Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Francisco Connection

My earlier post about animal friends, past and present, had greater consequences than I anticipated.

Sure, I had the time to think in order and detail about the warmth and comfort and sense of connectedness one experiences when riffling through the deck of friends. It also enhanced the muscle memory that goes with being a friend to those animals and humans whose life touches my own. Not to forget the sense of late summer holiday, the pre-Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas celebration that comes from the cyber recollections of others about their splendid friendships. Liz reminds me of her Jack and the connection she has forged with my Sally (whom I', sure considers herself to have initiated the connection with Liz). John Eaton offers up some pals in ways that make me wish I could have known them. Nor do I forget the lovely portrait Pod posted of his antipodean pal, Portia. It is nice to be connected by the tissue of pleasure at friends having good, close friends.

To use the legal parlance seen in some writs and decisions, Comes before us now one Francisco, who wonders if Sam, the splendid short-hair who came to visit me when I lived in the Hollywood Hills, probably in walking distance from where fictional LAPD detective Harry Bosh lives. Francisco straightforwardly asks if Sam=Hipshot?

It took a few moments for the penny to drop (an expression that surely betrays my age): Sam was Sam, I said almost impatiently. Hipshot, ah, Hipshot was a character in a comic strip, Rick O'Shay, set in the indeterminate old West. Tall, tow-headed Rick was the sheriff, Hipshot was a gun fighter, a pretty cool character who had his own, individualized code.

One day, there appeared in my apartment a smallish, gray long-hair, an agreeable, fluffy ball of mischief who enjoyed playing more than eating and whom Sam seemed content to admit. Somehow this young visitor became called Hipshot. At first it was thought that Hipshot was a boy, and as I recall the sequence of events, this assumption held for quite some time before Hipshot grew visibly rounder, disappeared for a time, then appeared one day with a tiny kitten in her mouth, which she deposited on the carpet, disappeared for a time, returned with another wriggly kit, and disappeared again. Before she returned, there was an insistent ringing of the buzzer on my front door, heralding the arrival of a harried-looking woman neighbor, who described a cat who she called Nasturtium, a cat who in all probability was Hipshot.

With the news that Hipshot was Nasturtium and a mother, that splendid acquaintance was gone from my sight line, apparently fated to undergo some surgery that would put an end to her maternal instincts.

I am talking about some serious years having past since the advent and departure of Hipshot, including a move from the Hollywood Hills to the city of my birth, Santa Monica, a momentous shift in career from working with Arnold H. Kegel, M.D., whose last name informed a series of exercises, to running a California-based publisher to running an LA office for a NY-based publisher, and then a migration to Santa Barbara, where the editorial toe was thrust into the waters of academic and scholarly publishing, only to be tempted by another New York venture.

From the mists of those years and my developing connection with The University, an institution even funnier than Book Publishing, emerges Francisco to ask if Sam were Hipshot.

No. As I said earlier, Sam was Sam, and an effectively brilliant Sam at that. And Hipshot was Hipshot until he became Nasturtium.

Perhaps we will see how the Francisco connection plays out. On the other hand, Tolstoy deliberately introduced fascinating characters and events into his novels, notably War and Peace, only to completely abandon further mention of them because, as he put it, "Life is like that."

1 comment:

John Eaton said...

Pirandello would be tickled, Shelly, as would so many others.

We nod and shake our pecan rattles to the west.

Two bearpaws up,

John :)