It was sometime in Spring of 1994...
I ran into PJ at his office where I was looking for some information.
He was so helpful that I just couldn’t resist asking... Excuse me, are you this nice to everybody?
He replied with a wide smile... you remind me of someone I went to college with...
I said - Oh, what’s her name, maybe I know her? And he proceeded to recite my first, middle and last name.
I was dumbstruck, as it was my real name, which, by the way, very few people knew...
It was a foreign name. Difficult to pronounce, and even more difficult to remember. I used an alias for much of my professional career.
Yet, this man, stood there grinning at me, and reciting the whole thing! So, I asked what his name was. And he told me.
And I just looked at him and thought I have no clue who this man is... yet, he seems to know who I am!
We met for coffee a couple weeks later. A dinner followed. Then another coffee and another dinner and soon PJ was a frequent flyer at my house.
A few months later he was pretty much moved in.
One morning we found a black kitten in my tiny, post-card garden.
PJ told me he once had a cat, even though he was really a dog person. Well, we gave the cat some cat food and milk and he seemed to be happy to be adopted. We named him CAT - like the one in Breakfast at Tiffany’s... We didn’t want to bring him in, so we made sure he was comfortable in our garden. Made him a Cat House under our deck, furnished it with blankets and some left over xmas lights to make him comfortable.
He seemed happy there.
When Winter came, PJ would shovel a walk from our deck to the cat house so CAT could come and have food and milk...
CAT stayed for a year or so, and then he left. We saw CAT one more time when he swung by with his mama cat in tow visibly pregnant... That was the last time we saw CAT.
Over the years, various cats would climb over the stockade fence and visit the back yard, but none stayed like CAT did - until last year.
PJ passed away on the last day of March. A few weeks later, a black cat moved into the garden.
I would look out of my kitchen window every morning to see if the black cat was there.
One day, a neighbor came over and said his wife saw some kittens under a bush in the corner of the garden and could she have one...
I was shocked. I had no idea there were any critters in the yard, and went out to see for myself.