A late Christmas gift for Katie Grace

Posted By | January 16, 2020 3:12 pm

Playl’s Ponderings – By Steve Playl

“I love kitty cats, and I have lots of kitty cat friends!”

Thus began a conversation between Katie Grace and her mommy a few months ago.

“Well, who are some of your favorite cats?” Shannon asked. K.G. has a very strong attachment to her toy Snoopy dog, she loves our Boxer, Sophie, then there’s Mike’s dog, Woodrow, and the University of Tennessee mascot, Smokey, but Shannon wondered what feline friends her 6-year-old might be referring to. Perhaps she was thinking of Garfield or some other comic strip character to go with Charlie Brown’s canine companion.

…but, no! K.G. was thinking of real flesh and blood, fur and purr kitty cats – and she began to name them. “Well, there’s Tuna – that’s her daddy’s cat; and there’s Oreo, the black and white we inherited from our son; and then there’s Malinda…”

“Who’s Malinda?” questioned her mom. She didn’t recognize that name.

“Oh, you know!” Moms are just supposed to know those things. “Malinda’s the cat that lives at the shop.”

Shannon was really confused now. Was this K.G.’s first grader imagination running wild? A store cat? Shannon’s mind raced, as it often does during serious conversations with our stinking cute granddaughter. “Mommy doesn’t remember Malinda. Tell me more.”

“Mom!” K.G. was slightly perturbed that her mother could not remember this special cat. “Malinda lives at the place where Nahnee and Papa take us to eat in ‘Wimsburg.’  You know where they sell stuff, and Nahnee always buys stuff after we eat there.”

If she had been in Peanuts, Garfield or some other comic strip, a light bulb would have appeared above Shannon’s head. Of course! The feline in question actually lives at The Old Chickahominy House, our favorite eating place in Williamsburg. She lies around on the couch or shelves of merchandise in the gift shop section of the old house; the resident store cat at the “Chick House.”

At the time it had been nearly two years since K.G. had seen Malinda. She was 4-and-a-half at the time, but, of course, our granddaughter is extremely smart and has a memory like a steel trap. When we took K.G. and our other granddaughter, Annabelle, back to “our” place a couple of weeks ago, they immediately sought out Miss Malinda and laid their heads on her black and white fur.

After visiting the “Chick House” three times in as many days, we drove the girls to meet their respective families. Arriving in Wilmington, North Carolina, with her mom, K.G. was surprised to discover a note at her house which read, “Kathryn, there is one more Christmas gift that I couldn’t leave with you earlier, because you were going to Williamsburg with Nahnee and Papa. You can pick him up Saturday. Your momma knows the place. You will know which kitty cat is yours.” And it was signed, “Santa.”

Can you imagine the excitement of that stinking cute baby girl? When she called and told us, our phone practically exploded. That Saturday, at the animal shelter, a 4-month-old, black and white kitten, rescued from the Outer Banks about the time Hurricane Dorian visited there, became K.G.’s new best friend. Now, for Kathryn Grace, there is Tuna, Oreo, Malinda…and VAN.

I believe all of God’s creatures are special, and I believe God loves little children, like Katie Grace, enough to provide them with companions like Van. More importantly, I know He loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to be our Savior.

 Steve Playl, chaplain, columnist, college instructor and former pastor, playlsr@yahoo.com   

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