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May 24, 2005
What's-Her-Name tosses me an idle glance as I pass by. She is chewing on a blade of grass she found growing in the crack of the sidewalk.

And what's wrong with the catmint? I ask. I planted a bed of catmint for the three of them last summer, and it has been luxuriantly reborn this spring, so much so that I have had to pull out a few plants to make room for a nice clematis on one side and a few more on the other side to allow some sunlight to reach a few struggling zinnias.

As usual, What's-Her-Name does not explain. Cats are supposed to love catmint. I thought they'd be cavorting drunkenly in it most of every day, and have been looking forward to the show. Except for one nap in its shade, though, What's-Her-Name has ignored the catmint and so have the others, preferring to nibble ordinary grass instead. Cats are carnivores, but everybody likes a salad now and then. She doesn't stroll the ten easy feet over to the catmint and ensconce herself under its leafy canopy. No -- she sits in the window box, into which she must leap four feet straight up. She sits on a freshly planted lobelia, smashing it into the dirt.

I approach What's-Her-Name with the leafy end of the pulled-up catmint. Look, I coo, catmint! The good stuff! She recoils against the stairs and glares at me. Then she turns and walks away to a position under the picnic table. Oh, well. I lay the bunch of greenery down, give it a final shake toward her, and walk away myself. When I come back around the corner of the house a few minutes later, she has buried her nose in it.

Just couldn't give me the satisfaction, could you? I tell her. She looks at me and almost sighs. Then she stalks off into the back yard.

They are like teenagers: don't hold your breath waiting for yours to tell you that she's been thinking things over and you were right after all and thanks for the advice, Mom. You probably won't get that until you're dead, and by then you'll be in heaven and too perfect to really enjoy it.

But that's okay. You can wait forever for those words -- and you may well do so. What you planted wasn't for you anyway. It was for them.
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