When I was a little girl about Micah’s age, we got a cat. A gray striped tabby with white feet and a white nose. I wanted to name her Rapunzel Let Your Golden Hair Down Misantone, but Daddy decided we would call her Patty for short. Oh, how I loved that cat! She slept on my bed almost every night much to the chagrin of my brother. He tried so hard. He’d take her to his room and try to force her stay with him, but she’d jump off his bed the first chance she had and snuggle up with me. And being the nice, loving sister that I am, I never rubbed it in his face. Not me. No, never.
Not long after we adopted Patty, she got pregnant by an old stump-tailed tom cat in the neighborhood, and as pregnant cats are want to do, she had kittens. There was Stumpy (short for Stumperina), the calico cat with no tail. There were two more–gray tabbies. One was named Pistachio. The other tabby we named Pickles after Pickles the fire cat, from the book The Fire Cat by Esther Averill.
I loved going to the library as a child. (Weird tangent, I know, but stick with me… it’ll all make sense in a minute.) I can still remember the smell of the books. I remember spending hours strolling up and down the rows of hundreds and hundreds of pages. I remember touching almost lovingly the spines of the books and trying to decide which ones to take home. And I remember one of my favorite books to bring home was The Fire Cat. Thus, the naming of Pickles, our kitten.
Last week, I was telling this story to my children as we drove around town running errands. Ash hung on my every word, and I’ve retold this story almost daily since. “Mom, tell me about when you were a little girl and you had that cat named Patty and she had kittens and you named one of them Pickles.”
Today, my friend, Shannon, dropped off some books for Ash to borrow for his reading this summer. As we looked through the piles of books, one caught my eye. I grabbed it and shouted, “Ash, look! It’s The Fire Cat!”
“You mean the one about Pickles?! Let’s read it!”
And so, I sit with my little man, listening to his faltering speech as he reads page after page wondering what will happen to Pickles next. We’re halfway through, and he loves it!
Thank you, Jesus, for books, for little boy fingertips tracing under words, for timeless pages we both can share, and for memories. And I pray that our love for words would form an unending bond between us. Something we can share together for years to come.