Thursday, April 21, 2011

Michael Lived Fast And Died Young

Michael was my brother.

He was my father's 2nd son with his new wife. (My dad had 4 girls with my mother.)

I met Michael and got to know him right before my son John was born. Michael was only a year older than my own son.

Michael had a sparkle to him even as a baby. He was an easy, happy little boy and his parents pride and joy. I watched Michael grow from a beautiful baby to a gorgeous young man. By the time he was 15, he had more experience with girls than most men do at 40.

Michael excelled at sports and guys liked him too, but he was always a little wild. I think he got in trouble for smoking pot and snorting cocaine the first time when he was about 16. My father had died a couple of years earlier and Michael had moved away from San Francisco with his mother and older brother, Joaquin.

Michael's mother hoped getting him away from "bad influences" in the City would be good for him. It didn't really matter because Michael was the party! My own kids were thoroughly delighted with their devilishly fun only slightly older uncle.

As a young man, Michael drank too much, loved too intensely, drove too fast and took a lot of risks. He was a successful male model for a while. Later he sold stocks for a brokerage house in San Francisco and made enough money to buy a sailboat and take up racing. He was good at everything he did and I adored him.

People who met him were charmed and enchanted. It was easy to overlook his wildness because of his sweetness and winning personality. When Michael talked to you, he let you know that nobody in the world was more important to him than you. That's a pretty seductive quality.

Two months before his 42nd birthday, Michael crashed his car into a tree on his way home after an evening out with friends. They think he died instantly and it seems alcohol may have been involved. He died early in the morning hours of February 17, 2008. The world has seemed a little dimmer to me after his passing.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Mary Had A Little Lamb (But All I've Got Is Harry)

Harry is a very hinky dog, and he gets "spooked" by a lot of things.

When Harry gets nervous, he wants to clamor on to my lap for shelter. Never mind that he is 90 pounds of shuddering muscle, he wants to be protected.

When I awakened this morning and came downstairs, Harry was waiting for me panting. I walked to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee and Harry climbed under my robe for safety. Harry moved with me almost in unison as I tried to cross the kitchen floor. Unfortunately for me, the "almost" part of this 6-legged walk nearly knocked me off my feet. After one cup of spilled coffee, I tried to make Harry get out from under my robe, but he would not be budged.

After a few minutes, I telephoned Alex to ask him, "What's wrong with your boy?" and he claimed not to have a clue. Harry ate breakfast while I straddled him with my robe covering part of him including his head. It's the only way he would eat.

Trying to get into the rather small pantry with a 90 pound appendage affixed to me was somewhat difficult, as was walking and not falling. I came into the office to check emails and look at the internet but Harry put his front paws on my lap and his head right under my chin as he shivered and panted. Reaching the keyboard was difficult and not worth the effort.

Meanwhile, Honey, my other dog, was giving Harry the "stank eye". She is the alpha, and is extremely jealous of any perceived attention Harry may be receiving. Honey even bared her teeth at Harry which usually is enough to send him into hiding for at least 2 hours. Not this morning.

Finally, Alex called to see if Harry had calmed down. I assured him that he had not. At this point, Alex remembered installing mosquito zapper equipment outside in the yard yesterday. We concluded that the "zap" noise was the culprit causing Harry's dismay.

I went outside, nearly falling down the flight of stairs because Harry was walking between my legs and I got the "zapper" unplugged.

Harry's a very sensitive guy. Since the noise is no longer bothering him, he has returned to being a manly man dog again.

I'm glad of that.