The Sad Clown

“Pierrot” by Antoine Watteau

I had CATS written on both hands to remind myself to feed M + S’s cats.  M had strolled up the hill last week, stinky cigar in hand, to give me the key to their house.  I put fresh kibble in the dishes for the hiding cats.  Using a pancake flipper, I scooped out one large grey dumpling of poop from the kitty litter box and threw it away.  When I got to the knitting bench, I noticed the door of my neighbor’s jeep was wide open.  I walked over to check it out and there were groceries in the back seat probably awaiting unloading.  This neighbor is very ill, and doesn’t have the physical strength she once did.  I debated whether to carry them up to the doorstep but decided not to meddle.  Soon, my neighbor came out again, and I was happy to see another neighbor offer to carry the groceries in for her.

A small terrier with long hair like a fuzzy caterpillar with short legs passed by the knitting bench with a young family, the dad wearing the baby in a frontpack.  The little boy said his dog needed water.  I felt a tinge guilty for hiding D’s water container but it was so tacky I couldn’t stand it–a pink plastic medical basin with a crack in one corner.
It said, “Water for Dogs, Cats Welcome.”

The Urban Hiker stopped and remarked about the beautiful day.  I asked him the question I’d been dying to ask as to why he is trying to get everyone to become a 7th Day Adventist.  He believes there will be dire consequences for everyone who breaks the command to keep the Sabbath on the 7th day, and he blaims the Catholic church for changing the Sabbath to Sunday.  I tried to poke holes in his argument, and when I had run out of things to say, I looked up at him.  He stood with his arms hanging limply at his side like a misunderstood prophet or a sad clown, a look of pity and gentleness on his face.  “It’s a beautiful day,” he said again.  Thank God for safe, commonplace things to talk about like the weather!  A few cheers erupted from the house down the street.  I asked him what was going on.  He told me it was the World Cup, but that he wasn’t into organized sports.  “Me neither,” I said, “I just like disorganized sports.”  He let out a short, hearty laugh, one of the first that I’ve heard.

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