My Cat Can’t Save Time In A Bottle

by Kevin Burton

   I have a correction today. Got one of my facts wrong.

   The older of the two cats we got in December is 13, not 11 as I previously reported. Page 7 regrets the error. So does Gabbie for that matter.

   The confusion came because the lady at the cat rescue place said “eleven” when I asked how old the cat was. But her paperwork that I obviously didn’t read completely, says she is 13.

  This means I won’t have as much time with Gabbie as I thought, even though on a recent visit, a veterinarian said she was in great shape for her age.  That was when the vet thought Gabbie was 11. She must be in fantastic shape for 13!

   Come to think of it though, my time isn’t guaranteed any more than hers is.

   This age thing sent my mind immediately to “Time In A Bottle,” that haunting, classic song that was a hit for Jim Croce in 1973.  The song is forever more haunting because Croce’s life and his art, were cut tragically short in a plane crash.

   When you eat the last doughnut, don’t you wish you had more?  Magnify the feeling and consider time.

   “There never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do once you find them,” Croce sang. I hear that and I think of scarcity of time, but also of eliminating those things that I don’t want to do.  “Quality time” is a useful term here.

   Did your kindergarten teacher check the little box next to “uses time wisely” on your report card?  What if you had such a report card today?

   Nobody has too much time on his or her hands, just insufficient focus and self-discipline to use the time properly. We say “time is money” to emphasize not wasting business time. But in fact time is way better than money.  Squandered time is the worst because you can’t get it back.

   So I just spun “Time In A Bottle” on You Tube, which then sent me on to “Fire And Rain” by James Taylor.  What a double!

   So now I have Croce reminding me that words can’t make wishes come true and Taylor painting a picture of “sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground.”

   Taylor sings about a girl named Suzanne, a friend of his who committed suicide, thus repudiating some of her time. “I always thought that I’d see you again” is his lament.  Savor not just the time, but the people God puts in your life to spend time with.

   “Lord knows when the cold wind blows it’ll turn your head around,” is a secular proverb from that song. It speaks to truth. Time, receding time, ought to lead one to truth.

   And if I could turn back time? Wow!

   If I could turn back time I would travel back to the scene of my worst choices, my biggest mistakes, and you know what I’d do? I would use an entirely different method to screw things up, something more learned and considered, more nuanced.

   Instead of messing up like the Beverly Hillbillies, I’d mess up like Shakespeare. That’s the truth. I would still mess things up. I thank God that He is such a wise dispenser of time.

   Another favorite song admonishes us to “seize the day.”  I’m down with that in terms of not wasting time, taking full advantage of the day’s opportunities.

   We can’t of course, seize the day literally and stuff it into one of Jim Croce’s bottles. So why not give the day to God, the only one superior to, not affected or regulated by, time.  That way the day is in the only hands that can truly handle it.

   When I try to seize the day I end up with a lot of activity, but maybe not so much progress.

   Time, like soap, is a daily tool, hard to keep a hold of.

   I know this though, one good use for some of your time is to read important papers. If my cat’s paperwork had said “known to attack humans as they sleep” I wouldn’t have seen that either.

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