Friday, February 24, 2017

Big Blessing in a Small Package

     One Sunday afternoon I was feeling restless and took Jaren for a walk down the street in the opposite direction from usual to see the house advertised for rent on a telephone pole notice.
     Can we see Nala?” he asked about a neighborhood cat.  
     “The owners moved out and took all the cats with them,” I said. “We walked by there a couple of times since and Nala wasn't there. We can check, though.”
     After seeing the large but rather worn down and gloomy rental house and speculating on its rate ($4,500 per month?), we continued on to see two houses being constructed further down. At what used to be Nala's house, we saw a gray striped tabby—large, clean, and well groomed—standing out front. (Nala was a slender blue-eyed Siamese.) I said, Meow. Jaren said, Meow. And the cat ran toward us crying, Meow.
     “Bend down and he'll come,” I said.
     Jaren squatted and the cat approached, rubbed against him, walked past me, accepted our pets, and laid down on the sidewalk, exposing its underside. “That mean he really trusts us. That's a very vulnerable position,” I said.
     Ten minutes into our time with the cat, Jaren began looking toward the house.
     “Hi, Jaren,” a female voice called from within.
     “Hi Miss Talbot,” said Jaren.
     It turned out the occupant was an elementary school substitute teacher who'd filled in at Jaren's class a couple times. Her family moved into the house about a year ago. Her son Alfred was Jaren's classmate and he came out to play for awhile with Jaren. But then he had to go back in, so we continued down the street and the cat followed us at a trot. Miss Talbot had told us she didn't know the cat's name; the cat adopted them; the cat started coming around right after they moved in. I told Jaren it was probably the previous owner's since they had more than twenty rescued cats, and they probably couldn't find him when they left. The cat was male, so he wandered around versus a female that would stay home.
     On our way back from seeing the houses being built, we pet the cat by the Talbot's house again. Alfred came out to play and another neighborhood kid—a bit older—dropped by to hang out. This large boy said his mother named the cat Midnight and hated it because it left footprints on their car. After he left and Alfred went back in, we headed home.
     A couple weeks later, we went to visit Midnight and Alfred came out to play with Jaren. Since we couldn't stay long I suggested Jaren exchange phone numbers to arrange a play date. It took awhile, but Alfred finally ran out with a phone number and Jaren gave him ours the next day at school.
     Two weeks went by and Alfred twice wasn't home when Jaren called. Finally Miss Talbot dropped him off for a couple hours of play on a weekend and they had a nice time together.
     At first I felt so blessed that we had a loving, friendly neighborhood cat to play with, knowing how rare it is for a cat to be so friendly with strangers. I still feel that way. But I also feel so blessed that Jaren finally has a neighborhood friend to play with—just as I had several when growing up.
     From a simple walk expecting nothing much (it was mere curiosity and restlessness and a gentle prompting that led me to go) such great blessings. Praise God! 

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