Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pep Talk: "Someone Who Cares"

This Pep Talk, initially, popped from cranium while driving toward a Mac and Doog remote at Lukas Liquors. On Denver’s south side, near Park Meadows, owner Larry Merfeld and crew, including darling fiancee Tyson, are fun to hang with. Every other Thursday, co-host Jimmy Doogan and yours truly enjoy three hours of sports talk radio sitting next to the front door and watching patrons pour - no pun intended - in and out of the store.

It’s also a good opportunity to buy darling girlfriend a new bottle of red zinfandel, her favorite wine. So while cruising south on Interstate 25 near Orchard Road, the mood is good, despite the Colorado Rockies, in an afternoon affair against Oakland, demoralizing ninth consecutive loss. Don’t get me started on that - the phone rings.
“ this Mark McIntosh?” After acknowledging that truth, I counter with, “Who’s this?” Hold on to your hats folks: “Mark, my name is Jenny McElroy, I live near Jackson Hole, Wyoming, read about Bullet’s story in the local paper and wanted you to know I saw a cat last night that might have been Bullet. But the cat seemed younger than 15, so maybe not. Anyway, I left food and water overnight. It wasn’t touched, so I suspect the cat moved on.”
My mind wandered to the staff of the Jackson Hole News and Guide. A dude from Denver - me - had called about a beloved, and missing, cat allegedly headed for this majestic spot in northwest Wyoming with a couple named Don and Marie. These wonderful information junkies and disseminators sensed the plea and ran a story, of concern, for a feline named Bullet. My long-time buddy. Then McElroy, a retired school teacher, read journalist Johanna Love’s great piece and called. 
Nearing my destination, tears began to flow, a mixture of gratefulness and sorrow. Gratefulness for the staff of this cool town’s paper, a woman who cared and others offering advice for locating the family cat who disappeared without a trace after a friend, temporary houseguest and cat caregiver, offered the animal for adoption while we were out of town for the weekend. One veteran newsroom buddy, said, “Mac, get in touch with the local newspaper there.” I think that buddy was Logan Smith. Thanks dude. 
Anyway, the point is this. Let’s not miss a chance this week, when appropriate, to seek out those who have lost their way and then care for them. In this instance, McElroy,  mother of three, grandma to more, great granny to a few, and, oh, let’s not forget married to husband Glenn for almost 62 years, knew others - a pet in this instance - had lost their way and she cared enough to respond.
In a later follow up conversation, McElroy, who taught junior high English for eight years, transformed into a reading specialist and, ultimately, ran a reading lab in a 26-year educational career said something that almost knocked me to the floor. “Mark, I have always been especially kind to kids and animals because they are at the mercy of others.” Amen to that sister. 
Married at the tender age of 13, changing diapers with first-born baby three years later, the Oklahoma native demonstrated something warming the marrow: caring for others. Now this can get tricky. We’re talking caring for, not enabling, others. There’s a fine line there, right? Anyway, the wise darling also stated this gem: “Mark, sometimes bad things happen to good people, or pets.”
Yep, so true. But this week folks, let’s have Jenny McElroy and the News and Guide staff be our guides. They  are wonderfully wired and can sense when someone has lost their way. We’ve been there, right? For a variety of reasons, self-inflicted and others, we lose our way. Man, what an uplifting feeling it is to experience a supportive gesture or encouraging word from someone.
So maybe that’s what this musing is about: this week, seek opportunities - reading the local news is one way - to encourage others. This realization unfolded while third-round action, Tiger was imploding, unfolded in the background at the U.S. Open golf tournament from scenic San Francisco. These moments, weekend writing with sports on the television in the background, used to be Bullet moments. She would sit next to my laptop and, with big green eyes, stare at me. Then, perhaps bored with that exercise,  she’d rise and rub her neck on the corner of the contraption, disappear for a while before returning at some point.
Bullet’s gone now. I doubt I’ll ever see her again. That’s sad. In defense of the friend who gave her away, I had been looking for a soft landing spot for Bullet since darling girlfriend and I desire to take the next step and live together. My soul mate is allergic to cats. My plan was for Bullet to be adopted by an assisted-living facility in Denver. That way, I could visit her and the venue’s residents who might enjoy some companionship. My plan didn’t work. Life rarely unfolds as planned, right?
However, despite the aches of sorrow there are tears of joy for folks like Jenny McElroy, Johanna Love and others who walk the talk when it comes to, that sometimes challenging duty, of caring for others who have lost their way.
Let’s be that person this week. Be someone who cares. Good luck!

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