The Law of Nature Category

“Find me a house on some acreage, something that backs up to a lake or better yet, to a state park with some sort of reserve. Diane, I just can’t take the barking dogs anymore! I tell you, the dogs in this neighborhood are driving me crazy! I can’t get any sleep,” sobbed my good friend, Susie.

“How many cats do you have now?” I asked.

“Eight, eight cats,” Susie answered.

“I see, well, what will you do with the cats if you sell your house here, and have to move into an apartment for a while?”

“I can’t do that. No one will let me. And anyway, all of the cats but two are feral. And, they wouldn’t be happy in an apartment. They are not happy now. They are spraying everything in sight. Those dogs bark twenty-four seven, and the owners act like – ‘who doesn’t like dogs?’ You should see the way the neighbors look at me. I can’t take any more dirty looks.”

“Why would they do that?”

“I guess because I’ve called the cops so many times. Diane, you don’t know how bad this situation is. And I am tired of moving, but I can’t get any sleep. I have to work at night. The daytime is the only time I can sleep. I explained that to the neighbors that I’m a night-shift nurse. I need to sleep during the day.”

“What was their response?”

“Another slammed door!”

“I’m surprised you moved out of that retirement community.”
“I thought that would be perfect too. No big wheels, no loud music, just older people. Some of them did their own yard work, and I heard lawnmowers and weed eaters from sun up to sun down. The noise was constant. Please find me something in the country,” sobbed Susie.

“I thought you had acreage here in Stone Mountain.”

“I do, I thought this would be the perfect place. I’m on almost three acres, but am surrounded by houses and they all have dogs. Dogs that bark at my cats all the time…”

“I see, we’ll have to go pretty far out and even then, folks in the country like having hunting dogs and dogs for security. How far away from the hospital can you be?”

“Distance doesn’t matter. I work the night shift and my training is in demand. I can work most anywhere, maybe Rome or Dawsonville. It doesn’t matter.”

“Susie those places are more built out than you may think.”

“Diane, I don’t care. Just find me a house, a trailer, a log cabin – anywhere my cats will be happy.”

“I’ll get on it right away.”

As I searched for a home for my good friend, Susie, I came to the realization that no such place existed. Every place I previewed, I heard at least an occasional bark. People have dogs in the country. And a Realtor cannot guarantee a bark free property. Susie is a perfectionist. She is the very one any sick or hurt person would want to care for them in dire need. But trying to fit into a casual relaxed neighborhood situation was almost impossible. She was one-hundred per cent devoted to her patients and cats. No dogs allowed.

The desperation in Susie’s voice reminded me of the days gone by in Tucker with my baby sister, Barbara. Barbara became just as frustrated with perfection. My older sister, Patricia, and I always found ways to keep ourselves entertained, usually together. Barbara insisted on playing with a worn out stuffed  monkey, Monk-Monk, a blonde doll, Sally, and a mason jar of cat-eye marbles. As a child, Barbara sat Monk-Monk and Sally near her to carry on a conversation. And then, she opened up a quart jar of marbles, and spoke to each marble – commanding them to do her bidding. Day after day, she ordered each marble to stand still and stay in a straight line, and most of the time the marbles did cooperate until she got to about the twentieth marble. Slowly but surely, one insubordinate marble broke ranks and rolled away. This disturbed the other marbles and they followed suit, one by one. This behavior made Barbara furious. She stomped her foot and bawled out each marble. Then she cried. Monk-Monk and Sally always agreed with Barbara.

I wish I could say this went on for a short period of time, such as a few weeks or months. But the truth is, Barbara argued with her army of marbles for at least a year or two. I often felt a need to help her.

“You know that those marbles can’t hear you. They don’t have a mind at all. And they are round. Why don’t you line them up against the wall or a groove in the hardwood floor?  That will keep them in line.”

“No, I told them what to do!” replied Barbara.

Barbara Gail Story and Sally

Barbara Gail Story and Sally

“I tell you marbles can’t think! They can’t hear you!”

“Diane, leave your sister alone,” called out Mama.

“But Mama, she thinks the marbles are moving to be mean…”
“You sweep around your own backdoor and let your sister take care of her business.”
“But I’m finished sweeping around my backdoor, and she…”

“She will learn. She’s just a little girl. Now, go find something else to do with your time and leave Barbara alone,” said Mama.

And Daddy was no help either. When he walked past Barbara arguing with the marbles, he encouraged her by patting her on the head and saying, “That’s right Bob, you make ‘em mind!”

For years, Barbara trained her marble troops. She sometimes punished them by making them live in another jar. But no matter what, the marbles did not obey. The situation always ended with at least one insubordinate marble and lots of frustration. It’s the law of nature. Marbles roll, and dogs bark at cats.