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MARTHA SEZ: ‘Darla is constantly besieged with canine and feline asylum seekers’

June 14, 2019
By MARTHA ALLEN ( , Lake Placid News

"We always did feel the same,

"Just saw it from a different point of view

"Tangled up in blue."

-Bob Dylan, "Tangled Up in Blue"

"Our house is like the Jerry Springer Show," my friend Darla told me the other day.

For 27 years, Jerry Springer hosted an outrageous talk show during which fist fights reliably broke out and bleeped-out profanities peppered conversations between guests. The show was canceled by NBCUniversal about a year ago, leaving a legacy of Jerry Springer jokes, including the famous "you are (not) the father" trope, which I mention here only because Father's Day is coming up this Sunday.

Darla was talking about the animals in her household when she made reference to the Jerry Springer Show. Stray dogs and cats seek her out, refusing to believe her tough talk about how, after her current menagerie is gone, there will be NO MORE PETS. Darla is constantly besieged with canine and feline asylum seekers.

Currently, Darla and her partner, Lawrence, are hosting Moose, a miniature pinscher, Peter, a diabetic tomcat, and a newcomer, a black cat called Shadow. Of these three, Moose came first. He was found wandering around a wharf somewhere.

Then Peter showed up, electing to come and go as he pleased. Eventually, Darla discovered that he had diabetes, and now she gives him daily injections of insulin. When Shadow, a youngster, appeared last winter, she insisted that she was not up for adopting another pet. But North Country winters are cold, and animal shelters are full of cats. Darla made him a cozy nest under the porch and put food out. Gradually, by degrees, Shadow insinuated himself into the household.

Now, Darla says, Moose is prepared to befriend Shadow-having already grown accustomed to Peter-but Shadow will not have it. Shadow enters a room, Moose makes an overture, Shadow attacks him and Peter rushes in to defend Moose, giving Shadow a good swat. Just like the Jerry Springer Show.

I read that Jerry Springer will be hosting a new Television show this fall. Perhaps he could do one with animals. The Jerry Springer Spaniel Show.

"Why don't you write about how things you think will be so simple turn out to be so complicated?" my neighbor John suggested last week. He was standing on his porch staring at a carpentry project he was working on. I say the same thing all the time. Why can't anything be simple?

You decide to make chicken and biscuits for dinner. You start making biscuits, but you're out of salt. Why can't you remember to pick up salt when you go to the store? Can't you make biscuits without salt? No, you cannot.

Valley Grocery is closed, but you could go to Stewart's right now. Except for the fact that you are drinking wine and you know that this would be the one time you would get stopped by a trooper for some minor infraction, or maybe a deer would dart out, causing you to veer off and slam into a tree, and talk about things getting complicated! Stewart's is only 5 miles away, and you are probably not impaired, but.

You could borrow salt from your neighbor Lorelei, but you already borrowed an egg from her yesterday. Besides, she would want to talk, and conversations with Lorelei always go on and on.

She would tell you, for the umpteenth time, that salt is bad for your blood pressure. Still, you need salt. Look out the window. She is driving off in her car. Probably going to Stewart's. Maybe she'll run into a deer. Better her than you.

The smoke alarm is going off. Oh, lord. You remembered to preheat the oven, but you forgot to take that pan out...

Diane, a coworker of mine, says that as long as you don't find your purse in the freezer, you're still OK. Little things can get complicated.

Maybe you resent my use of the pronoun you in describing how simple things just naturally become complicated. Maybe you are very organized, and therefore simple things really are simple for you. Maybe you think, correctly, that I am in fact writing about myself.

Relationships get tangled too, though, even for the organized. Things that should be simple and straightforward between people who love each other can become woefully tangled and sometimes impossible to unravel in the time you have left.

Moose, Peter, Shadow? I hope you're listening.

Happy Father's Day, everyone. Have a good week.



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