though not the very next day. We gave it five days of a good try, but when I got the message from Bill yesterday morning that Max had holed up in a corner of the shed's "attic" and wouldn't come out, we both decided this wasn't working and I went to get him.
It took 20 minutes of coaxing and dropping the key words "a little something", "a little sip (of halfnhalf)", "home", "petting", but eventually he scrambled dustily out of the hideyhole he'd found (I think it was quite a tight fit because I could hear him scratching as though he were trying to turn around in a small space), came to me, and I grabbed him.
I had to stand on a ladder to do all this coaxing and I wasn't sure he would be coaxable, but now my Mad Max is home again, much to his delight (and, secretly, mine). It was lovely to have him back, to rollick down the road with me to get the paper this morning, even to have him once again lording it over Loosy and Lily, who are not exactly thrilled--more resigned than anything.
I'm not sure what is going to happen next. It's clear he's too attached to me and too afraid of others to be transplanted easily. It may be that I'll find a way to take him with me next summer when I move or maybe even I can return him to the farmer who gave him to me in the first place. At the farmers' market yesterday I asked him what he thought and he said he'd check with his family.
It was interesting to notice what his return has meant to my spirits. I had worried about him constantly while he was gone, hoping for the best and missing him. The responsibilities of pastoral ministry with my congregation right now are particularly heavy and I am looking at another major memorial service and after-care very shortly. Max's return relieved one major concern and I feel much more able to cope with it all.
This weekend I have my friend Sue visiting till Tuesday morning. Today it's church, a lunch bunch at the local Chinese place, and a music party tonight here at my house. Fun all day long! And Max is back. Whew.