The tiny Boston Bull Terrier doorstop is a reminder of my late mother-in-law, Lois. She looked more — much more — like a young Susan Sarandon than a terrier, but she loved her little Boston Bulls, the whole series of them. I believe there was Happy I, Happy II, and Happy III. By the time she and I met, in 1982, it was the era of Happy III, and he was old, fat, and deformed with skin growths. I can’t explain why, but I always pictured Happy III smoking a big cigar, á la Sir Winston Churchill.
The spraddle-legged sheep in the chair is a totem that keeps the soul of my late stepson, Darryl, ever-present in my memory. At the tender age of 45, Darryl died on a beautiful October day in 2005 from a massive heart attack. He was sitting in a chair, on a concrete patio, all by himself. He ate lunch, smoked a cigarette, and fell forward onto the concrete, finished. Buck and I had seen him that morning. He and I shared a pot of coffee. My last words to Darryl were: “Don’t worry. Everything will be all right.” To this day, I don’t know what prompted me to say that.
Anyway. Darryl, the tow-headed, wayfaring boy, used to laugh in that self-deprecating way of his, and tell me that he was the black sheep of the family. My standard riposte was, “Oh, no, you’re not the black sheep — maybe a little gray — but not black.” And so, when I saw this stuffed, gray sheep, he became “The Gray Sheep,” and a totem for our desperado too soon gone.
I moved furniture around in my study yesterday so that I would have a cozy spot near the fireplace with a good reading light.
There’s even a chair for a guest to pull up and warm their feet, too. (See my old red slippers?)
If you look at my Goodreads “currently reading” shelf on the sidebar, you’ll discern what I’m thinking about here at the start of 2013 rather quickly. There’s You Are Not A Gadget by Jaron Lanier, The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains, by Nicholas G. Carr, Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other, by Sherry Turkle, and Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s Antifragile: How to Live in a World We Don’t Understand, (the “Black Swan theory” guy).
Pull up and chair and let’s talk.