Wednesday, April 11, 2012


April 11, 2012
I met my friend Ruth about five years ago when a group of good citizens that I dubbed the NDG Splinters - a group of men and women and children - struggled without success to try to save the Fraser-Hickson Library in Montreal from extinction by borough mayor, Michael Applebaum, and Nicholas Hoare of the library's board of directors.
Ruth is a true friend who helps people. She is there for you when you need her. No matter how busy she is, she comes forward in times of trouble.
Ruth is also a devoted advocate fighting to save the lives of animals - ferral cats and kittens in particular. She gives her heart and time and energy to helping preserve their lives and their quality of life against a cold system that often treats animals as if they were rocks - without feelings. 
Dogs, cats and kittens are gassed by the thousands all the time in Canada, and few seem to care enough to stop the carnage. This butchery is legal in our so-called "democracy." Selfishness is the hallmark of western society today. "What's in it for me?"
This week, I arranged to have Ruth give me a lift home from a hospital appointment. Before leaving home I found that the battery in my wrist watch had died. Some timing ! A bit unsettling.
From what I knew of the plans for my treatment, I would probably be ready to leave the hospital between 11:00 AM and 12:00 Noon. As it turned out, the procedure took longer - a detour of time - and I called Ruth and advised her to go ahead with her earlier plans to go skating at 1:00 PM and I would take a taxi home.
But Ruth was intent on helping me. She would go skating at 1:00 PM, if I insisted, but could she pick me up at 3:00 PM ?
I had only slept a half hour the night before, but I wanted to see Ruth. So I dozed in the lobby while I waited for her to pick me up.
At exactly five minutes to 3:00, I wheeled my chair outside to meet Ruth at the curb.
I waited about ten minutes. Then the wind suddenly picked up and I started to feel chilled. I decided to turn back and wait inside.
Just then, Ruth came rushing out of the hospital. She had spotted me from the lobby entrance. 
Ruth had arrived at exactly five minutes to 3:00, but she did not see me at the curb. We crossed paths at the precise same time and missed each other. Ruth had gone inside and had security trying to locate me. Another detour of time.  
Instead of going straight home, I asked Ruth to choose a restaurant so we could share a nice meal and catch up on old times. One more time and place detour. We enjoyed an exotic Thai mid-day meal and sat and talked for a couple of hours.
Since I can't walk well enough to go shopping, I asked Ruth if she would take my wrist watch to a jeweller to have a new battery put in. She had done that task for me once before. So I handed Ruth my wrist watch across the table, as we continued our conversation.
Finally we had to leave the restaurant and get back to our respective responsibilities. As we drove, Ruth pointed out the jeweller's shop and asked if we might delay going home for a few minutes and just drop off the watch. I was too tired.
So we continued very briefly toward my place when we suddenly spotted a young man with a very lush beard standing at the corner bus stop. At his feet were two pet carriers - full of cats and kittens.
Horns blasted as Ruth held her brakes when the traffic light turned green. 
"Open my window ", I said. She did.
"What do you want to do?", I asked Ruth.
The horns again.
I shouted out the window, "Mister! We are looking at your cats."
Ruth pulled to the curb and let the honkers pass.
The man stepped toward Ruth's car.
"Can we give you and your cats a lift?, Ruth asked.
And that was how Ruth and I met Michael Frank.
Stay tuned to this blog for the next episode of SERENDIPITY AND THE CATS.
These strange "coincidences" bode well, I think, as Michael Frank, Cat-Lover, is also a videographer. We might have a documentary movie here if things come together.
If any of these delays had not occurred - if we had not decided to have lunch together - if we had stopped for even a few moments at the jeweller's shop - we would never have met Michael Frank and planted this small seed of great possibilities. How many lives might we save if it works out well ? How these two cat lovers came together is quite amazing.
I often wonder about "Who" might be creating these "coincidences" that occur so often in my life. My faith is tinier than the proverbial mustard seed, but it seems to me that when these "coinicidences" happen, there is a requirement to respond, "Yes, I hear you, Lord. I'll do  my best."

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