Pyramid of Friends

by Michael Smith


Published April 2010

I sat on my deck. A cloud of barbeque smoke hung over my head. As the steaks cooked, I put my feet on an adjacent chair, picked up my book, and quietly read – a peaceful spring evening in Nova Scotia .

In the corner of my vision, I sensed movement. It was a large white cat. His long coat of white was a stark contrast to the green and brown of the awakening world of spring.

I watched the cat. He approached my flowerbed, sniffed at the newly turned soil, and began to dig. “Hey!” I jumped from my chair, “Get out of there.” The cat took off. It was a white blur as it fled.

A couple days later, I was on my deck again. The cat appeared. I chased it away a second time. This continued through spring and into summer. Every time I sat on my deck, the cat appeared, and I'd chase it away.

One evening, I heard a “Meow!” There was the white cat standing a few feet from me. It'd come around the house from the other direction. Its blue eyes showed no fear. It stood and looked at me. I stared back, admired its courage, and put my hand down.

“Here, Kitty.” The cat rushed to my hand and rubbed its head against it. A few minutes later, it was in my lap, purring softly. The cat had worn me down. I couldn't chase him anymore.

I watched where it went when it left my lap. It was always in the direction of the house of a new neighbor. One evening I saw my neighbor in his yard. I walked up the hill and introduced myself.

“Hi! I'm Mike. I live down the hill.” I pointed at my house.

He looked up from his garden and smiled. “I'm Ron.” He offered his hand. “Nice to meet you.”

As we talked, the white cat appeared. “Ron, is that your cat?”

“That's Matey. I got him a few months ago. I noticed he goes down the hill to your property almost every evening. I hope he isn't bothering you.”

“Not at all, Ron. In fact, he's become a friend.” Ron and I became friends too.

For several years we lived as neighbors, sharing Matey's love between us. A few years after meeting, I moved away for a new job. My family stayed behind to sell the house. While I was away, my wife had a mouse problem. Ron sent Matey to help. Matey stayed in our home for a couple nights. The mouse problem was solved.

Ron also cut a Christmas tree, got it in our house, and on the stand for my wife that year. When I came home from my job, after being away for three months, there was a special Christmas gift from Matey and his Ron – a beautiful tree.

Four years and two moves later, we crossed the border to the USA and into Ohio . My barbeque was on my patio. I sat, cooked a steak and read a book. Across the field, I saw a black cat. It glanced in my direction and continued on.

One night, I went outside for a breath of fresh air. The black cat appeared. It walked in my direction, came within thirty feet, stopped, rolled onto its back, and meowed. When I approached, it fled. A few nights later, it was there again. The routine was repeated - it ran away.

The cat became a challenge I looked forward to every evening. It would hear me, wander in my direction, and run away when I got close.

One night I sat on the curb and talked to it. It grew brave and came within reach. I rubbed its head. A friendship was formed. I would step outside and make a noise. The cat ran to me for scratch behind the ears. I talked about the black cat all the time. My wife thought I was nuts. I told her how wonderful it was, but she didn't believe me. She thought I was just going out to avoid chores.

I knew the cat's home was a house next to our housing complex. I saw the owner gardening one day and walked over to introduce myself. “Hi!” I held out my hand.

“I'm Mike. I live in the townhouse complex. Do you have a black cat?”

“I'm Don.” We shook hands. Nice to meet you, Mike. Yes, I have a black cat. His name is Bob.”

“Bob and I are friends.” I said.

“Really?”

“Yes! He comes over to my townhouse whenever I'm outside.”

“Bob's a friendly fellow. He likes attention.”

“I've noticed. He always comes to me. He's a wonderful cat.”

A week later, I was outside, and Bob came to visit. He rubbed against my legs. I took a chance, reached down and picked him up. I held him to my chest. He reached out, put a paw on each of my shoulders, and rubbed his face against mine, one cheek after the other.

A love was formed.

My wife came outside, “Mike, what are you doing?”

“Hun, meet Bob.”

She fell in love with my friend. “I thought you were kidding.” She rubbed Bob's head. Bob pushed his head into her palm. “He's beautiful.” she said. Bob won another friend.

Don and I became great friends through Bob. Ron and I became great friends through Matey - two friends became four. No matter where I work or live, I make new friends. Through them, I meet more. Two friends become four. Four friends became eight. The chain of friends grows.

Two persistent cats taught me a new concept - make friends, meet more through them, and meet even more. I don't like pyramid sales, but this is different. Those cats taught me pyramid friendship, and I love the way it grows.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

To read more of Michael's stories, please visit:
http://ourecho.com/biography-353-Michael-Timothy-Smith.shtml#stories


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