Cloister Commentary, Day 278: Beebs Returns!

I had trouble concentrating most of the morning since Beebs, one of the two strays that adopted us several years ago and live on our back deck, hadn’t been around the previous evening and didn’t show up for breakfast. He is a very special cat to us: he first appeared as a phantom, then I very carefully employed my cat whisperer talents and finally, after several weeks of distanced treat offerings, persuaded him to let me pet him. We’ve been buddies ever since. He’s got a near-silent meow, “hurt”-looking eyes, and a playful streak epitomized by his batting at my ankle if I walk away from him before he’s done with me. He climbs everything, and early on he badly injured himself doing so and suffered an infection that threatened his life, and we and some great vets nursed him back to health. Currently, he guards the backyard, but he’s also kind and serves as a Eskimo-kissing big brother to our other deck-stray, Goldie. ANYWAY, I made “lost cat” posts on two social media sites, and since this year has been the straight pits, began preparing myself to accept another loss. Then, after lunch, he showed back up, limping but otherwise looking healthy. Exhale.

Also, Nicole and I started a book by an author one of my former students and very good friends, Regan Schoengarth, insisted I get very familiar with: Wright Thompson. Thompson’s got local connections (right, Steve Weinberg?) and, indeed, writes indelibly, ostensibly about sports, but most powerfully about fathers and sons and the way culture is mutated by time’s changes. He’s special: his sterling collection of features, THE COST OF THESE DREAMS, was the last gift I ever gave my dad (who loved it, but we didn’t get the chance to talk about it in depth–in a way, I gave him the book as a way to talk to him), and his new book, PAPPYLAND, is scintillating even if you’ve never heard of Pappy Van Winkle. We listened to half the audiobook yesterday and might just finish it today. Note: Thompson’s also an unabashed Southern writer, a breed for which I have a weakness.

Streaming for Strivers:

As my friend Ken often says, “Sometimes, nothing else works.”