Sam’s Story: "This Could Be the Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship…."

I started the Sam’s Story blog a couple of years ago. I wanted to write it from the viewpoint of Sam, my beloved grey-cheeked parakeet, who died on February 17, 2011 at the age of twenty-one. He was a real character, and I thought it would be fun to observe the world through his eyes.

Collin and Sam - Copy

It might have been, had he still been alive. But it just became too painful, so I shut the blog down for a few months while I decided where to go with it. I think I’ve figured it out. I hope. I can write about Sam–and my other critter companions–here when the spirits move me.

Sam was six months old, not long out of the shell, when we found each other at a small pet shop in south St. Louis. I’d gone there to buy a parrot for my dad for Father’s Day. He’d seen one he really liked, but Dad wasn’t the type to spend that kind of money on himself, so I was going to surprise him.

The surprise was on me. The bird Dad wanted had already been sold. Disappointed, I wandered around the store for a bit, considered trying another pet shop, maybe settling for a different bird…but as I wandered through the store the store, I found the love of my life. That’s what it’s like, you know, when you find the animal companions who are meant to be yours. It’s a little like falling in love when you see them for the first time. You just know in your heart that it’s right.

I knew it. Sam knew it, too. There were two birds in the cage. One was shy and moved to the back. The other, my Sam, came forward with the boldness I came to know was just his personality. He looked up at me as if he’d recognized me immediately and wanted to renew an old friendship.

I think that’s why I decided to name him Sam. I had never given two animal companions the same name before…but he reminded me so much of a canary-winged parakeet I’d had as a teenager, it just felt right. Coincidentally, Sam the First had come from a store directly across the street from that little pet shop, twenty years earlier. If I believed in reincarnation….

At any rate, I knew this was meant to be. I told one of the sales clerks I wanted to buy him. When he opened the cage, Sam flew out—and straight up to the cash register. He was anxious to go home!

It was to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship….

Originally posted at Sam’s Story on February 27, 2013. Also reposted at WordPress.

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Scamp’s Story: I Love Animals…It’s People I Can’t Tolerate….

That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but much of the time, I do prefer the company of animals to that of humans. Animals are not petty or insincere. Animals don’t lie, though they can occasionally be manipulative. They’re not judgmental. They don’t care what you have or don’t have, only how you treat them. In short, they’re not as much of a pain in the butt as most people are. This is the first time in my life I’m not sharing my home and my life with a critter of some kind.

With critters, what you see is what you get.

Maybe I’m more at ease with critters because I grew up with them. We lived on a farm during most of my childhood. There weren’t many kids around, so my playmates usually had four legs, feathers, hooves or, occasionally, scales.

Scamp joined our family when I was five. I’d had another dog who’d died, and my parents felt I needed a new best friend as soon as possible. Mom found an ad in the newspaper and took me along to see the pup who was in need of a new home. She didn’t tell me we were looking for a dog for me. She wanted to see how I responded to the pup first.

The pup was maybe a month old, a collie-terrier mix. She was a ball of black and white fuzz with warm, intelligent eyes and an affectionate nature. And the connection between us was immediate. Mom was convinced this was the right dog to take away my sadness at having lost Trouble.

I loved the movie Lady and the Tramp, so it was easy to choose a name for my new friend. Scamp was the name of their pup. Okay, the pup in the movie was a male and my new canine companion was female, but did that really matter?

We were inseparable from the start. The only time we weren’t together was when I was in school. Scamp slept with me. She tagged along when I went horseback riding. We watched TV together. Mom and Dad said they never worried when I was out of sight, because as long as I was with the dog and the horse, I was safe.

Scamp and I grew up together. I was sixteen when she died, and I had a difficult time dealing with the loss…especially since she died because she’d been protecting me. I’d had a run-in with a neighborhood idiot. The moron hit me. Scamp bit him. He shot her. She didn’t die right away, but complications from the gunshot made it necessary for her to be euthanized.

She’s been gone over forty years now. Hard to believe it’s been that long….

Cover Reveal: THE PARTNER’S PROGENY by Shelly Arkon

My good friend and fellow author Shelly Arkon is about to release a wonderful short story with a great cover by none other than my brilliant son, Collin.  The Partner’s Progeny will be available as an ebook at Amazon in early July, so be sure you get a copy. It’s only $.99–a steal!

The Partner's Prodigy (1)

Bullies rule … or do they?

For seventeen years, Victoria Sheek has been a paralegal surpervisor at the Law Offices of Pereene, Carr, and Sevino, specializing in injury law. Rumors portray her as a bully. She remains confident that her position will never cease because of close relations to one of the founding partners, Mr. Carr.

Until Mr. Pereene, the head partner, hires Monica Bowman. Smitten with her because of her resemblance to his deceases granddaughter, Melissa, and his memories of her, she can do no wrong.

Which one of the two girls will keep their position at the firm? It takes an unexpected event to decide the outcome of their rivalry….

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Shelly Arkon is the author of Secondhand Shoes.

When Shelly isn’t doing the laundry, cleaning, cooking, chasing grandkids, listening to daughter drama (five of them), or lopping heads of hair at the salon, she’s writing beside her two fur-peeps, Sir Poops and Hair Ball, popping an occasional chocolate while her hubby is flipping through TV channels.

She lives in New Port Richey with her husband and two dogs. She’s also a member of Florida Writer’s Association and Writers of Mass Distraction.

Follow Your Heart…No Matter How Crazy the Directions Might Sound!

Most parents teach their children. I learn from mine.

All of Collin’s jobs except for the current one have been in the restaurant business. He’s been a dishwasher, a busser, a server, and briefly, a crew chief. I always told him he could do better. I encouraged him–no, make that pushed him–to realize his potential. He’s very bright, but not always the best at communicating. He was, in his youth, painfully shy. Working in the three restaurants–a cafeteria and two IHOPs–has helped him to overcome that, for the most part. No, working conditions have not always been perfect, but what job is, really?

He went to college for a time, but discovered that (like his mother) he has no fondness for the classroom environment. He listened to his mother (for once!) and got out of restaurant work. It didn’t take him long to realize that in spite of being good at his new job and being able to walk to work as opposed to the ninety-minute commute to IHOP, he really missed being a server. He missed most of his co-workers and missed interacting with customers.

He wanted to go back, but kept it to himself at first.

When he finally told me, we talked about it. I told him there’s no such thing as a “dummy” job, that every job is important. Where would we be, after all, if everyone were doctors or lawyers or–God forbid–politicians?  I told him if this is what he really wants to do, he should do it. Real success comes from making a living doing what you love…whatever that happens to be. It made me think of a line from one of my favorite movies, Bruce Almighty, when God (played by Morgan Freeman) tells Bruce (Jim Carrey) that some of the happiest people in the world come home smelling to high heaven at the end of the day.

And it made me realize that I haven’t always practiced what I preach. Sure, I found the creative freedom I craved in self-publishing. I love not having deadlines. I love being able to write whatever I want. I love not having to be someone I’m not. I no longer care who gets the biggest advances or the best promotions. With age comes wisdom…sometimes. And then there are other times….

The old competitive me still rears her ugly head occasionally–when I encounter the Dark Side of self-publishing, the author so determined to be number one that he or she feels a need to trash other authors to get there. I’m quick to drag out the bestseller lists and the six-figure advances and the ads in major publications when I’m faced with an idiot on an ego trip. I turn into someone I’ve never liked very much.

Old (bad) habits die hard….

Also posted at WordPress.