Whiskers and Scruffy padded paws into the bright morning sun. Toes were cold and breakfast not yet begun.
"No wonder we didn't get a good snooze last night," they said. The shed door in the next yard still POUNDED and the wind SHRIEKED.
"We don't dare go over there," said Whiskers.
"Yah. The meanie man might even THROW a chair," Scruffy answered.
"Or SMACK his broom on the veranda," said Whiskers. They remembered their DANCE and PRANCE, as two pussycats should. Then running faster than ever before.
"Look!" Whiskers said, trying to keep his voice down.
"What? What?" asked Scruffy, scratching his ear.
"Something in your eye, can't you see?" scolded Whiskers.
A baby sparrow landed on the ground. And pecked at sprinkled seeds.
Both cats MEOWED softly, smacking lips, watching from their side of the fence.
Just then, a red Pileated Woodpecker ran up the tree. His fluffy head waved like a banner that seemed to say, "Hello, everyone."
Whiskers and Scruffy squinted eyes that became laser beams of delight. What a delicious sight. Several more sparrows joined in for a breakfast treat.
None noticed any danger lurking like a sleek snake sneaking looks. Growling cat-tummies went HUNGRY-HUNGRY. It's mealtime. But two fat cats had to be careful. They didn't want to end up on anyone's menu.
Other alley cats said, "Don't mess with the meanie man."
Or in ordinary cat language, "DON'T mess with the meanie man's pet birds.'
High above, a squirrel shook his head. Not those two again? He was nice and safe in the hollow of a large Norway Maple tree.
If only the wind would stop blowing leaves into his home, he'd really be happy. Bushy Red worried about wear on the worn place he called home.
Now Chickadees, Starlings and a Blue Jay joined the sparrows. Clutching claws grabbed onto branches. Others munched from bird feeders hanging from Maple trees.
Two Evening Grosbeaks perched on top of the fence. A light shower of rain wasn't going to shiver their feathers.
The backyard filled with bird chatter, chuckles and cheeriness. The commotion brought two big, beautiful Blue jays.
They helped eat the heaped seed. Happy Pine Sis-kins and hopping Junco's shared.
Bushy Red chewed on a sunflower seed. His red tail flipped high, like a furry flag.
Birds scooted, scratched and skittered around the ground. And flew up and down like a teeter-totter to three feeders. Almost like jets zooming and zinging on a busy airfield.
At first the feisty wind was cool on everyone. But the sun soon began to warm fur and feathers.
Now three tough and tired cats crouched as bundles of fur. They jumped from fright each time leaves scattered like confetti across the yard.
But they mostly watched the magic of friendship on the ground.
Colored feathers fluttered and fluffed. Feeders swayed like swings in the park.
Maybe the meanie man wasn't so mean after all. This is such a nice place for birds and mice, even hungry cats.
Birds needed a place for space and peace. Where no one bothered them.
Sunflower seeds, grain and red millet waited any hungry bird. And Niger seed too.
Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence's cat, JC is nineteen years of age. She likes to watch too.
Whiskers and Scruffy continued to peek at the pecking pack of birds. It was like watching a video movie in living color.
All the birds had such fun.
A puffy wind was also pleasantly pleased to be part of this backyard party. With one huge breath, he brought in the peace of autumn.
And everyone was glad.
* * *
Richard L. Provencher 2007
My wife, Esther and I really enjoy writing. It is an excellent salve, in addition to prayers, a great wife and family during my continuing recovery from a stroke/aneurysm. You can contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org re comments on our work. We live in Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada. Pray for others.