Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Family Pet (05/15/08)
- TITLE: Reflections of His Glory
By Janice Cartwright
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The door opened, drawing a shuffle of air into my space; a slash of light pierced the gloom.
“Young lady, what are you doing? Haven’t I told you a hundred times not to come in here?”
“But, Mama, he’s so pretty and soft. I not hurt him. I promise I not take him out the room.” I gazed into button-black eyes that made me giggle, whispered low into a pointy ear, “I sorry, Mama say I has to go. But tomorrow you can come to town with us- we ride bus.”
A chenille spread of knobby orbs pressed against my bottom; my legs dangled down the side. The scent of gardenia, ascending from bath-warmed skin, lingered to mingle with attar of rose. Mama sat at her dressing table putting on her face, miniature brush to lashes, eyes open wide. She was beautiful as she pulled on olive gloves; brown-black hair a fluff against the red-fox stole. For now, he was hers; his length curved around her shoulders, bushy tail snuggled near her face.
I recall a birthday of whites: rime-frosted windowsills, wrapping paper, a snowy muff and hat. Outside white blanketed birdbath, frozen grass, patio swing, old wooden Trigger and his springs. With gingerly fingers I unearthed from wads of tissue a gift, unable to grasp so rich a treasure as that. How easily a sense of wonder returns unscathed: a dare-I-touch-it awe for warm and fuzzy things. They assured me it was allowed; I could pat and pet my muff and hat: they would never scold or fuss.
Red foxes and white rabbits made lifelike by the furrier’s skill portended breathier pets to come; they march as a parade across my memory, so many, each unique, dear, funny émigrés of lost Eden. Lady was first; she came to me at three weeks, stayed until death parted us at a riper age than some; blue parakeets, and a green one that liked to hitch rides on Funny Bunny: he once escaped to the garden; Ratso who gnawed a hole in my brother’s shirt, sank a fang in his thumb: I think he made Mama nervous.
Like a gallery in motion they process through my mind, sometimes feathery, sometimes furry. There goes Pepper, most loyal; ostrich-like Dingbat; Chin Chow Mein with a food bucket on his head; Chang the greedy Siamese who tried to eat Hammy Hamster, but choked because he got in a hurry; Jack the cat, brother of Jill, who liked to nap under our wood stove or stretched flat on the cushiest bed. And how forget Chameleon, peeking from behind the Mix-master? She cost but a dime at the circus.
I think God and Mama knew, on that day so long ago, a child’s yearning for Paradise locked away: the birds and beasts that cuddle on laps or alight upon one’s shoulder to shriek, Kibbee-Kiss! All creatures wise and wonderful, great and small, bright and beautiful* in multitudinous, vast array are from the Maker: His wasteful plenty of design and number, shape and stature make shiny gifts for the children. May we see through these the Artist, His ways, earthly plan, and heavenly purpose.
*Maker of Heaven and Earth by Cecil Frances Alexander (1818-1895)
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