They are each other's "cat's meow." And thanks to their mutual love of such furry friends, Mary and Brad McLean met in the mid-1990s when Mary was working at The Cat Hospital in Campbell, and Brad -- or rather his cat -- was a client.
Brad was married at the time, so during the course of the nearly five years Mary worked there, the two had a friendly but professional relationship. "I always liked talking to him because he was nice and he liked talking to me, too," she says.
But Mary left that job in the summer of 1999 and didn't even think about him for more than five years after that. In the interim, both suffered life-changing losses -- Mary's mother died, as did Brad's wife.
"This led us to our fated encounter at the Centre for Living with Dying's Light of Lights ceremony on Dec. 8, 2004," Mary says. "I saw him across the room, noticed that he wasn't with a significant other, and became obsessed with figuring out where I knew him from.
"I never do this. Usually when I see someone that I sort of recognize, I avoid them because I don't want to deal with them. But I was asking myself questions, 'Did I know him from a workshop? Church?' Then I asked myself, 'Does he have a cat? A cat named Maggie? Is his name Brad?' "
Just as these thoughts crossed Mary's mind during this somber event, Brad was called up to light a candle for his wife. Mary says she became very brave and went up to him afterward and told him she knew he had a cat named Maggie.
"He took one look and said 'Mary?' So he remembered me," she says. "We talked for a while, he gave me his cell number and said call me, call me, call me. I left him a message the next day, he called me back the day after that and we made plans to meet for coffee on Saturday. When I called him Saturday, he asked if I wanted dinner or a movie, and that is when I knew it was a date and not just friends."
They indeed went to dinner. Mary told him she liked beer, baseball, football and cooking. After the date, she invited him in for herbal tea, and they sat and talked all night.
"We got engaged Feb. 13, 2005, and married April 1, 2005, and are still happy together to this day. We are so lucky to have found each other. Oh, and we still take our cats to The Cat Hospital."
-- Angela Hill, Staff
If you want to share the story of how you and your partner met, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line "how we met."