Roy M. Quick and Mrs. Shannon are my late-night traveling companions.

You may remember Roy M. Quick; he’s my 14-year-old cat who hangs out with me, but always in a manly kind of way. We talk more with each other than most men and cats do. And Mrs. Shannon is my neighborhood owl. I named her after my fourth grade teacher, who would always stare down at me and say, “Whooooo didn’t complete their homework?” or “Whooooo will be staying in at recess?”

Mrs. Shannon is undersized and a bit snooty for a Nevada owl. However, she takes Roy and me on imaginary, late-night flights of adventure. The trouble is, Mrs. Shannon rarely takes our little clique where I instruct her to go. I believe I have the right to direct my travels, and it’s time that undersized owl does what I tell her to do.

Everything else in my life hasn’t gone according to my plans either. Take my work at The Change Companies®. I’m constantly urging our leadership team to execute my sophisticated, ironclad strategies. They act as if they’re listening to me, even taking notes on occasion, then they run about signing contracts and building products that I know nothing about.

Then there are my adult children, who aren’t living the lives I carefully laid out for them. Jeff was supposed to work for me and put in extended hours of devoted labor. By now, he should be sitting in my chair and, perhaps, developing a well-earned eye-twitch. Instead, he’s in beautiful Madison, Wisconsin, selling real estate and swapping funny photos with thousands of friends on Facebook. And Kate, under my tutelage, could have been a famous keynote speaker, an international phenomenon. But no, she chose to become a psychologist, helping clients and billing them on a sliding scale.

And I had a plan of my own to stay healthy, well into my seventies, hiking rugged mountain peaks, mending fences on my property and outrunning my grandkids to the mailbox. But what do I get at this tender age? Pneumonia, spinal stenosis and a heart attack, all slowing down a body that was never built for blinding speed anyway.

So that’s why my imaginative trips at night are so darn important. Roy will gently paw my face to let me know it’s time to go out on our second-floor porch to wait for Mrs. Shannon. We will gaze up at the moon and stars above and listen for that familiar “Whooooo.” Then, together the three of us will fly off, presumably to where I have scheduled us to go.

Tonight, I wish to see the bright lights of New York City. I’ve planned a surprise for Roy: front-row seats at the musical Cats. Off we go, but not to New York. Instead, Mrs. Shannon drops us between tall rows of corn in Boone, Iowa, my birthplace. I look out from the field and see my old house. My mom is calling me and my brother, Eddie, in for dinner. Through the window, my sisters, Connie and Kelly, are setting the table and my dad, as usual, is playing with the antenna on top of the TV. Skippy, our little black mutt, finds me and jumps up on my jeans, needing a pet.

I spot Mrs. Shannon atop my old swing set. “This isn’t New York City. Why did you take me back here?”

Roy, who thinks he’s so smart because he sleeps on my bed all day long, interrupts. “We don’t always get what we ask for, but we always get what we need.”

“You’re the loser Roy, I wanted to take you to see Cats.”

Roy M. Quick gives me that feline smirk. “Only in your dreams, Don. Cats closed on Broadway years ago.”