Somewhat predictably, I was on my hands and knees in the garden when something warm brushed against me. To my astonishment it was a cat who, when I tentatively patted it, purred and once again brushed past. After that, I was treated to regular visits, all of which demanded that I stop my silliness and pay full attention. Jon was welcomed into our magic circle, and when she walked into our house and thoroughly inspected it, despite Jewell's manifest objections, it became clear that Cat needed a name.
You may or may not remember that Jewell, our beloved Skye Terrier, was built long and low -- Skyes are described in the literature as medium-sized dogs with very short legs. One neighbour described her as a "stretch limousine of a dog." In sharp contrast, Cat had long elegant gams, so the obvious name for her was Betty Grable (although Mary Worth was another possibility, given the way she worked the neighbourhood). Betty became more and more a daily fixture in our routines. But one day when she rolled over in the grass, we realized that Betty was not a suitable name, and so he became Legs. Legs continued to enrich our lives for three years (three long years in Jewell's opinion). He was gone for several months when one of the boys moved out, but I guess his social needs could not be met, and he reappeared one happy day. Frequently he was the first to greet us in the morning and the last visitor at dusk.
Dusk proved fatal, we think. He disappeared one late summer night and all of us who miss him have concluded that Legs was killed by the coyotes who roam behind us. I had already painted his portrait, which serves as a bittersweet reminder of a delightful friendship.