To truly appreciate this eulogy, a little background is in order.
A little over 5 years ago, we made the acquaintance of a remarkable cat named Banjo.
At first, we thought he was an abandoned cat. Note that in the side bar picture, he's depressed and not really his usual chipper self.
He was depressed, we found out later, because his owner was traveling. She had left him with a neighbor, but he got wanderlust.
So, Banjo started hanging around our art gallery. He enjoyed coming and going as he pleased. Many other merchants on Main Street opened their doors to Banjo from time to time, but we were his primary hangout.
He was very friendly, and even had write-ups about him in the local paper. He became famous as the C.A.T. (cat about town).
He saw me through having my appendix taken out, and quitting smoking. He saw me thin (as in side-bar picture), and he saw me fat (I don't have pictures). He did yoga poses with me. He was the one creature I met who was utterly himself.
He used to cross the street like a maniac, and I thought it was only a matter of time before he was struck by a car. So, I was relieved when his owner finally returned (after years of travel) a couple of years ago and took him back, to a ranch outside of town. I missed him, but thought he'd have a better life than as a "townie". And, his owner kindly gave us pictures of him, looking beautiful, healthy and fit.
I ran into her on the trail today, on my way into town, and asked her how Banjo was. And I knew, from the look on her face, that he was gone. She explained that he had simply gotten sick, crawled off to be alone (as cats are wont to do), and died.
So, to my accepting friend, I'm sorry I didn't get to see you before you died. You are missed.