• Last modified 753 days ago (June 23, 2022)


It takes more than a hiss
for economy to purr

The meek won’t inherit the Earth. Cats will — if they haven’t already. Seemingly the most adaptable of creatures, they rarely see glasses as half full or half empty. They’re merely places where paws can be dipped, tastes can be lapped up, and, if the spirit moves, gentle nudges can create ample attention by forcing humans to cry over spilt milk — or whatever else the glasses happen to contain.

Cats don’t hang their heads in shame in the manner of the humans they own or the distant canine cousins they often quarrel with. Admonish them and they adapt. If you don’t want them shedding fur on living room chairs, they’ll be happy to do so on your bedroom pillows instead. And if they wear out their welcome there, they’ll calmly sit, nose in corner, like a kid on time-out, making you feel guilty for depriving them of a throne room appropriate to their regal nature.

These days, we’re all a bit like cats. Fuel prices may be rising, but so are the mounds of wheat pouring into elevators. Harvest is at last underway, and we’ve gathered not our rosebuds but our hay during a respite in rain that previously would have made Noah nervous.

Marion appears to have found a qualified new city manager — provided terms of a contract can be worked out.

Hush-hush sessions of the Marion-Florence school board have been called off, at least for now, so harvest can been tended to.

Government employees and contractors are resting comfortable in the knowledge that inflation will allow their dole of taxpayer money to continue. Voters won’t challenge tax rates that won’t have to rise under the legislature’s insipid “revenue neutral budgeting” rule.

Even the cloud of being unable to find enough workers to keep many businesses operating efficiently has a silver lining — historically low unemployment rates.

All of us can relax, like a cat warming itself in the sun, and drink in the wealth of new options available to us as the number of places selling beer foams up like the head on a frosty one and the game of gambling on sports becomes legally open and above board.

All of this will let us be just as productive and contributing to the improvement of our community as the contributions currently being made by the 17-year-old tiger-and-white domestic shorthair that is the mistress of my household, supplanting the 97-year-old legal mistress of the house who yours truly attempts to help with things she seldom actually needs help with.

Age may have robbed both of the elderly females in the household of some of the cat-like reflexes of their youth. But both remain fully capable of an occasion catty remark — or, in one case, a mournful meow — when things aren’t precisely to their liking. Fortunately, neither cats around much outside the home.

At their age, it’s understandable — much more so than the detached lack of involvement of those who seem to have taken COVID-19 as an invitation to retire at a very early age from being productive members of society.

Amid all the positives of harvest are the negatives of complaints about eliminating temporary pandemic benefits like free school lunches for all kids and monthly rather than bimonthly distributions of free food from the government.

Even actual retirees seem less likely to get involved these days. Rural communities like ours often have depended on native sons and daughters returning home, investing both their time and their money in repaying their birthplace for benefits they have enjoyed as younger adults. Nowadays, it seems, everyone wants to be like the feline mistress of the household, sitting in a corner with nose against the wall, occasionally protesting but rarely doing anything about it.

We may be unable to teach old dogs new tricks, but cats — both old and young — seem forever unwilling to learn any tricks except those that involve somehow grabbing onto something they probably aren’t supposed to have.

Our cats remain quite dear to us, and we would do anything for them — including spending more per day on cat food than complaining parents will on school lunches.

But if we hope to ever escape the doldrums of our pandemic, we need to realize they’re pets, not role models, and it’s time for all of us to do everything we can to contribute to a better functioning community.


Last modified June 23, 2022