“Be with me, Beauty, for the fire is dying;
My dog and I are old, too old for roving.
Man, whose young passion set the spindrift flying,
Is soon too lame to march, too cold for loving.”
— John Masefield, “On Growing Old”
Happy birthday, Mr. Doud. Because you and I are practically the same age (I having been born two days earlier), I will not reveal how old you are. If you do, I’ll claim that you’re lying. I can’t possibly be that old. I mean, I can still chew my food.
For a long time, I assumed that Chuck and I were born on the same day because, a few years ago, Mrs. Doud took us both out to a dinner celebration, but it was my birthday, not her husband’s. Perhaps, it was just a convenient time. Later, I learned that Chuck was born on Sept. 12 (my father’s birthday), not Sept. 10 (my birthday).
Perhaps I knew that intuitively because Mr. Doud has always seemed like a father figure to me. In fact, I would try to be just like him, except that he likes cats. I don’t. Cats have a superiority complex that makes them immune to human criticism. I like dogs. You can talk sense to a dog. Dogs also have compassion and are loyal. Cats were absent the day those genes were passed out...