Max's Story

Max Posing on RailingWay back in The Dark Ages (well, it was 1971, close enough), my husband and I thought an evening out was a stroll through a shopping mall. We were still almost newlyweds, dirt poor. We'd visit the furniture stores and the boutiques, and, of course, the pet store.

I was admiring the puppies one evening when my husband tugged on my arm and said, "You have to see this - it's the ugliest cat in the world!"

Guess who? There was Max, perched on a pedestal in the middle of the store. I thought he was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. As I approached him, his eyes found me, and we knew we were meant for each other.

There has never been a creature in my life like this boy. He talked - I mean, he really truly talked - with me.  Friends would scoff when I told them he talked, and then they would sit with their mouths hanging open when they heard him. He had vowels, and consonants, and intonations. And he adored carrying on a dialog with a human being, making intense eye contact and rattling all the humans in the process.

Oh how I loved - and still love - him! He was my little man. He went everywhere with me, sometimes draped around my neck, sometimes by my side, but always there, always a part of me. He traveled with us, riding in the car as a perfect (or should I say purrfect?) friend and companion.

Max's MouseBless his heart, Max was extremely cross-eyed. He would jump onto a chair and stumble slightly, and I always wondered what the world looked like to him. He actually caught a mouse once (once!) - a miracle indeed for a cat who surely saw two of everything. It probably helped that the mouse was indoors....

He loved to climb trees, although occasionally he would find himself stranded, because of his vision, I imagine. Usually he was careful not to climb higher than 9 or 10 feet.

Max up a Tree

Max down a Tree

Because he was a blue-point Siamese, his beautiful coat seemed to blend into the bark of the trees. Little Nature-Boy....

But he also liked to climb in our old apple tree. I think he knew the red apples complemented his coloring and turned his outing into a work of art.

Max in the Apple Tree

One time he climbed higher than he intended, I think, and suddenly he was about 20 feet up a pecan tree. He was talking to me, telling me to come up and get him, and I was talking to him, telling him to get back to the trunk of the tree and climb down. Instead he kept edging further out on the limb, stranding himself even more.

I kept trying to coax him, standing directly underneath him.  My husband and mother were watching, and we were beginning to think one of us was going to have to climb the tree when an amazing thing happened.

I was looking right at Max, when he jumped off the limb, straight at me. I was so stunned that I didn't move (thank goodness!), and I caught him in my arms. He curled up against me, purring like mad. I know my mouth was wide open in disbelief. I looked around at my husband and my mother, and they were staring at him with eyes like saucers.

This was my little man, who trusted me enough to leap 20 feet from a tree into my arms, who knew I would catch him. And he was right.

Max©2007 Barbara E. Allen