The Ballad of Smokey

You ever think that certain things happen for a reason?  Not in the super meta sense of the phrase.  Just that a bunch of really insignificant little things can tend to lead to something meaningful happening that would not have happened otherwise?  I do.

On Saturday evening, Jay and I were about to make some Omaha Steaks for dinner when we realized that one of our favorite restaurants was having its grand opening weekend in a bigger, fancier new joint.  So, we decided on a last minute change of plans.  When we got there, we learned that their liquor license hadn’t been approved yet even though they had only moved literally across a parking lot.  We shrugged and figured, “Heyyyy we’ll save some money, it’s no big deal.”  Apparently we were in the minority because we heard our poor waitress tell at least 4 other tables and have them walk out without ordering.  [Btw, I’m sure Jay will tell this story on one of his podcasts, but since the only families there had completely out-of-control children and/or dogs, it was a really obnoxious dining experience.]  Anyways, we decided to stay because contrary to popular belief, we can eat dinner without alcohol and because we like the food.  Both of us ordered something with chicken in it.  A few minutes later, we were informed that the kitchen was “out of chicken strips” and we’d have to order something else, non-chicken.  Ok, shit happens.  Jay & I both know that and we didn’t want to make a fuss over something there was no control over so we ordered new entrés.  This resulted in a delay in our meal time.  Our post-dinner plan was to see X-Men: First Class but for some reason, neither of us were in the mood to see a movie by the time dinner was done.  We decided to just go home and hang out there and catch up on TV.  A second last minute change of plans that evening.

When we pulled up to our apartment, there was a cat eagerly trying to pull at the top of a small tree right in front of our building.  The cat was meowing at us in the same manner that Zoe does and immediately, I knew that no stray cat would do that.  Then, as we gently called it over to us on the sidewalk, it rolled over on its stomach, like Zoe does when she wants attention.  I was 100% convinced that this cat was not feral.  For the last month, I have been noticing signs outside each apartment complex and in front of the mail boxes for a lost cat named Smokey who had gone missing in April from a neighbor in the building next to us.  I just knew on instinct before the cat even came over to us that it was this cat.  I look at that picture every single day.  Every single day, I think, “If that were Zoe missing, I would pray every moment of the day that someone would return her to us.”  I kept insisting that this cat was the same missing cat, so Jay went down to the mail box area to check the sign.  Here’s the picture of the sign he took on Saturday night:

By the time Jay got back, the cat had moved away from petting distance and into shadows so we couldn’t verify everything on the poster, but he was also now convinced it was the same cat.  We called Smokey’s owner, Terry, who was about 25 minutes away.  While we waited for him to get home, I went upstairs to our apartment to get it a combination of Zoe’s food, catnip, cat treats, and chicken.  He ate the chicken and a little bit of the food.  Unfortunately, some people and a car came by and the cat got spooked.  Jay followed him as he scurried away to a different part of our complex.  He did a phenomenal job of keeping the cat from further running away as I waited in front of our apartment for Terry to arrive.

Jay took the first picture while trying to see if this was indeed Smokey while I took the second picture.

By the time Terry arrived, poor Smokey was totally scared, thanks to a party one of our neighbors was having, another neighbor walking his dog, and foot/car traffic within the parking lot in general.  He was hiding under a car.  Jay and Terry tried to coax him out, but he was too spooked.  The three of us each circled around the car, but somehow Smokey got away.  I know 100% he did not run past me; I was standing on the side that was by the main road, making sure he didn’t run into the street.  I think he ran into a bush because I heard it rustle but we couldn’t see within its shadows.

Overnight on Saturday, we left out the food bowl he’d eaten out of and Terry put out another bowl.  I feel absolutely terrible that Smokey and his owner weren’t reunited.  If that were Zoe, I know I’d be heartbroken so I feel so much sadness for what Terry and his family must be going through.  I am really glad that our series of change of plans resulted in us being in the right place at the right time to be able to reassure Smokey’s family that he was alive and in good health, got a little bit of food in him, and had managed to find his way back to the area he knew was home.  I just wish Terry had been home when we first called him and had the cat calmer and out in the open.  I’m still going to keep an eye out and hope to God that the cat makes a reappearance soon.

And that, my friends, is the only exciting thing to happen to us this weekend.  Well, that and catching up on Game of Thrones, but that’s a whole different blog post lol.

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