Saturday, 9 April 2016


Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.  (Anatole France)

An adorable ball of fluff, he arrived home in a basket to the oohs, ahhhs and love of us all.

Named for a character in William Shakespeare's Richard lll, a play directed by Christopher at U of W, Clarence matured and actually developed the carriage of a duke. Tall, slender and statuesque, he ruled his household and owned his master's heart. From PhD days at Western through a move to Newfoundland and the ensuing ten plus years, he was Christopher's loyal buddy, his constant companion, and a true character, loved by all who met him.

Regal? Yes, but don't be fooled; Clarence was full of piss and vinegar.  With his feline buddy safely stowed in an airline-approved cat carrier, Christopher awaited his Air Canada flight to St. John's when a dog, released by its owner from its cage, began to sniff Clarence's carrier. You don't sniff a duke! A warning cat hiss and startled dog yelp were followed by the extraordinary site of a dog fleeing down the lounge corridor with a rolling cat carrier, powered inside by an infuriated Clarence, in hot pursuit. The indignant dog owner scolded Christopher who could only helplessly laugh at his cat's moxie.

Idiosyncrasies? Doesn't every royal duke have some? Perhaps it was due to St. John's chilling, damp Atlantic winds, but Clarence was addicted to sunbeams. No matter the season, he could be found resting whenever and wherever possible in the sun's warm rays.

He loved small 'go to' spaces...

...and like a king on his balcony, conversing with his loyal subjects, the birds, in springtime.

All things 'computer' fascinated Clarence, especially printers. Where does that paper come from? If he could just figure out this dang-ed contraption, perhaps he could assist his master.

As with all dukes, ritual was an important part of Clarence's regime. His 'morning greeting game' with Kristen was repeated daily and without fail at the bottom of the stairs. Nothing, but nothing brought him comfort like Kristen's coloured blanket. Even near the end, it was his choice resting location.

During the past six weeks, Clarence began his losses - loss of weight, loss of energy, loss of mobility, loss of piss and vinegar. Cancer was slowly robbing our duke of his life force until, this evening, in his master's loving arms, Clarence gently slipped away to the land of perpetual sun beams. God's finger touched him and he slept. (Lord Tennyson) Christopher is heart broken and I am reminded again that our pets, who gift us with their unconditional love, are truly family members.

Clarence, you have left your pawprint on our hearts.

Saturday, 2 April 2016


Well she did....kinda'. More than once as the years progressed, Mom would smile and murmur, Aging is not for the faint of heart. Honestly, what did those words mean to a thirty, forty or fifty-year old? Nada, zilch, zero!

Next year, God willing, I will reach 70 years of age. OMG, when did that happen? My body has blessed me with very few aches or pains, creaks or groans, although I fully expect that they will ultimately make their uncomfortable presence known. I just don't know when to expect them. My Mother never told me!

My Mother never told me not to attempt to act younger than my actual age. Really, Mom, I could have used that advice when, in my sixties and new to yoga class, I attempted a backward bow.

Heck! Thirty-five year old classmates were doing it. Why not me? Two torn menisci in my right leg and an arthroscopic surgery later proved why not me? Come to think of it, although she was fit and active, I never noticed Mom try to act anything but her age. Confident in her skin, she felt no need to prove anything to anyone.

My Mother never told me that one day I would look in the mirror and nostalgically wonder when the face of that young child, young teen, young woman had morphed into a face of wrinkles as deep as Swiss Alp crevices.

Mom had plenty of wrinkles on her beautiful face. Did she fret? Did she consider a face lift? Never! No, she wore her wrinkles as badges of a life well lived. Wisdom lines, I remember her calling them.

My Mother never told me that I may tire more easily as I grew older. Moaning and groaning, hands massaging my tired back, I grouse about too much gardening, too much house cleaning, too much time prepping a meal, too much....oh, you get the picture. Thinking back, I cannot recall my Mom complaining about fatigue. Even in her eighties, on her feet and in the kitchen for days on end, baking Christmas cookies for family, Mom never complained. Of course her feet must have throbbed and her back must have ached, but a negative peep never escaped those determined lips.

My Mother never told me that in damp, cold weather, my knees, my legs, and my hips may stiffly ache. Man, these knees of mine are more reliable than any accuweather forecast. Hey, Mom, a warning would have been nice. I might have moved to Ariziona. But then Mom rarely complained about aching joints. In her eighties she did announce that she was having both knees replaced. Both? You see my knees have been a bit sore, dear. Bone on bone in both knees is a bit sore

My Mother never told me. Why? I believe that to Mom seeing her wrinkles in a mirror, feeling fatique or experiencing joint pain meant that she was still alive. The inconveniences of aging were to her better than the alternative. Life, no matter how uncomfortable, was to be celebrated. I have much to learn from my Mother.