Monday, August 19, 2013

Dr. Dolittle and me

It just occurred to me today that since I retired I talk to animals more than anyone than Bern--and perhaps even more than I talk to her. We've been married 43 years come September 5th and have know each other since 1964--that's 49 years, so we can communicate without words much of the time.

Someone once asked me--7 or 8 years ago, when I was still Rector of St. John's in Waterbury, 'what I did." And when I thought about it I realized 'what I did' was "walk around and talk a lot".

I talked to dozens, sometimes hundreds of people a day. That was 'what I did'--I talked to parishioners and folks in the soup kitchen and folks there for 12 step groups and folks passing through and folks using the building and folks inside the building and folks on the street. What I DID was walk around and talk a lot.

Since I retired, I don't talk to people that much. I seldom get calls. I call Bea at the Cluster office a couple of times a week, I talk (not enough) to Josh and Mimi, our children, I talk to clerks in the stores and my clergy group on Tuesday morning and to people at church on Sundays. And to Bern.

But mostly I talk to Bela and Luke and Maggie, our dog, cat and parakeet. I talk to them from the time I get up until I go to bed. They are all good listeners, being creatures. And I mostly praise them for being 'good dog' or 'good cat' or 'good bird'. Maggie used to fly away when I talked to her and cling to the far side of her cage. But now I talk to her and even when she's eating, she doesn't fly away. Granted, most of what I say to her has to do with her singing--which she does constantly and sometimes at such a pitch it is painful to human ears--and about the music she listens to on the public radio station from Sacred Heart University that mostly plays classical music and on weekends modern music. The radio in the kitchen is beside Maggie's cage and always on from when Bern or I get up until the last one of us goes to bed. Maggie loves classical music and I must say. since we tuned into WSHU instead of WNPR (though I still listen to that in my car) the music rather than a day full of talk and news, has made us all calmer and more content. I thank Maggie for that.

My monologues with Bela and Luke go on all day. I tell them things about themselves (Good cat, big boy, buddy, best friend) and about what to do (eat your breakfast/lunch, let's go out, go to the 'big bed', go upstairs, find the woman....stuff like that). And often I simply ponder things with them about politics, philosophy and religion.

They're good listeners. It's a joy to talk with them and I do it all day.

I'm about to go ask Bela if he wants to go pee--which he does, I already know--but it seems polite and right to ask him. And when he does I'll tell him what a big boy he is and when we come back in I'll ask him if he'd like a treat (why ask? But I do and give him one) and not much later, since it's 10:40 p.m., I'll suggest we 'go upstairs' to the 'big bed', and we will. Then I'll talk to him a bit more and kiss Bern good-night if she's still awake or just touch her softly if she's already asleep and Bela and I will settle down for a good night's sleep. I'll even tell him 'good night', though it's probably not necessary.

Talking to creatures is much of my life. And I love that....

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About Me

some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.