime, no object

that isn’t a toy.  A superb mouser, he also excels at the hunt outside, bringing

in birds and mammals ranging in size from shrews to minks.  We dare not go

barefoot in the house.

  1. January 14, 2011 5:32 pm

    Sent over by SouthKath to check out your new blog; I’m your neighbour. Well sorta; skip a province.
    Anyhoo, will add your url to my blogroll and be back to visit. Only where do I list you? Can’t go under Canucks, though you’re living in Canuckistan. Yankee Doodle Dandies it is, then, until you get your citizenship papers!! Welcome!

    • January 17, 2011 5:33 pm

      Thanks, neighbour. I’ve read your blog and think we have some common
      goals. And thanks for putting me on your blogroll, Kate. I shudder when
      Claire Martin gives the Sask. temps on The National.

  2. January 15, 2011 6:24 am

    It only makes sense that the two of you met on a locked psych unit!

    I have a question – How many practice wives did it take to get it right?

    • January 17, 2011 6:00 pm

      Kathy, I have two ex-wives, both of whom I stay in contact with. I’m elated to say that there are no ongoing legal proceedings between me and either of them that I’m aware of.

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