Fri, Oct 25, 1985
It was a comfy old ranch house in Menlo Park. The elderly couple wanted a platform built in the garage above where they parked their Lexus. They wanted to store suitcases and Christmas decorations up there.
The carpenter climbed a ladder to look around.
The old woman was wearing a flour-dusted apron over a calico dress. She said to her husband, “Eugene, you’d better move the cat dish from under the ladder. We wouldn’t want the man to fall on it and hurt himself.”
Not budging and in no hurry, white-haired Eugene stared first at the loft area. Slowly he lowered his eyes to the floor. “If he falls,” the old man said, “he’ll hit the beam up there and break his neck. Then he'll hit the water heater and the washing machine. He’ll be dead long before he reaches the cat dish.”
“Oh,” his wife said. “All right then.”
The cat dish remained, unmoved, under the ladder.
(True story, which became a passage in my novel Clear Heart, Chapter 29.)