Pet-Centric Reflections

Do It Now Because

My travel blog turned one year old in September 2019. I can’t really believe that I finally did it. You know how you promise yourself that you are going to do something . . . (insert a personal dream) but you never find the time because you have so much else to do (insert a distraction) … well I think a lot of us push things into the future indefinitely.

Well, 14 months ago, on July 13, I spontaneously decided in the back of a London taxi racing to catch a connecting flight at Gatwick after my United flight from Washington Dulles Airport ran three hours late that now was my time to become a travel blogger.

So I researched my options to buy my website——and then charged $249.60 to my MasterCard sitting in a cab on a congested highway (while fearing that I would miss EZY836 flight to Bari, Italy). Idiotically, I thought I would be up and running and publishing daily blogs with gorgeous photographs during my trip to Matera and Puglia.

Looking down on Sassi District

But nothing worked right on WordPress; I couldn’t figure how to format photos; and, I abandoned the website by day three of the trip. Boy was I frustrated and mad!

Now if there is one thing which irks me is spending money for a service or subscription which I then don’t use. So two months later with my September 29 birthday fast approaching, I asked my son Byron to help me launch my website. And he did (rather effortlessly)! There are about eight of my readers out there who received my personal call or email to PLEASE read my travel blog. You know who you are. And I will be internally grateful that you cared enough to read my blog.

But I have one friend in particular who I want to remember. I first met her in 1997 when we hired her as a temp worker for TLF Publications. But she soon became like a grandmother to Byron and Claire. We invited her to every family party. She watched my children grow up. She would cat-sit my crazy Siamese when I traveled.

Her name is Patsy. But the kids nicknamed her “Catsy” because she was the cat whisperer. All our Siamese—and believe me the list is LONG—adored her. Well, Patsy read all 18 blogs I published in the first four months after my website’s launch. Her favorite was the Cats of Croatia.

After seeing my photo of a cute calico cat preening herself on a boat dock, Patsy emailed me: “Send the Calico home to me. I loved your travel lol. Have fun.” She delighted in every article where I included a cat I met during my travels.

So I couldn’t wait to call her over the MLK holiday last January to tell her about my vacation weekend in Thurmont, Maryland. She knew that I packed up both my Siamese cats (Henry and Eliot) to stay at the cabin. My adult “kids” brought their retrievers (Calvin and Perry).

We spent a glorious weekend as a family exploring the backwoods, trekking through snow, running in the creek, and picking up sticks. But all the joy of that perfect weekend dissipated with the news on Monday (as I was driving back to Washington DC) that Patsy had died on January 21.

“And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Antoine De Saint-Exupery

So don’t delay what your heart yearns to do. And always tell the people you love how much they mean to you. Life is shorter than you think.

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  • Beth
    September 28, 2019 at 10:28 am

    This is heartbreaking and beautiful. Cheers to Patsy and friends and family and the journey of life!

    • Terri Markle
      September 29, 2019 at 7:58 am

      I always think of my friend Patsy when I read the Mary Oliver poem called “Angels.” “You might see an angel anytime
      and anywhere. Of course you have to open your eyes to a kind of second level, but it’s not really hard.” Thank you for writing your comment Beth!

  • Lauren
    September 30, 2019 at 10:48 am

    Oh this one got me!! Such a beautiful tribute to a lovely soul…and congratulations on your blog-a-versary! I hope FemaleSoloTrek is around for many years to come….please feel free to send all the stray animals you find my way! -Lauren Malloy

    • Terri Markle
      October 20, 2019 at 8:05 am

      Oh Lauren you just make me smile with your big heart! I think of Patsy every day and miss her so much. Thank you.