It will come as no surprise, Hermit that I am, that I spend Thanksgiving by myself, in the company of my cats and my computer. There is always a place where someone’s table is available to me, but I prefer politely declining the offers wherever I can get away with it. This is not a sad or mournful thing. This is a lifestyle choice; I’m more or less allergic to the turkey part of the meal, and I’m just not a fan of the holiday. There might come a day that I put to paper the things about the holiday season that I most deeply feel, but today is not that day.

Over the nine years Daisy was alive, I made a luscious meal that always included some form of beef, and then we would, like the rest of you out there, eat like a couple of fat kids on Halloween night and then take a nap. This year, my daughter and granddaughter brought me an amazing homemade chicken pot pie on their way to somewhere else, and I couldn’t have been more happy. It was a bittersweet day, of course, because it was the first Thanksgiving without Daisy but I did have her surviving “cat sisters” to keep me company.

I understand there are a lot of you out there who love, and some of you even prefer, cats surrounding you in your everyday lives… And I respect you for that… But my everyday life is far richer when a dog is the central figure in it. The cats you see pictured at the top are full sisters. The fat one on the left is named Harriet, and the cute, cuddly one on the right (literally half Harriet’s size and age) is named Opal. They are both loving and affectionate, although I’m quite sure Harriet was a terrorist in a past life, and I’m as sure as I can be that Opal is as dumb as a box of rocks; nonetheless, I love them unconditionally, and they could not be more useless to me in my writing endeavors then if they were stuffed animals.

I have a very dear friend with whom I have a great deal in common, not the least of which is a shared love of writing and of dogs. We are, more or less, pen pals, and I tell her all the time I think of her as my forever friend. I recently pointed out to her, on the matter of cats, that I was as sure as I could be the entire reason cats are even on the face of the earth is to remind us what not giving a fuck actually looks like, up close and personal. I believe this is certainly the case as it relates to my two ladies, and the whole reason I even brought this up is that I asked them for their opinion on what I was working on as I took this picture. What you see was their response. Harriet was put out that I woke her up, and Opal was pretty sure she heard the word treats in my question even though that word never passed my lips.

When I first created my account on Substack, I knew you could use it to generate revenue. That was something I never intended to do and still won’t do; I write because it brings me joy and, quite honestly, with so much incredible talent on this platform worthy of being paid for their efforts, I’m thankful to just be here and be allowed a space to do my thing while treasuring those of you worth being invested in. I had that “conversation” with Daisy back then(best-sounding board that ever lived) and convinced myself that “Forever Free” was going to be my jam.

Clicking around Substack in recent weeks, I kept coming across these links embedded in various entries inviting readers to buy them a coffee. As I always do, I mulled it over, decided against it, reconsidered, and then figured out how to create an account and how to embed a link to accept donations.

My account was always set up to accept paid subscriptions, but I have never pushed for that, and several of you have generously paid to subscribe anyway (I’m honored by that, and thank each of you very much for it.

It occurred to me that having a tip jar, so to speak, for those of you, like me, who only have so much money to go around, would be a great alternative way to show a little love.

I never dreamed the day would come when I could say I was nearing 200 subscribers… That is jaw-dropping to me and far beyond my wildest dreams when I started off on this writing journey, but now that I’m here, I can only say thank you and commit to staying “forever free” as my show of appreciation for people taking the time to read and interact with my little corner of the interwebs.

There is a button at the top of my main Hermit Chronicles page that says, “Tip the Hermit.” In the footer of future publication release emails, you will see this text (which will include a link): Hermit Chronicles is “forever free” Alas, coffee is not. I am eternally grateful for your interest in my little corner of the interwebs and appreciate your support. Paid subscriptions are available, though not required, and you are more than welcome to buy me a coffee or otherwise contribute to the cause by clicking here. Either way, thank you for being here!

I ran all of this by Harriet and Opal, but as you might imagine, they did not give a fuck about any of this and were only concerned about when the hell I was going to stop paddling on into the microphone and bust out the treats again.


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