Yes, for all you who are personal friends on my Facebook page, Fuego the Firecat is the subject this week of my blog. The story was simply too long to put on a Facebook posting, so welcome if this is your first time here. For the rest of you, my oldest son, who now volunteers at the fire department in our hometown, literally rescued a kitten one day. He then brought her home.
Needless to say, we never planned on being owned by a cat.
Now, to our tale . . .
Once before a Christmas a long time ago, a woman went to the local Culpepper’s Furniture store in Baytown, Texas, to purchase a child’s table and chair set, as well as a doll’s high chair, for her two year old daughter. Now, Culpepper’s was a “nice” furniture store, and the woman and her husband bought all their furniture there in the early years of their marriage. The table and chair were kid-sized and the high chair was doll-sized, and they were “nice” as well.
Now since this was Christmas time, the woman arranged for the set to be picked up by Santa and for it then to be delivered during Santa’s rounds on Christmas night. Santa did not disappoint.
A year later the woman had another daughter, and the two girls played house, raised their pretend children, and sipped pretend tea and ate their pretend dinners at the child-size table and chair. The high chair was especially important, for the sisters fed their dolls and stuffed animals over and over again while they practiced being good mothers. (This was, of course, the late-60s and early 70s, when little girls were still encouraged to play house and to practice being good mothers.)
The only disappointment the sisters suffered (and the table, chairs, and high chair likely suffered as well) during these years was when the father decided that all the furniture needed to match in the sisters’ room, and he painted the table, chairs, and the high chair yellow, the same color as the twin canopy beds and the shelf and the chest of drawers built by the girls’ grandfather. The older daughter never did like the yellow on the table and chairs, nevertheless she played with the furniture, and she and her sister made more memories around the little table despite the dreaded yellow.
Nearly overnight, the sisters grew up (as children will do). They no longer played house or mothered pretend babies. The table finally wore its hinges and screws loose, and the legs fell off. The chairs were kept for a time until they, too, fell apart. All that was left was the high chair, and it was put in storage. The little girls grew up, married, and put their mothering skills to good use with their own children, and the little high chair was forgotten.
Then one day, the high chair was found when the parents were preparing to move from the house where the girls grew up. The oldest daughter took it home with her, but she had boys who liked fire engines and cars and baseballs and fighting, and she knew they would not wish to play with the high chair. So, she stripped the yellow paint, refinished the family heirloom, and set it around her house as a display for whatever her heart desired.
And each time she looked at it, she remembered her sister and the hours they spent playing house, and the memories warmed her and she was glad she had found the high chair.
One of the woman’s boys, who loved fire trucks so much he grew up to volunteer at the local fire department, brought home a kitten. He dubbed the cat “Fuego” which means fire in Spanish.
The kitten, however, took one look at the boy’s mother and decided she would be her mother. The woman remembered all the cats she had growing up, and once she got over the shock of having yet another pet in the household (for there were already three dogs and a guinea pig), she embraced the cat as her special little princess.
The kitten, however, had no shame. She chased the dogs. She fished with her paw in the guinea pig cage. She climbed the Christmas tree.
She even kicked baby Jesus out of his stable.
Then, one day, the woman walked into the living room to find the cat sleeping, rather awkwardly, on the doll-size high chair.
“You have no shame, Princess,” she said affectionately. “First my tree, then my manger, and now my high chair.”
The cat’s ears twitched, but otherwise she moved not.
And the woman remembered her sister and the hours they spent playing house. The memories warmed her, and she was glad the cat had found the chair.