Tag Archives: good-samaritan

An atheist’s Easter

I’ve mentioned before that I’m an atheist, but I probably didn’t mention that I only became one when I was about seventeen. Until then, I was a Catholic.

I ‘came out’ as an atheist during my matriculation year at school. Back then, matric was year twelve, and your matriculation scores determined which university, and course,  you would be offered. I matriculated at an all-girl, Catholic convent school.

The headmistress of the school was an amazing woman called Sister Philomena. She was not a cuddly nun. She was an academic in a wimple, and once she [and the local priest and representatives from the arch diocese] accepted that my claim was genuine, she did two amazing things. First, she allowed me to stay at school and finish my matric. Second, she allowed me to skip religion classes. This amounted to approximately half an hour of free time every day. I spent that time practising the piano in one of the music rooms. I’ve often wondered whether I would have passed matric piano without all that extra practice time.

The reason I’m boring you all with this ancient history is so you’ll understand that I’m still a committed atheist, but my ethics have their roots in the Catholic concepts of sacrifice, charity, compassion and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Those are the concepts I consciously retained after much questioning. I retained them because they gelled with who I was as a person. I still believe in them, especially the ‘do unto others’ bit.

In my not so humble opinion, compassion and empathy are the two greatest human traits. They are the only traits that make us worthwhile as a species. They are the only traits that balance out the greed and selfishness and outright hatred that always lead us to war.

Yet when I look at the world on this Good Friday, 2019, I see nothing but greed and selfishness and outright hatred in the West. The US, the UK, parts of Europe and Australia are all in the grip of a frenzy of ‘us against them’, and I can’t see a way out because each side is convinced they are right.

To be honest, I don’t see how I, personally, can compromise on the issues I believe in when the ‘other side’ is doing such awful things. I won’t name them, not today, but I will ask people on both the Left and the Right to stop for a moment and ask – is this how compassionate people behave? Is this how people who believe in a Christian god treat their fellow man?

I’ve never forgotten the parables I learned in school, and here is the one that I live by:

The Good Samaritan

‘”Love your neighbor as yourself” was part of the Old Testament law (Leviticus 19:18). But the Jewish teachers had often interpreted “neighbor” to include only people of their own nationality and religion. The expert in the law was looking to Jesus for justification for that interpretation, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” In response, Jesus told His famous Parable of the Good Samaritan.’


To the Jews, Samaritans were ‘the Other’. The lesson here was, and is, that we are all neighbours, and we all deserve to be helped. It is also a plea for compassion. Sadly compassion is in very short supply at this moment in time. Hypocrisy, however, is everywhere.

Part of the reason I became an atheist was because my youthful self rebelled against the hypocrisy I saw all around me. So called ‘good’ Catholics who went to church every Sunday, said their prayers and left a donation for the ‘poor’ and then went away convinced they had done their bit. Worse, they were convinced that they were so good, they were justified in lying and cheating all week.

Those people did not live their beliefs, they only paid lip service to them. They were also the first to speak out against any ‘other’ who was different. They did not do unto others as they would have wanted to be treated themselves.

Why? Because they were the righteous. They were the saved. They were entitled….

Now, fifty years on, I see the same sense of entitlement in many who consider themselves to be ‘good’ Christians.

This is not a post against religion. It is a post for the principles that religions are meant to be based on.

This Easter, we all need to ask ourselves if we are doing unto others as we would have them do unto us. If the answer is no, let’s do better.




Cattle on the road, or why I love Warrandyte

Meeka’s Mind has hosted some strange animal pictures over the last couple of years – wild life, alpacas, dogs and cats – but I bet you never thought I’d show you a picture of this

cow black

Hah! Well this fine fellow – notice the horns? – and I had a run in today, and I won!

I was driving home from an appointment, and passing a sort of hobby farm on my left, when I realised that the two cows I could see contentedly munching on the grass were actually on the outside of the fence. Ut oh and $hit.

I’m not a country girl per se, but I’ve been living in this fringe area for long enough to know that wombats, kangaroos and cattle don’t do well when struck by cars. The cars don’t do all that well either, but dents can be hammered out, broken backs can’t.

So what was I to do? I couldn’t just drive past without at least trying to help.

Seeing a driveway of sorts just up ahead, I turned off the road and went looking for help. When I reached the farmhouse there was another car there, on its way out. The other driver stopped, and we eyed each other.

Him:    “Do you live here?”

Me:      “No, I just came about the cows.”

Him:   “Oh. Me too.”

Apparently there was no one home and the two of us were just discussing what else to try when a third car drove up. The owner at last? Nope, the lady driver was just another good Samaritan.

Him and I decided to try the other hobby farm up the road so off we went. Him stopped out on the road. I drove in and went banging on the door. I couldn’t get anyone to answer and was just turning away when I heard a shout from the direction of the road.

Him had managed to shoo the cows away from the road and up into the front garden where I was. Oh great, what was I supposed to do now?

The two cows, one black-ish, the other brown-ish were trying to head towards the road again so I jangled the keys in my hand and took off across the grass. [Thank god the ground had dried out a bit otherwise my heels would have become bogged].

I managed to distract the escapees, and we all stopped, staring at each other with this, ‘okay, what now?’ look.

That was when I noticed that both ‘cows’ had horns. Bulls, nice one Andrea. They were still young, but already they were the same height as me, and the black-ish one was definitely not impressed with my five foot something of humanity. I could almost see him deciding that he could take me if he wanted to.

The awkward standoff was broken when another guy came running in from next door. This one was wearing coveralls and looked as if he was used to chasing cows, um I mean bulls.

We quickly established that the two escapees belonged to Mr Coveralls’ father. The only question that remained was how were we going to herd them into a safe paddock?

I truly wish I could show you the skill with which I drove across all that lawn, herding the bulls with my Toyota Corolla! Cowgirls eat your hearts out. 😀

To cut a long and exciting adventure short, we managed to herd the cows through the gate and into a paddock, which is where I finally managed to take the photo of The Black-ish Knight.

And the best part? The owner of the house finally came out and wasn’t at all angry at having a car zig-zagging over his lawn! Why? Because it was in a good cause. Warrandyters are amongst the most animal friendly people I have ever met. We protect each others dogs and other assorted beasts because we care. Go Warrandyte!




Alpacas and other friends

I’ve mentioned the alpacas in passing before, usually in connection with their role as lawnmowers, so as they seemed to steal the show I decided to dedicate a post to the weird four-legs who share this place with us. And I have photos!

Duh...you rang?

This bright fellow is Andy. He was born here and is still a cria [baby alpaca]. He is the most curious, and playful one of the herd but we’re  not quite sure whether that is a sign of intelligence or not as he really isn’t terribly smart in other ways. So far he’s wandered into the fish pond at least three times and still seems to have identity issues.


Can't you see I'm eating?

Allow me to introduce Andy’s mum. Like all three of the adult alpacas [2 females and 1 male] she is not a snuggly. They tolerate us humans, especially when we come bearing gifts of lucerne but none of them can understand why roses are off limits. Their penchant for snacking on roses, thorns and all, has forced me to fence off the special areas where I’ve actually managed to grow something other than grass.

In the two years we’ve had them the alpacas and I have forged an uneasy partnership. They eat the grass, poop and act as guard beasts and I bring out the lucerne or yell at them. What can I say? It works.

Damn paparazzi....

You’re going to have to look closely at this photo to see the echidna [porcupine] disappearing behind my neighbour’s chook shed [chicken coop?]. Despite being about the size of a small dog and not built for sprinting [s]he managed to avoid my camera with real style. You can see by the quills all over his back why this guy has managed to avoid being lunch for the local foxes and/or dogs. Cute but definitely not a snuggly!


And now for some photos of my very snuggly babies! And before everyone groans and clicks away they all have four legs and really are cute!

Mogi - our new baby

This tiny bundle of ears and fur is Mogi [short for Mogwai], the newest addition to our family. I’m including this photo because it shows just how very small she was at 3 months. It also shows the strange 3 colour fur she had back then. Black at the tips, pale in the middle and tan near the body. Perhaps it was mother nature advertising her chihuahua/maltese/shi tzu pedigree? She was an adorable but odd looking puppy that’s for sure.

3/4 profile?

This is Mogi at one. She is still tiny and won’t get any bigger but she thinks she’s a real dog and guards the cats [and us] with the dedication of a doberman pinzer. She even tries to herd the alpacas but they just ignore her, except for Andy who wants to play soccer with her. He hasn’t scored any goals yet – she’s much too quick!

And now to segue into the feline members of the household, I give you Pippi and Mogi, getting some well earned rest on my recliner.

Pippi and her pillow..ahem I mean her dog

Pippi is the matriarch of the cats and the mother of Buffa, Golly, Harry and Pixie [sadly no longer with us]. We got her as a scrawny, scruffy abandonned 5 week old kitten desperate for a home. She was so desperate for affection that she charmed our two old dogs into accepting her into their pack. That was one reason we allowed her to have a litter. The reason we kept the whole litter was that… bah never mind.

Pippi is still needy but as you can see she now has a dog to call her own again. 🙂

And now in alphabetical order are da boyz.

Buffa making a point

Meet Buffa. He is the smartest and most generous of all the cats. We call him the Momma Poppa with good reason. When he and Harry went off together to lose their crown jewels I asked that the vet put them in the same cage after the operation. Harry was traumatized and hid under a blanket. Buffa cuddled up to him and groomed him despite having just had the chop himself. And when Golly was knocked over by a car and suffered brain damage, Buffa was the first one to accept him, despite poor Golly’s ‘strange’ behaviour. Once Golly had learned to feed himself and walk in a straight line again it was Buffa who decided that he must be taught how to hunt, so that was when he began bringing live mice into the house and dropping them at Golly’s feet. It took quite a while and more scampering mice than I care to think about but now that brain damaged cat who is about 80% blind can catch mice himself.

The one bad moment we have had with Buffa was when we first introduced him to Mogi. Now you have to understand that Buffa is big enough and strong enough to catch [and eat] baby rabbits [only the wild kind!]. When he saw Mogi with her bats ears flattened against her head she must have looked just like a rabbit because he went into pounce mode. But just as we were about to dive to the rescue he sniffed her and relaxed. Since that inauspicious beginning they have become best buddies. Except when it comes to Mogi’s big fluffy pillow [seen to the right of the photo]. Buffa wants that pillow. He wants it bad and grabs it whenever he can, ignoring all of Mogi’s requests to ‘get the hell out of my bed!’. When I snapped this shot Mogi was in possession of the pillow and so Buffa shoe-horned himself into her old and very small basket to show how inappropriate their bedding arrangements were!

Come hither...

This is Harry. In some ways he has always been my favourite because he is so loving. Unfortunately when Golly came back after the accident Harry was just freaked out and he has stayed freaked out ever since.  The arrival of Mogi did not help. Harry loved our old dogs but they were slow and gentle. Mogi is as quick as a ferret and her idea of play is to chase the cats around the yard and chew on their whiskers. So now Harry only comes in at dinner time and is hard to catch with the camera which is why this photo is a shot from his teenage years.

Golly - doing what a cat's gotta do

And last but by no means least is Golly. A black cat half hidden by a black jacket on a black chair… I know, I know, I’m a lousy photographer but Golly seems to disappear into the background no matter where he is!

Golly is my miracle boy. He was hit by a car just outside our property at 10 o’clock one night. He was left there in the middle of the road. Then a true Good Samaritan came along with her daughter and they took him to the local vet. When the vet found the microchip he rang me. We got there in five minutes flat.

Despite having fractured hips and a nasty blow to the head Golly still knew me and that was all I needed to know. After losing so many of my furkids to that damn road I was not going to lose this one. So Golly had xrays and was put on a drip. He was given a special drug to help the swelling in his brain to go down. For a week he teetered on the brink and then he started to get better.

When I came to pick Golly up, Jen our lovely vet nurse joked that Golly was a child with special needs. Well he was that and more. For a month after he came home I had to push food into his mouth and give him water through a syringe. He could walk but only in circles. Yet through it all he snuggled whenever I picked him up, purring the whole time like a jet engine.

Now 18 months later Golly can jump up on things, run and even catch mice. He is a healthy, beautiful, incredibly loving boy with a fierce will to live. All of my furkids are special but Golly is unique. He may be brain-damaged and almost completely blind but you’d never know it just by looking at him. More importantly he is a happy chappie who proves the old adage that while there is life there is hope.  That’s a lesson I won’t forget.

Cheers All!


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