Pickles, The Fire Cat

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.

5 responses to “Pickles, The Fire Cat”

  1. I remember your cats! Especially Patty and Stumpy! We have had three cats since we’ve been married, Luke, before we had kids, Jonah and Simba, both cats of Avery’s! Living in the country as we do, it seems we just get good and attatched to them, have a hefty vet bill to vaccinate them, and then they get run over! Avery has been after us to let him bring home a little kitten from PapPap’s (Doug’s dad), and while mommy is a softy, daddy has stood firm this time! Loved the story! Brings back lots of memories! Rochelle

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  2. Didn’t we grow up with the best library EVER? Remember the old lady who wandered around the stacks for hours? Cats are ok, but it’s Pepper I remember most. šŸ™‚ Praying for you today. HUGS.

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  3. PICKLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My dad read that book to me all the time when I was little. Over and over and over. Sometimes he would read it in all opposites (probably to entertain himself) and call Mrs. Goodkind, Mrs. Badmean. Ooooooh, that would make me mad. We laugh so much about that book now and have hunted all over my parents’ house for that book and can’t seem to find it.

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  4. Of the many things I miss about “home”, our gorgeous library is near the top of the list.

    I have a vague recollection of Patty. I’m like Monica, I remember Pepper more. He was kind of obnoxious but he appreciated good music.

    The love of books just gets better and better. Rachael and I introduce each other to wonderful books. I’m not sure which I enjoy more, giving her a title that I loved as a child, or reading a new book that she has discovered and I’ve not yet read. “Mom, you HAVE to read this one, you’ll love it”. Good stuff.

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  5. This is one of Kirk’s favorites…the first book he began “reading” and could locate each “Pickles” and “Mrs. Goodkind” himself. Then it became playing “Pickles” at the park (Mommy looks too relaxed *um, if this is possible while chasing a 1 year old Chloe and being pregnant with Kanah* …quick, think up an interactive scenario for her…”Hey, Mom! You’re Mrs. Goodkind and I’m Pickles, and…”) Especially if it was a park with a pole to slide down. We got him a hardback edition for Christmas this year. We still play Pickles occasionally, but he is moving on to bigger things, and it’s not the all-consuming game that it once was.

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