After a lovely visit to the Columbia River Gorge, Mom and Dad delivered us to the Laurelhurst neighborhood and house that would be our home for the next four days. Our Airbnb hosts were expecting us. It can be an odd thing approaching a stranger's home, in a strange neighborhood, in an unfamiliar city. No one answered after my first tentative knock, but a kitty ambled gingerly across the garden and up the walk, and without pretense or formal introductions, he began meowing a welcome greeting to us. He coaxed me into knocking again... even if I wasn't sure we were at the right house, the kitty was quite certain we belonged here.
Welcome to Portland, put down your bags, let's be friends.
Hello. This is Steve, the white kitty with the pink nose and toe beans, who lives in the house 'round the corner in the Laurelhurst neighborhood. He keeps company with two little boys, and their mama and papa. He cannot hear you call him, but he knows when the door is open, and he wants to tell you about where he loves to get scritches. Ah, yes, that's the spot. purrrrrrrrr
Steve is very good at purrs, and scratching the floor, or bed, as a sign of contentment and appreciation... it's a gentle, kneading technique, paws alternating, rhythmically.
He's also good at kisses, which perhaps could be mistaken for baths. Hold still, he missed a spot.
He watched us, thoughtfully, while we studied our maps, and considered our options for exploring the city.
He gazed at us, reassuringly... we felt fortified, and bolstered. Traveling by foot, meeting city buses, the metro, navigating cross streets and across town, seemed less daunting, more achievable, in the presence of his calm and cool cat confidence.
And by the second day, Steve was a fixture, a confidant, the warmest, most convivial host any guests to a big city could hope for.
Or. No, maybe he was more like an unexpected roommate. A stowaway, applying for passage south. He would complete our black and white kitty collection, we couldn't help but notice.
But first, a selfie, Steve, because we love you so.
And Steve opted to sit this one out, stay home, wait for our return.
Then welcome us back.
He sympathized about our tired feet, the heat.
He relished our happy company, as we sorted our bookstore finds, read aloud, gave him affectionate back rubs.
Thank you for snuggles, Steve.
For letting us sleep in.
Thank you for your natural affection, sweet demeanor, agreeable companionship.
And when it was time to gather our treasures, pack our bags, we sighed wistfully for everything we knew we could not pack, for everything we would very soon be missing. Dear Oregon, and family, dear Portland, and you, Steve.