Of J. C. Penney, Robert Redford, and a Return to Civilized Dining

MOW BOOK LAUNCH 003 (3)

*

*

*

*

Posted by Kathy Waller

***********************

Writing this post won’t be easy.

ernestandkathy9 (2)

Ernest pinning down left arm

Sixteen pounds of Ernest lies across my right forearm, pinning it to the arm of the recliner. He’s on his side, positioned so he can turn his head and, with a moonstruck expression, gaze upside-down  into my eyes and/or reach across to pat my chest. At present, he’s making biscuits on my upper arm and, head thrown back, pushing with his chin at the mouse, which will soon fall to the floor. It doesn’t matter. With my arm weighed down, my fingers are the only movable part of that appendage, and they’re typing as fast as my brain can make up words. The mouse is purely decorative. I’m surprised to have gotten a whole paragraph down.

Well, no, not really surprised. We do this all the time. I say, “We’ve talked about this. You can’t lie on my arm when I’m using the laptop. So move.” He turns his head, gives me the coy But-I-wuv-you look, and thinks something like, Not on your old lady’s corset cover. I’ll move when I’m good and ready.

He’s good and ready when David brings bacon and eggs, or, rather, bacon and egg. David, bless him, has been providing chair service since I started chemo. I spent six months eating mostly Rice Krispies, because they tasted like what they were; David spent the same six months eating fruit and vegetables and ravioli out of cans, and Pita Pockets out of the freezer. I felt bad about letting him eat such shabby  meals until I realized he likes them. He’s just been polite enough (for twelve years) not to mention he prefers tinned pears to fresh.

Ernest is polite enough to raise himself up off my arm when I jiggle it sufficiently, but then he lies back down. While I eat, he watches and waits for crumbs to fall. If I were eating a biscuit, a muffin–anything that tends to shed–he would be crawling across me, snuffling my shirt. An iota of carbohydrate is enough to justify trawling.

Crumbs don’t fall. After David removes the tray, Ernest removes himself to the back of the recliner, above my head. That’s his new favorite place. Stationed there, he can sleep, pat my head, run his claws through my hair, occasionally kick me with a strong hind leg.

I slept late this morning, caught up in a dream I still can’t shake. I was sitting on a bench outside a new J. C. Penney store, waiting for a train (the tracks ran right by the front door), and Robert Redford, who had performed at the grand opening, was sitting beside me. The actress who had appeared with him sat on my other side. The actress said something to Redford about the skit they’d just performed, and he shot back a deadpan response.

Up to that point, I’d been pretending they weren’t there, as is polite when one finds oneself sitting between celebrities one doesn’t know personally,  but his response was so funny that I clapped my hands over my face and guffawed. The actress said something else, and this time his reply was even funnier than before, and I guffawed even louder.

It was a dream, so whatever happened next made no sense. I did wonder how J. C. Penney managed to talk Robert Redford into opening a store. As to why I dreamed about Penney’s: Yesterday David told me that after a thirty-year hiatus, the company is again selling appliances. I have no idea why I dreamed the store doubled as a depot. I don’t know why I dreamed about Robert Redford, either. But who needs a reason?

###

After a brief pause, we return, my laptop and I in the recliner, Ernest on the chair back above my head. I’ve just been through the dry run for my first radiation treatment tomorrow. The most recent PET scan showed cancer in one lymph node, but no evidence of metastasis from it. Lesions are gone from the lungs. At this time, only the positive node will be treated. I was once told to anticipate results from all diagnostic tests would be better than expected. These results were exactly that. Peace of mind is no longer an option, but my expectations remain high.

Infusions continue, but the evil drug, the one officially classified as chemotherapy, was withdrawn nine weeks ago. Until it was stopped, I had no idea how rotten the previous months had been. Still, the side-effects I experienced were relatively mild–the side-effect of a positive attitude, perhaps. I feel better now, stronger, more interested in pushing a cart through the grocery store.

I’m not interested in cooking. Several weeks ago I made half a pot roast–I wore out after preparing the carrots, so David had to deal with the potatoes and onions–that turned out to be simply wretched. Last week I bought a chicken whose disposition is still hypothetical. The doctor told me radiation will probably make me feel very tired. I’ll wait to see what happens before taking back the kitchen.

But at some point, I’ll have to do the right thing. I’ll return to cooking. David and I will return to civilized dining. And deprived of chair service, Ernest will continue cutting off circulation to my fingers, making biscuits on my arm, running his claws through my hair, and kicking me with his strong hind leg–but with no hope at all of crumbs.

DSCN1843 (2)

###

Kathy Waller blogs at Telling the Truth, Mainly
and at Austin Mystery Writers.
Her short stories appear in Mysterical-E
and in Austin Mystery Writers’
crime fiction anthology, MOW cover - amazon pix
MURDER ON WHEELS
.
She is working on a mystery novel.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in animal behavior, animal stories, Animals, cancer, Cats, Cooking, Health, unique, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Of J. C. Penney, Robert Redford, and a Return to Civilized Dining

  1. Doris says:

    Kathy, thank you for the update. No, not easy, but I send continued thoughts of the perfect outcome your way. Having those who love us nearby is so important, but a return to civilized dining, I can just imagine how wonderful that will be. Doris

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathy Waller says:

      Thanks, Doris. Thoughts of a perfect outcome are just what I need. As for civilized dining–I hate to admit it, but I like dining in my recliner as much as David likes his canned foods. That’s why it’s important we return to civilization asap.

      Like

  2. Kathy Waller says:

    Reblogged this on Kathy Waller and commented:
    I’m at Writing Wranglers and Warriors today. Do click on over. It’s not about the cat.

    Like

  3. wyoauthor1 says:

    Kathy, my thoughts are with you. One of my aunts was diagnosed last week with ovarian cancer; two years ago she battled colon cancer and had been cancer free. Certainly not an easy road for people and families to travel. Blessings to you as you move forward and I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts and prayers. How wonderful to have the comfort of your precious kitty — animal therapy is some of the best medicine out there! May Ernest and David continue to be your comfort and your leaning trees as you all travel this journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathy Waller says:

      Not an easy road, but I’m grateful it’s there to be traveled. I’m afraid I offended Ernest yesterday by telling him he simply could not lie across the laptop keyboard while my hands are on it. William jumps into my lap only when he wants me to vacate the chair so he can nap in it. Sometimes I would like to have a nice, sympathetic dog.

      Thanks for thinking of me. I’ll be thinking of your aunt. My best to her.

      Like

  4. Joe Stephens says:

    What a lovely, poignant post. I pray that all things turn out well for you. Your attitude is so positive. I’m not sure I could be as positive in your situation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathy Waller says:

      Thank you, Joe. In this situation, the only way to be is positive. Scared surfaces sometimes, of course. But my husband helps keep me going. And both my immune system and my doctor like positive, so I do my best to comply.

      Like

  5. Travis says:

    So glad you’ve got Ernest there and Robert Redford in your dreams. Wishing you strength and hoping the cancer gets knocked out of your system for good!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathy Waller says:

      Thanks, Travis. Ernest is ever present. Unfortunately, Robert Redford hasn’t returned, and I’m sorry, because I really want to ask him how JC Penney convinced him to open that store. It doesn’t seem like a thing he would do.

      Like

  6. Kaye George says:

    Hang in there and keep posting when you can–when Ernest lets you. I suspect a lot of men like canned food best. And maybe frozen microwave stuff, too. Hubby used to eat mostly meat when I’d go on business trips. He only eats vegetables because I put them in front of him. I’m glad you have Rice Krispies!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathy Waller says:

      Thank, Kaye. I’m hanging. David was a guy for a long time before I met him, and he ate what guys eat. His recipe for soup: pour lots of cans of stuff into a pot and heat. David likes mainly MEAT but when I’m away he eats mostly frozen pizza, Cheetos, and trail mix. Actually, I’d be happy with that, too, but I feel guilty if he doesn’t get his vegetables.

      Like

  7. I’m glad you’re doing better. Your dream gave me a good laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Neva Bodin says:

    Thanks for sharing your dream, maybe now I’ll dream of Robert Redford tonight. You are going through a lot, but will come out the other end of this tunnel feeling victorious I’m betting. However, day to day is how I’m sure you are getting there now. I can tell you are a positive lady by your picture and your writing. Know that I care and will say a prayer for you. And thank goodness for a loving husband and cat to cheer you on! They both sound like keepers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathy Waller says:

      That dream was way better than my usual. I hope you dreamed of Robert Redford, too. The picture was taken at my critique group’s book launch–I was on a cloud that night, not a bad place to be. Thanks for the kind words and the prayers, Neva. They help a lot.

      Like

  9. Mike Staton says:

    Prayers and good thoughts going your way, Kathy. Glad you have Ernest for company. The cats I have had in my life have been good anchors. I like Gayle’s comment: “May Ernest and David continue to be your comfort and your leaning trees as you all travel this journey.”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Kathy, your strength amazes me. To handle what you’re going through now must be a constant struggle, but I love that you can turn that into words to share with others. Ernest sounds like just the pet you need to have in your life. Aren’t cats wonderful? Your husband must be a sweetheart and it sounds like he’s coping. As for Robert Redford, well, I wish I had been in your dream – he’s my favorite! Keep us posted on your progress, please. I’ll be thinking about and praying for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathy Waller says:

      Ernest is a sweet, affectionate, Velcro cat and a great comfort. William is more detached, expects me to come to him when I want attention, unless he wants my chair, and keeps me humble. I don’t think of myself as strong, just as doing what I have to do. A little Robert Redford along the way doesn’t hurt, either. Thanks much for your thoughts and prayers.

      Like

  11. katewyland says:

    So sorry you’re going through this, but glad you have Earnest and David to support you. Animals give so much unconditional love, I can’t imagine living without one. Love the image of Earnest patting your head. Hope you’re back to civilized dining soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathy Waller says:

      We had one night of civilized dining, but the chicken and rice I made was simply awful, so I gave up. I think there’s still some in the refrigerator but am hoping it vanishes so I won’t have to feel guilty about not eating it. I’m thinking seriously about ordering pizza tonight. Thanks for your kind words. Those support me, too.

      Like

  12. What a poignant post, Kathy. Love the humor in it with the Redford / JC Penney dream, the cat waiting for just a single crumb, and the husband who loves his Pita Pockets. I wish you a swift journey to civilized dining very soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathy Waller says:

      Thanks, Sarah. Regarding civilized dining, see my previous reply. It may take longer to get back to civilization than I anticipated. I’m glad my husband likes canned and frozen fare.

      Like

  13. Nancy Jardine says:

    Amusing dreams, like the Robert Redford one, sound good for lifting the spirit- especially at such a difficult time for you. My best wishes for your coming months and perhaps your return to the kitchen- if that’s what actually appeals. (My OH does a lot of our cooking and I’m very happy about that)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kathy Waller says:

      There’s the rub, you see–I haven’t wanted to be in the kitchen since 1988. My husband has done a lot of cooking in the past few years. I feel guilty about that, since he works during the day and I mostly hang around the house, but guilt hasn’t done much toward getting me back to the kitchen. And if what I turn out is as bad as the last meal I cooked, I may not go back at all. Thanks for commenting, Nancy.

      Like

  14. S J Brown says:

    Kathy, cooking is overrated. Just remember you are making progress, getting closer to your goal of being and feeling better.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s