Cloister Commentary, Day 125: Cat Herding Sheep

Only eight times this many days will be 1,000. February seems over a year in the past, but eight times this many seems like it could happen in a snap. Does that make any sense?

But for the grading of research papers, my Stephens summer school stint is over. I remember neurotically pacing back and forth, wondering if I should take the job on, then if I would like it, then if I would suck at Zoom–and it’s already over, and I’m in for next summer. If there is a next summer: what really sucks is that some valued colleagues at Stephens have lost their jobs so the institution can survive, and the mess we’re all in isn’t going to make continuance a snap.

I have a scarily-bearded cousin who’s more like an uncle named Jim Hague. He is a septuagenarian with the motor of a five-year-old (what age has the highest-running motor?), and yesterday he showed up to finish repairing Dad’s old riding lawnmower. This particular job has been an obsession with him, and he toiled in the ninety degree heat from 1 p.m. to about 7 p.m. He was so desperate to complete the task that he asked me to help him, which is akin to asking a cat to herd sheep. I didn’t break anything, got my hands dirty (it was FUN!), and test-drove the thing without impaling it on the sweetgum tree. Jim and I don’t agree on very much, but no one has been more helpful in the aftermath of my father’s passing. For awhile, I was worried I might have another relative’s demise on my hands, but after Mom hosed him down and he ate some cookies, he was good as new.

I despise few things more than wasting food–I am a plate-cleaner to the manor born–but I was soundly defeated at dinner. I decided to give Mom a break from having to feed me and grabbed some curbside grub at The Southern Standard in Monett, but the delicious four-piece fried catfish plate I ordered was not accurately described on the restaurant’s menu: I double-checked, but nowhere did it read “For two.” Nor did it read “jumbo-sized catfish slabs.” My jaws creaked to a screeching halt at 3.5 slabs, I left a swamp of slaw on the plate, then staggered out of the kitchen to collapse on the couch. Too full to drink a beer or read? I’d not thought it possible, but it is. I am still full right now thumbing this out 12 hours later.

Streaming for Survivors:

One of the greatest alto saxophonists alive was born in Joplin, Missouri, 81 years ago today. Here he is.

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