It's What You Do with What You Got

by Carl Jarvis

"What an absolutely glorious spring day," I sighed, chomping down on a big slice of hot banana bread oozing in butter.
"It could be a little warmer and I wouldn't complain," grumbled Winston, the Wonder Cat, as he sprawled out on the warm deck.
In case you've not met him, let me introduce Winston.  He appeared out of the forest some years back, looked our house over and decided that it would do him just fine.  Something had chomped off his tail and done a little damage to his hip, and he was covered with ticks and fleas.  But Winston was a survivor and we opened our door and our hearts to him, after a trip to the vet, of course.
Winston was lean, sharp-eyed and quick in those days.  Now, glaucoma has claimed his eyesight and too many late-night snacks have fluffed up his soft, black fur to a cuddly 25 pounds.
"I should be out here with the brush axe clearing the tall weeds on the water tank trail," I mused.
"Why would you want to do that?  Just relax and enjoy the sunshine," Winston said, rising up and giving a big stretch.
"Well, I used to be out early in the morning cutting up firewood, clearing the brush along the road and filling potholes.  I just feel guilty sitting here doing nothing."
"So what's so wrong with doing nothing?" Winston purred, trying to clamber up into my lap.
"Look at you," I told him. "You have gotten so fat you can't even hop up on my lap or the bed without help.  Don't you miss those carefree days when you could leap into the air after the butterflies and chase squirrels up the trees?"
Winston began kneading my expansive stomach until I grabbed both of his paws.  "That was then," he said, trying to get around my hands, "and this is now.  Sure I had good times.  But I was young and agile back then.  I'd kill myself if I tried doing that today."
"But I can't help thinking how it was just a few short years ago," I complained.  "I could walk for miles without tiring, cut up fallen trees and pull the logs down where we could cut them up for firewood, and still have enough energy to go out for the evening.  Getting old just isn't what it's cracked up to be."
"If you ask me," Winston said, beginning to do his housekeeping while perched on my lap, "If you ask me, you are spending far too much time missing yesterday.  You're going to wake up one fine day and realize that you've missed today."
Winston hopped down and waddled over to a spot on the deck that had been warmed by the sun, sprawling out full length. "Yes," he yawned. "Those were good times, and I did enjoy every minute.  But today is good times, too.  I would rather focus on the joy of being here now than to become frustrated wishing I could go back in time."  Winston looked up at me and then closed his eyes.  As he drifted off to sleep he murmured, "Remember, it's what you do with what you got that counts."
I considered the words of Winston the Wonder Cat as I reached for another tasty slice of banana bread.  "You know," I said to myself, "I think you've got something there, my chubby little buddy.  I'm going to start right now to enjoy today for all that it is, and with all that I have to give it."