Telling Your Story

Cheese and crackers

Over lunch today we were chatting about stuff and I was reminded about Buddha. I won’t tell you specifics but I thought I’d share this little story. It feels a bit cheesy (pun intended) because I wrote it so long ago …

Cheese and Crackers

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

I met Thomas ‘Buddha’ Smyth last spring in Chestnut Street while I was on my way to the deli to pick up blue vein cheese and poppy seed crackers for afternoon tea: Aunt Sarah was coming to visit. Well, I was traveling rather quickly along Chestnut Street because I had lost track of time sorting out my photographs from my holiday in London. I really wanted to get them ready to show Aunt. So consequently I was walking hurriedly on the pavement past the old weatherboard houses, which are now skyrocketing in price. Who would pay $550,000 for a two-bedroom run-down old workers cottage with a slab of concrete for a backyard? Imagine what I would get for Mothers house that she left to me when she passed on. And it’s in pristine condition since I had it renovated two years ago. But where would I live? All I have known for the last 54 years is Chestnut Street. Mind you, when those gangsters lived around the corner in the 1980s and were stuffing chopped up bodies in their garbage bins, I thought about leaving.

Anyway, in my hurry to get to the deli, I practically fell over Thomas as he sauntered along the street as if he owned the whole block. Actually, ‘waddle’ may suit better since his stomach hangs low and his legs are rather short. Despite being a portly fellow, he has a certain aristocratic air about him that exudes elegance. I was much impressed by his fine gold coat. There was some protest from Thomas as we collided and I did feel embarrassed but I had been distracted by Charlie at number 16 who called out to Thomas as I passed. I’m sure he called him ‘Buddha’, which would be quite fitting but maybe a little rude. Being in a hurry, I sang out my apologies and rushed on. He simply moaned, lifted his nose in the air and continued on his slow journey.

As I was leaving home the next day to visit the post office to send my sister Mary some of my holiday photographs, I almost collided with Thomas again as I turned out of my gate. The easterly sun was glaring on my face, so I didn’t see him. He was quite indignant at my second show of clumsiness, so I felt obliged to ask him in for tea. He raised his nose as if to reject my offer but promptly brushed past me and was at my front door before I could retrieve my door-key from my trouser pocket.

I discovered that he prefers warm milk to tea and also likes to listen to the old crooners on the radio; his favourite being What’s new pussycat? by Tom Jones. At first I found it awkward with his big body sitting in Mothers wicker chair, saying nothing, but being a talkative type myself I managed the conversation and we became firm friends. Lizzy across the road at number 24, is forever clucking at me to stop feeding Thomas. Apparently the Smyth family has told the whole neighourhood to please stop feeding him. Fancy that! Since poor Thomas has been labeled a morbidly obese feline, it seems the whole world is up-in-arms about his diet but he knows that if he comes to visit me that I’ll ignore all of them and we can have a nice little chin wag or listen to the radio while we eat our cheese and crackers.


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