The sun was hot in the afternoon and Midge, Jake and their friends were sitting under the big tree near the pond. Snappy was splashing around in the water near the edge of the pond. “Come on in you guys,” called Snappy.
“You have fun Snappy,” said Midge. “I'm tired and going to rest a little here in this nice shade.”
“But the water is cool and you can cool off faster here in the water,” said Snappy.
“I know,” said Midge. “But I am too lazy to get up and walk to the water's edge.”
“Ha ha,” laughed Jake. “You shouldn't be that tired Midge.”
“It is the heat of the sun Jake,” said Midge. “It sure makes me feel worn out sometimes.”
“You have lot more fur that I have,” said Jake. “I guess that doesn't help much.”
“Maybe that is why I get so hot Jake,” said Midge.
“Can your owner cut some off in the summer time?” asked Booker-T.
“I don't know. I know my friend Dixie gets her a haircut once a month,” said Midge. “Her owner takes her to the doggie saloon every month.”
“I remember Dixie,” said Jake. “I haven't seen her around lately. Is she still living up the street from you?”
“No, they moved away to another state last month,” said Midge.
“I don't think I remember meeting Dixie,” said Snappy. “Did she ever come here to the park?”
“No, her owner never let her go out of the back yard,” said Midge. “I always went to her house to see her. She had a couple kids she used to play with.”
“Wasn't she in a lot of dog shows?” asked Jake.
“Oh yes, she was big in the dog shows,” said Midge. “Her owner took her to a show all over the country. I think she was in a show almost every month. She won a few blue ribbons too.”
“Who is that?” asked Jake pointing to the black cat walking slowly across the green grass coming toward them.
“I don't know,” said Midge. “I don't think I ever saw him or her before.”
The big black cat slowly approached the pond and when he turned and saw Jake beside the tree, he quickly arched his back and hissed at him. “Stay away from me!” shouted the black cat.
“No one is coming near you,” said Midge. “What are you afraid of?”
“Everyone here is nice,” said Booker-T walking toward the black cat. “No one here wants to hurt you. What is your name?”
“Black Star,” said the cat. “My owner calls me Blackie or Star for short.”
“Hi Blackie,” greeted Booker-T. “I am Booker-T. This is Midge and that is Jake. Over there in the water is Snappy and up there in the tree is Gabby.”
“Hi Blackie,” said everyone in unison.
“You all are here together,” said Blackie.
“We come here all the time to play together,” said Midge.
“I've never played with a dog before or a turtle and a bird,” said Blackie. “I've always been afraid of dogs.”
“You don't have to be afraid of us,” said Jake. “We all love playing together.”
“But you are different than I am,” said Blackie.
“Does that matter?” asked Booker-T. “We all like to play and playing together is more fun than being lonely and trying to find something to do.”
“Do you have any friends Blackie?” asked Midge.
“I have two friends who live to blocks away from me,” said Blackie.
“Where do you live?” asked Jake.
“I live over on Willow Drive,” said Blackie.
“Oh, that is three blocks from you Midge,” said Booker-T. “I know where that is. I used to hang out in the alley there behind the hamburger joint on the corner of Willow Drive and Sanford Lane.”
“Oh yes,” said Jake. “I know where that is. How long have you lived there?”
“We moved into the house next to the hamburger joint two months ago,” said Blackie. “Today is the first time I decided to take a walk and come see the park I heard my owner talking about on the phone.”
“We are glad you came Blackie,” said Booker-T. “Would you like to be our friend?”
Blackie leaned toward Booker-T and said “Are the dogs okay? I've never been friends with a dog before.”
“Oh yes,” said Booker-T. “You have nothing to fear. They are great. We are all friends here and we love making new friends.”
“They don't care that we are cats?” asked Blackie.
“Oh no, we don't care who you are,” said Booker-T. “We feel like we are all equal on this earth. We all like to eat, to play and sleep. Why not all be friends?”
“I guess you are right,” said Blackie. “If it is okay with all of you, I would love to be friends with you all. I love to play and this looks like a nice place to come play.”
“Welcome to the park Blackie,” said Midge. “This pond is Snappy's home. We come here to cool off and play with Snappy in the water.”
“You go into the water Booker-T?” asked Blackie.
“Sure,” said Booker-T. “I didn't before until I fell off the log into the water. I found out it wasn't so bad. It was fun to splash around in the water and I found out I can swim pretty good.”
“Yes,” laughed Midge. “You should have seen him that day. He was so funny when he fell into the water and tried to get back on the log.”
“Ha ha Midge,” said Booker-T.
“It's okay Booker-T,” said Jake. “We all were laughing with you and not at you.”
“But you started out laughing at me,” said Booker-T.
“I know,” said Snappy. “But we did so that you would start laughing and not be so scared of the water.”
“That's true,” agreed Booker-T. “Welcome to our little area of the park Blackie.”
“Thanks,” said Blackie. “For wanting to be my friends.”