The cartoon above is funny because it's true, although there's just as great a likelihood that it's not funny because it's true.
All my days are difficult lately, but today was particularly hard. So while I wanted to do a post just to show that I'm still around, I couldn't come up with anything except gloom to share. So I went to a favorite clipart site to find a suitably depressing image and entered the word "hollow," expecting to find images of sad people with no more innards than a milk chocolate Easter bunny.
Instead, I got the image you see on the computer screen which would be more appropriate for a children's book called "A Funny, Sunny Day in Happy Hollow."
And it made me laugh at myself for being self-indulgent and self-pitying. So I decided that sharing the whole silly affair with you would be the most honest and accurate snapshot I can give you of how I'm doing.
And speaking of truth in cartooning...
This was Monday's "Johnny Optimism" cartoon and it was vaguely based on reality. Daughter J is now staying at her nearby apartment more frequently while moving in, and upon arriving with More Stuff on Sunday she discovered an abandoned parakeet in a feces-flecked birdcage sitting under an outdoor staircase.
This being Texas, that's a pretty effective way of making broiled parakeet - so she rescued the bird and took it to her apartment (after checking a variety of nearby doors to make sure no one belonged to the bird).
Our guess was that a family was moving and had forgotten the bird ("Well I thought he was in your car!") and would be getting in touch with the apartment management. Only the office was closed and wouldn't be open again until Tuesday. So I had to gallop off to Walmart and buy parakeet food, while Daughter J placed an emergency order to Amazon to get a variety of birdy treats and toys ("It will help us build trust," she explained).
That night, she discovered that her entire apartment was filling with the smell of moldy bird poo and asked if it could be kept in my house instead. I did not find the argument compelling and said "no." But first thing Monday morning, I headed out to a pet store to buy a replacement cage just so Daughter J wouldn't have to deal with stink while doing a good deed.
But before the bird could rent a little U-Haul and make the move, the owners (who had found a note left on their door) turned up full of apologies and promising to take better care of the bird. They were indeed in the process of moving and had put the bird outside while moving things around. And no, that didn't make sense to us either, but the people seemed decent enough so we gave them the bird, so to speak. And there were kids involved who were glad to see their chirpy little charge again.
So when it was time to put together a Johnny cartoon, I had birds on the brain. And while this particular parakeet didn't know the words and choreography of "YMCA," had it stayed in our family long enough we would have taught it.
Now a Trump wig on the bird, THAT would have sold the YMCA!
Or the punchline to another old joke: ...f..f...food! and then he collapsed!
Two (at least two) pretty great stories. You are a brave man, providing such insight into your soul to us great unwashed. Your commentary summed up my thoughts on the parakeet entirely...hope the owners "second chance" is worth the effort. Seems your daughter is a soft touch. Can't fault her there. Great to hear from you and here's some hugs for your trouble.
Oh wow! Bird boo boo is not a particularly pleasant odor. My hens have diatomaceous earth in which to drop their shtuff, but it only keeps down the odor and prevents itchy type of bugs that might get on them. If your daughter has to stay in that apartment and it still has an odor or she finds more SHtuff in places, she might want to get a small bag of diatomaceous earth to dust around the baseboards. It prevents insects from taking over and helps remove the smells. She, and you, has a good heart!
Meanwhile, may God bless you with peace and something a bit more encouraging in your life. Living in Texas with the wind we have up here in WF can be "interesting." Branches from a Western Soapberry decorate my back yard more often than they can be removed. Such is life. No big gripes necessary when so many little ones seem to accumulate like love bugs!
This one, again, is SUPER. I laughed when I saw the bird singing YMCA. LOVE IT. LOVE IT. LOVE IT.
Thanks so much for coming out of your despair long enough to brighten things up for many of us.
Awww, that was sweet of you guys to rescue a little "I tot I taw a Puddy Tat"! (Yeah, I had a heck of a time getting the spelling right here, lol.) And the cartoons were a hoot, made me giggle too.
I don't suppose you guys might like a cat or two? I'm giving up and having three of mom's "I brought them inside because they looked cold" monsters at the vet next week for the "surgery". Mom isn't happy but they are little boys and already getting a bit smelly. Don't think they are spraying yet but it's not far off. Turns out teenage boys and teenage boy cats have a lot in common. Who knew? I think I'm taking three anyway, one has disappeared and I'm worried about it. Don't need a dead cat in the house. Mom threatens to throw them out the door occasionally when they get rambunctious and I tell her no because they wouldn't be able to survive. Unfortunately the fourth stray is going to the vet Saturday because I suspect he has an upper respiratory. And my two dogs are already scheduled for the groomer on Saturday because they absolutely stink, lol. Can you tell my vet really likes me?
Are you guys getting any of the storms running around, or just heat and humidity? Yay rain but the wet heat following and the crap that gets stirred up is just not my fav time.
...if it were a parrot, I suppose you could have gone with "In The Navy". ;-)
As for hollows in trees, I will simply remind the group of a positively filthy joke with the punchline, "Tonto CHECK FOR BEES!" and leave it at that.
You are coming back! Thank you as I can relate to a certain extent as I lost my 40 yr young son last September and dug a hole in my heart and body. I have a hundred pictures of him - all with a huge smile on his face. He was even joking with me 2 days before his end. A huge celebration of life was held in Houston will tons of people I did not know but all we great for sharing strange stories about him as he did not want to have a funeral, but a big party to celebrate the life he lived and morn not his death.
I probably learned a lot from him, especially as he calmly accepted his fate.
Bro, it is slow going. Take up some exercise to help...stay tough, mike
Glad to see you're still kicking - how is the gardening going? Stay busy, it helps. Still thoughts and prayers for you and your daughter.
Stilton and daughter......
Always good to see your comments.......even if it’s about a stinking bird (we don’t need no stinking birds ! lol )
Sorry for the lame attempt at humor!
Be well and Happy June 1st !
Wayne in Indiana
One foot in front of the other, Stilt.
That was a very kind gesture of your daughter stepping up and taking in the family's pet bird. You and your wife did a great job of teaching her values of character.
I hope you find better days ahead.
Thanks for the clip art backstory, the laugh from Johnny Optimism as well as the good deed story.
Good morning Stilt. So glad to see you starting on the road to normalcy. It's a long road filled with happy memories. I do pray that the road is smooth. And speaking of parakeets, what does a 500 pound parakeet sound like? "CHIRP". (It's better in 24 point boldface.) Keep up the good work.
I'm sorry you're going through this heart-wrenching time, Stilton. You express so well what many of us have felt in sad times and in loss, and we relate to you in that as well as your incredible sense of humor. I wish all of us could meet in person and have a week-long party to celebrate you and your wife and your daughter. I don't know how you continue to think clearly, let alone find humor in things, but it's a gift to the rest of us. I laughed out loud at the quote you started with and the parakeet story.
Your serendipitous discovery of "Happy Hollow" from your depths of despair is a wonderful sign of God ministering to your grief with humor.
As He continues, I pray that you will find many more examples of His care.
Funny, I did a search for "hollow" and I got a Gropin' Joe head shot. Go figure.
Do you get volume rates at your Vet? Asking for a needy friend.
It is good to see your fine silly stuff again. Keep on keeping on, I know this loss will never be easy and as I said, it is good to see humor once more. Blessings for you and your daughter and thank you for the laugh.
I'm glad to see rays of your amazing humor poking through the sadness and loss. One day at a time. I'm also glad to have my old buddy Johnny showing up again.
God bless you and Daughter J. I am sure your good deeds to the bird and its family will not go unnewarded
@ Stilt -- Since you already have a cage, munchies, and toys for a parakeet, maybe surprise Daughter J with a cute little budgie.
@ M. Mitchell Marmel -- I knew this in the Army:
In the Navy, you can turn your shorts around,
In the Navy, you can always sleep face down,
In the Navy, you can make your buddy smile,
In the Navy, in the Navy.
Know the feeling. Hang in there.
Good on you and daughter, Jarlsberg! Especially with everything that you have going on, saving an innocent bird reminds us of how good and strong you are!
It was heartening to see that the parrot was NOT nailed to its perch!
So good to see your humor again! I don't know how you do it. When I'm feeling down and out I have a tendency towards long naps and the fetal position. That you find the fortitude to create joy for us in the midst of your dark is just remarkable. We all bow to your talent, sir.
Long ago in a college town trailer park I captured a big escaped parrot with a fishing net. It was up in the tree in our lot. The toenails were like corkscrews that got caught in the net and the damned thing bit the hell out of my hands while freeing it from the net. Took it back to where the "Lost" poster said and gave it back. "Thank you"& they closed the door. I was told later by buddies the bird was probably worth ~$200 which was about half our monthly budget back then. Noisy birds too. I sometimes think we should have fried and eaten it.
What an appropriate Johnny Optimism for today, the first day of LGBTQ+ Pride Month. No, I haven't been waiting for it but when I powered my Apple up this morning it was the very first thing that it told me. I suspect that it hasn't really got to know me yet. Or perhaps it's trying to poke my politics.
I'm sorry that you're feeling hollow but it's unavoidable. When that comes, think about your goos times together. It just might make you smile.
So you now have a cage, parakeet food. and toys and treats on the way. You might as well get a parakeet. It'll cost less than the investment you've already made. Plus, it'll get rid of some of your free time as you sweep up bird seed and feathers from around the cage and clean out the cage bottom. I'm not sure, but I think that parakeets might be somewhat like canaries. So if the bird falls over get out of the house.
Thanks, everyone, for your prayers and wishes. And many thanks to you, Stilt, for keeping this group together. When I see you in my inbox it immediately brightens my day.
Good humor today.
Stilton, please be assured that there is future happiness.
What's the difference between a parakeet and Donald Trump?
A parakeet can tweet...
(Not a political statement, just an observation.)
On a more philosophical level, why is it called a parakeet when there's only one of them?
Stilt (My Un-Met Friend In The Ether),
Haven't posted in a while, but have followed you pretty much daily since The Sadness, hoping for each new post, and today you did not disappoint. Again!
Both gags made me laugh (part of my required daily fix of same), and the story could be part of your auto-bio, should you write one.
I have no wisdom to share and bitterly wish I did, but you are blessed with that provided by your other "Un-Met Friends." But I share the advice to keep busy, passing time by filling it as best you can, because one day you will wake up with only the hole in your heart, and the spike somehow removed.
And getting a bird or other pet might not be such a bad idea. A puppy, kitten, wombat, marmoset, whatever, that will require your attention for a while, something more to take care of, train, and love since only life can replace any portion of life.
You may find it hard to see, but your stories show me God IS working in your life. Maybe not in form of a dove, but I think you can get the hint.
I suspect that if you follow 'Sean of the South' https://seandietrich.com It will help you or any others who are depressed, focus on other things. Most of his writings get one involved then end on an upturn. Not the 6/1/22 one. If you go to the bottom, his email list is there.
So very glad to see that you are still trudging along. It may not seem like much, but you're managing as well as can be expected at this time.
Keep trudging - there WILL be an end to it all. Not suddenly, or fully, but in fits and starts. Occasional moments of 'almost normal', gradually making their appearance in everyday life.
I believe in you - you can do this.
@Readers- Wonderful and helpful comments above and all are very greatly appreciated. I'd like to respond to all of them individually, but instead will have to pick and choose a bit as I'm having a low energy day - in part because today was "therapy day" which is always emotionally draining, and in part because I had a Covid booster yesterday (the Moderna) and I think it's screwing with me a bit today. But let's see what I can do...
@Anonymous- I'm very sorry about the loss of your son. 40 is criminally young. The celebration of his life sounds wonderful and hopefully helped the healing process.
@Phil- Despite the splendid blue coloring, the bird was apparently not pining for the fjords.
@Rod- Had they simply given you a monetary award, it would be long gone by now. Instead, you were given a more precious gift that lasts forever: the knowledge that some people are a&&holes.
@Paul Donohue- The timing of the cartoon and LGBTQEIEIO Pride Month was entirely coincidental but fortuitous. I'm returning the various bird-centric items rather than adopting a parakeet of my own. If I wanted a messy thing in my house that squawks randomly and annoyingly, I'd rent a room to a liberal. And my prayers are among those heading your way.
@TVAG- There will likely be a new dog added to the mix here before too long because I know the psychological good that can come from dog energy. Still, it's going to be hard; I lost my wonderful dog Penny (only about 6 years old) to cancer just a couple of weeks before Kathy's health went south (actually she was already starting to feel bad but didn't want to say so because I was so worried about Penny). So I'm feeling awfully vulnerable.
@DWB- I read the 6/1/22 column which was very well done but heart-wrenching. I'll take a deep breath and try some of his lighter fare sometime soon.
@Linda Fox- At this rate, maybe I should just go ahead and change the name of this blog to "The Trudge Report." But trudging is still movement, so I'll keep doing it - and I appreciate the encouragement!
"Hollow" is quite apt for how the loss of your spouse leaves you feeling, Cousin Stilton. There is nothing in my past that compares to the feeling of abject desolation - the emptimess - I felt when Kim passed, and for many months afterward.
But keep the faith. It does pass. Find things to fill your time and your mind, and your mind will heal itself. Get out and about where you can have people around you - not random crowds, mind you - but people who you can interact with. Sometimes it's hard to do, and sometimes, when I do, I'm not interacting as much as I should be - but getting out there is key - it helps.
Are there still moments when I suddenly feel empty, alone, and awash with grief now almost 18 months since that day? Certainly - but they are becoming fewer and much farther between. I wish the same for you, my friend.
@Patrick- I was at your blog not 5 minutes ago looking to review your insights and see if there were new ones. And you were waiting for me here the whole time!
You're giving good advice and I'll try to figure out how to implement it. I'm an extreme introvert (although few who think they know me believe it) and there aren't many people I'm comfortable around. I've worked at home for decades, so don't really have an external support system of people.
But I'm making tentative outreach toward a few folks, in part because I know I should and in part because I think there's a certain window of time after which people simply write you off as a sad, lost soul.
I can't actually imagine things getting better, but I do believe the people like you who've walked the walk and say that it can happen. And I thank you for that.
What a sorry sad journey we all go though when we lose a close loved one, especially if it if before their time to go. The first year or so hardly a day goes by when you don't want to turn around or make a phone call and tell them about your day.... and they are not there. It takes time and that sucks and perhaps with time Stilt your journey will become a bit better. Of course the more you love a person the more your miss that person so, there you are now. Blessings and we your readers do care and wish you healing as you go along, that will be all.
@OldTexan- You know what you're talking about. I want to show and tell Kathy everything all day long. That's how we lived and it was...everything. So the days are hard, but good folks here (like you) make them better. Thank you.
hang in there
@ Stilt: AN imagined good suggestion, but not from direct experience AS YET, as both my wife and I have survived the first things that tried to do us in and are still doing OK.
But in addition to family, If you could use some new friends while still honoring Kathy: some ways which I know work pretty well are "common interes": topics or activities. I know there are things like nerd tech, car clubs, Symphon book clubs, travel groups, for you maybe comedy clubs; Dinner theaters. SERVICE groups might be good; Volunteering, Classes, some churches perhaps, and the like. Whatever eventually helps float your boat. Examples in my life have been or still are Scouting, Jeeping, Cycling, Canoeing, Scuba Diving,e specially if there are clubs with not only activities but also periodic social club meetings; Symphony, and the like.. Some of those (but Scuba not recommended in fact just the opposite) are also great solo activities.
It much easier to meet people comfortably & with control when the common focus centers on some activity or outside interest. Otherwise it's not at all easy for mature and established folks to meet new peers, as everyone else is already partnered-up, in their shells, or in long-term small groups.
Our returning to Home area after 40 years away demonstrated this. We can go to periodic school reunions and enjoy it; but that doesn't usually extend very far beyond that weekend. ALL of this is for WHEN you are ready, of course. My grieving takes a while; but then it's over.
@Rod- All of what you say is excellent advice, though at the moment I'll be damned if I know how to implement any of it. I am a terrible introvert with significant social anxiety and additionally can't offhand think of any activities or interests likely to be shared by many ("Who else here is really into classic sideshow freaks?")
I'm still afraid of groups thanks to Forever Covid, but wearing a mask very long quickly puts me into hospital/hospice PTSD. I will probably try to force myself to try some kind of volunteer activities or something, but geez. Unquestionably, being largely alone isn't good. I vaguely know what I need to do (and it's exactly what you're suggesting) but I suck at doing it.
I generally see people go in two directions after a spouse passes; They try to go along with their lives much as they did previously or they re-invent themselves with new activities and friends. Those who do the former don't seem to last very long. Statistics show that men only live months to a few years after a spouse dies. People who re-invent themselves and re-engage with society find new things to live for and thrive.
I know we here are wonderful company and all. But for all practical purposes, we could be nothing more than an elaborate AI matrix-like simulation. You need more. Everyone does.
Most of the best things in my life happened to me when I broke out of my "comfort zone". I know you may not be ready, but please consider the possibility. Even though Brandon and his cohort are doing their best to screw up what's left of America, there's still plenty to do out there and to engage with. Just start to consider the possibilities. You'll be ready when it's time.
I know, easy for me to say. But one of my biggest fears in life is that I to would do the former. It's just too easy; the default thing to do.
But that's not the kind of person that I'd want to be remembered being either.
@John the Econ- All wonderfully good advice, but I'm currently at a complete loss how to implement it or even begin it (although I'll try).
Tomorrow I'm going to meet a friend for a burger and it will be my first social contact with anyone other than my daughter since I lost Kathy. Slow going...
@John the Econ: Agreed. GOOD MEMO THERE. I've seen in many others that life sometimes gets in the way with varying results; but IMO it's generally a good idea to pay due respect as long as needed and also value others who fully understand that; but when it's time: Move on. Like many things it's also an opportunity which should not be avoided out of being "lost", guilt or simply giving up. Live right & well; but live until you don't.
Funny story about my Mother who went ahead of Dad by a year after they had been married & were a good couple for 74 years: They had pre-arranged services & plots and also bought a combined two-plot headstone which was in place for many years with birth dates but no DODs. Then they both lived well into their 90's. She eventually told me, but I'm pretty sure not Dad that the standard design for that stone had the words "Together Forever" on it along with some other decoration. She had them omit those words. Said a life together with that man was OK but not Forever. That's my MOM. Unfortunately Dad was too old, settled in & ill to "Move On"; and while still amazingly healthy for his age, he lasted only one more year and it was just hanging on. His mind failed.
@Rod- I recognize the wisdom in what you're saying but, again, have no idea how to do any of those vital things. I'm looking on Amazon (so far fruitlessly) for books along the lines of "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Being Someone."
What types of things and activities captured your attention when you were about 10 years old? I read there's value in some return to that; and for me that has been true. And we know it isn't going to be very much high tech. LOL!
I'm looking on Amazon (so far fruitlessly) for books along the lines of "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Being Someone."
I think I need that book too, and I've never been married. Can I borrow it when you find it?
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