It was the Christmas season and my dad had asked my younger siblings what they wanted Santa to bring them for Christmas. My youngest sister, just four, had only one request: a baby pussycat.
Once she had promised to give it water, feed it and clean the litter box, dad said he would send Santa a message, since he was a wireless operator in the 1960s.
To everyone’s surprise, Christmas morning brought double joy: Santa, the thoughtful one, had rewarded my sister her wish with two lovely identical kittens.
This, however, brought confusion to my sister, who curiously asked Deen Deen – that’s me – which was the mother cat and which was the daddy cat. Smiling, I explained that they were too young to know. I suggested she place the pink ribbon on one and the blue ribbon on the other.
The months instilled responsibility, pride and love, with our delight in observing her play surrogate mom, until the day the announcement came the family was complete: ‘Deen Deen, the mother cat has kittens.’
With extra curious care and watchful eyes, she observed mom and her newborn kittens. These were not her dolls; this was real life!
Then, like life itself: tragedy! On a stormy day on Walkers Road, the streets were flooded and the pouring rain just wouldn’t quit. I arrived home having to wade through the flooded yard to our home. There, standing in the shadows of our porch, wet, with a confused look, my sister was peering at me in utter dismay. All she could say was ‘Deen Deen… Deen Deen… the daddy cat…’
Suspecting the worst, for the rain had flooded the entire house, I took her in my arms and asked, ‘Honey, did the kittens get drowned in the rain?’
With an even more confused response, her eyes met mine. ‘No, the kittens are all OK. I placed them on your bed, but… but… Deen Deen, the daddy cat, well… he had kittens, too. ‘
Needless to say, her Christmas had a very happy ending, by six.
My sister inherited her pet name, Pussycat, which is still affectionately used by ‘Deen Deen’.
This memory of a shared gift instilled life’s finer moments in our family.
Happy Christmas to all!
Eugene L. Christian