The World Was Meditating

So, it was 50 years ago today that Brian Epstein died of was thought to be an accidental overdose of barbiturates and alcohol. Brian was the manager of the Beatles. He played a crucial role in them getting their 1st recording contract with Parlophone records after he met with music producer George Martin. As good as their music turned out to be, and as entertaining as they were, it is unlikely that anyone outside of Liverpool would have ever heard of them if it hadn’t been for Brian Epstein. I think it was only 3 years ago that he was finally admitted to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame in the nonperformance category. Mike is a big fan of the Beatles and especially of their music. Mike grew up in that generation in which a variety of drugs were abundantly available, and all kinds of taboo behaviors were suddenly openly practiced. Indeed, I think you could say that there was an epidemic of drug abuse during the 60’s. In the “nothing is new under the sun” department look where we are today with the current opioid epidemic. Right here in Happy Meadows we had the recent overdose of Ashley Grimes, who fortunately lived through it and just got back from treatment in Mississippi. It seems as though people find life very stressful and seek relief in drugs and alcohol. Drugs and alcohol also add excitement to what many people perceive as a sense of boredom, and possibly from a sense of purposelessness to their lives. Unfortunately, all too quickly the drugs and alcohol simply add to the stress. A person’s normal coping skills and judgment are overwhelmed by the compulsion to drink and use drugs until something gives. Those who are fortunate make it into treatment, but many people die before they have that chance…… like Brian Epstein. He was seeing a psychiatrist and probably getting the best care that was available at the time. But his doctor was prescribing some of the drugs that he wound up overdosing on, and probably had no idea how much other drugs and alcohol Brian was consuming. Also, quality addiction treatment was not readily available back then in the UK or anywhere else for that matter.

So, Ashley is back in town but she is not living at home. She is  staying at a sober living house where she is getting additional treatment. I think they are drug screening her just about every other day. She has to go to classes and meetings, and her family  has therapy sessions down there. She is working making sandwiches at a little sandwich shop. One of the developments that came out of all this is Richie’s girlfriend,Hallie, has been outed as a drug user by Ashley. Ashley had to make a list of all the people that she needs to avoid in order to be allowed to return to the Atlanta area. Hallie turned up on her list which is a good thing because her family has gotten her into counseling and they are drug screening her several times per week also. I also know that Richard and Bianca Donkle talked with her parents shortly after Ashley overdosed. Richard is also drug screening Richie frequently. Richie says that he never used drugs which may be true, but he was drinking some and he has stopped that altogether as well. He had to or Hallie wouldn’t be allowed to associate with him. So it looks like the parents have stepped up and done what they were supposed to do. And I think I mentioned in a previous post that Mike arranged for Richie to meet with Dr. Kingsley for an assessment. He is still meeting with a therapist at her office fairly regularly and he is going to family support group. I was over at the Donkle’s the other day when I heard Hallie admit to Richard and Bianca that she had become addicted to the pills. She said she was glad that she had stopped using and was in a recovery program of her own, going to meetings and seeing a therapist. Richie is finally admitting that he realized that things were out of control but was afraid to say anything.

I had mentioned in a recent post ( The Double Identity Discovered, posted on 7/24/17) that Richard Donkle had asked for Mike’s advice about what to do with Richie; and also in his capacity as the HOA president, what we should be doing as a community and a neighborhood. Mike is going to start to write an article about substance abuse in the monthly Happy Meadows newsletter which goes out online to the residents every month. He has also written an article about medication-assisted treatment that is posted on his website. You can find it at, if you are interested. It is also posted on Linked-in. Mike and Richard are still talking and they may do some other things. I’ve heard that there may be a family support group started at the clubhouse soon. I think that would be a good idea. There is also a lot of programming going on in the local schools and churches. The more awareness of the problem, the more people are going to get help before it’s too late.

So, we had our eclipse this past Monday. A lot of people went up to North Georgia or over to South or North Carolina or even up to Tennessee from around here to experience it. Of course, I stayed in Happy Meadows. It was a much more interesting experience than I expected it to be. It got dark enough at the height of the eclipse that the critters started to act like they do in the evening. Very confusing. The sun was casting weird shadows as it filtered through the leaves. Mike took some pictures out in the parking lot by his office. I will put 2 or 3 up the show you. He also took some pictures when he and Judy were in the Highlands recently. I’ll put a couple of these up as well. He even took a video for me of butterflies. He knows how much I love butterflies.  The quality of the video isn’t good enough for me to post, but he will work on his technique. It seems that for a lot of people the eclipse was an occasion to have a party and get drunk. I know people that drove all day back and forth to North Georgia or elsewhere to experience the eclipse only to be surrounded by noisy people. It’s really a shame because one of the unique aspects of the eclipse was the eerie quiet that developed. I hope many of you had a chance to experience the quiet. It was a little bit like the world was meditating.

The Cat’s Meow

So, you probably remember that a few weeks ago Ashley Grimes overdosed. You’re probably wondering what happened to her. I had been somewhat wondering the same thing. The other day I was back at Richard Donkle’s place and I overheard Hallie and Richie talking about her. It seems that she has been sent out of state for treatment of her addiction. They didn’t have too much to say about it so I can’t tell you any more than that. I’m glad she’s still alive and will get another shot at life. It’s hard to have to make such serious life and death decisions when you’re young. I hear Mike talking some about addiction and recovery at the house. His medical specialty is addiction medicine, so he has a lot of experience treating folks like her. He knows what she is up against, including the fact that many heroin addicts have multiple relapses before they get into ongoing recovery, if they are fortunate enough to make it that far.

The last time I went up to the Donkle’s there was nobody there except for their maid, and the place was locked up tight. As long as I was there I went over to the kennel. They have a nice outdoor enclosure for their for German shepherds. Ever since our 1st meeting they have given me plenty of space (Veni, Vidi, Vici, posted 3/26/17). I really have nothing against them as long as they don’t try to kill me. Now that Richard lets me into the house on a regular basis they are regarding me as someone who is supposed to be there so their territorial instincts don’t kick in any longer. And of course, they are still afraid of me. But I didn’t spend too much time there. I wandered back across the expanse of lawn and back into the subdivision of Happy Meadows. I decided to go visit David, a fellow that lives by himself near the entrance to the subdivision where the houses are a little smaller. David spends a lot of time sitting on his front porch. He smokes cigarettes and takes naps. David used to go to work wearing some kind of a uniform like a policeman, but he has been sick and has not been working for quite some time. I’ve heard Mike say that David has cancer. Every Saturday afternoon Mike goes over to David’s house and spends a couple of hours visiting with him. Mike always brings him a few groceries. David is getting to where he really can’t eat any longer but he tries to get some canned something-or-other into himself. I think it’s a nutritional supplement. He has been losing weight. He used to be a very husky, strong man. I understand that he used to have quite a temper and could be violent. This might be why he lives alone. David enjoys my visits. He always talks to me nicely and calls me Magic. I’ll jump up on his lap and he’ll pet me. I have to be careful not to put any pressure on his abdomen because it hurts and he winces when I do that. I certainly don’t want to hurt him. Sometimes he gets up to go in the house and he always lets me come in as well. He doesn’t have any pets of his own and he must get quite lonely. Last weekend Mike didn’t make it by because he and Judy went up to the mountains in North Carolina. They seemed to enjoy themselves very much. I heard Mike say that the tent caterpillars are alive and well in North Georgia. I see them here also but apparently there is a much greater infestation up north. Mike and Judy talked about the eclipse mania that they encountered in North Georgia and Western North Carolina. It seems that the day after tomorrow we are expecting a near total eclipse of the sun here in Marietta and a total eclipse of the sun further north where they were. They are expecting over 100,000 people to come up for the eclipse. I think I’ll stay right here and settle for a 95% eclipse experience. I’ll let you know what it was like. Apparently there are people who go all over the world to view eclipses. I never would’ve imagined such a thing. But whatever floats your boat, I guess.

Ladybug had to go to the Extreme Vet yesterday. They did their usual poking and prodding and gave her a rabies shot. She got a mani-pedi as well. I wasn’t around when it happened but Shayna Maidel and Jackson told me that she complained loudly about it. That sounds about right. Well, I’m glad she had a good checkup. We don’t need any sick cats to give us added stress around here.

Now that I think about it, not much is happening right now in Happy Meadows. Maybe that’s why I haven’t posted anything for 3 weeks. I hope you haven’t missed me too much, and of course I hope you haven’t forgotten about me. At least, it looks like the whackos are not going to blow up the world after some stupid saber rattling. So, life goes on. I hope your life is as good as mine. But what could be better than being a little black cat that gets a lot of love? It’s the cats meow.