The Gift of Little Girls

One of the things I promised myself after being diagnosed with breast cancer was that I was never going to work on my birthday again. My birthday’s in late December, so when I was a kid it was always during Christmas holiday. For some reason I decided this would be a good way to spend the rest of my working life.

I had big plans this year: reading The Bolter on my shiny new Christmas Kindle, surfing the web, blogging, reworking poems. Then came a knock at the door. It was a flock of four little girls and a big friendly orange cat. I’d seen the cat around; he greeted me with a head butt and twined around my legs. “He likes you,” one of them said.

The little girls told me they were going door to door to try to find his owner. I said I didn’t think he was homeless but if he needed one I’d sure take him, since my kitty had passed away a few months back. I wished them luck in their search and went back to my laptop.

Knock knock knock. They were back.

“He won’t follow us. Do you still have a leash?” (They must be dog people. Cats don’t do leashes, or following.)

“No, I”m sorry, I don’t.”


Back to the laptop.

Knock knock knock.

“Can you show us how to hold him?” (They’re definitely dog people.)

“Sure, but kitties don’t always like to be held. We’ll see.” I scooped up 15 pounds of cat and he didn’t protest for the first 20 seconds, then started squeaking. I set him down. “He asked nice but he didn’t like that. I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

“Oh, okay. Thank you.” I went into the house.

Knock knock knock. Little blond girl. “Will you watch him while we go knock on doors?”

It was actually a pretty decent day for late December in Nebraska–something like 50 degrees. I thought what the heck, I could do worse than hang out with a cat. “Sure, I’ll watch him. I’ll be right out.” I wanted to grab my Kindle. I closed the door.

Knock knock knock. Little brunette girl. “We just wanted you to know we decided if he doesn’t have a home, we think you deserve him.”

I could feel myself melting into a puddle. I said, “Well, thank you. I appreciate that.” And off they went.

I watched them walk away, hair shining in the sun, on a mission to save a cat. I pictured them growing into young women, comforting each other through their first loves and losses, and later, the heartbreak of cancer, the same way they comforted me over a cat. We need to give these little girls a different outlet for their kindness by the time they grow up. I think they deserve it.


16 thoughts on “The Gift of Little Girls

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Gift of Little Girls « Dispatch From Second Base --

  2. Oh my. This made me tear up and I never cry (although ironically my latest post describes non-stop crying lol) . But I have to know, what happened to the cat?!?!

    • Shoot, I meant to include a P.S. and forgot, thank you! The little girls came back to report that a lady the next block over said he is someone’s cat. He sunned himself near a bird feeder for awhile and then left. I’m glad you wanted to hear the rest of the story!

  3. Yes! You’re absolutely right. That’s all our hopes for the future isn’t it? That young girls can grow up without cancer. It’s such a huge waste of time and someone’s comfort, among other things. Love it, Jackie, thanks.

  4. Jackie, What a great story, and yes I was wondering if you actually kept the cat too. I agree those little girls and all the others deserve so much more. Wouldn’t it be a great legacy if our generation made a real difference, like a CURE? Am I too much of a dreamer on this??

  5. Now that was a nice story, and you clearly understand cats. I wish I understood ours when he is prowling back and forth, talking up a storm and we have no idea what he is saying.

    • Wow, I was wondering if I would find anyone else who read it. I also found it quite absorbing. The culture and mores were something, weren’t they? It was a great read. Don’t know if you have read anything by Jeanette Walls but both The Glass Castle and Half-Broke Horses are impossible to put down.

  6. Delightful. Perfect. And yes, Jeanette Walls is a brilliant writer. Glass Castle took my breath away. I’ve been hesitant t to pick up Half-Broke Horses (wondering if she could even approach the first) — but will check it out now.

    • Hi Anna,
      I’m not sure. We had cats for more than 30 years–right now I’m enjoying not worrying about how they’re doing home alone when we travel (which isn’t a whole lot, but still.) Plus out of all our cats (six) she was the biggest mama’s girl ever. She was my steadfast recovery companion. She followed me like a dog and yelled at Bruce when I wasn’t home. She’s a hard act to follow 🙂 But I’m not ruling it out. Thank you!

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