"I want a beaver. A nice beaver, not a mean one."
"Katie, honey, I do not think you will get a beaver. They tend to cause floods."
"He will live in a lodge in our pond, Mommy. He will use him teeth to chop down trees."
"Yes, and then his lodge will make our back yard into a big, wet mess."
"Grandpa likes to chop wood. The beaver chops trees. The beaver will be Grandpa's helper."
"Nice thought, honey, but I don't think Grandpa would like a beaver. Grandpa is the only one who does wood."
"Oh. Sorry, Mommy. I want a cat."
"A nice cat, not a mean cat like Aunt Lynn's, but a nice cat. What will I name my cat, Mommy?"
"I don't know, Katie. You have to pick out the name once you see the kitty. But, I do not think Daddy will like a cat around the house."
"It will be a nice cat. Not a mean one; a nice one."
"I hear you."
"I want a dog."
"Katie, you have a dog. Tucker. Remember?"
"Yes, but I want another dog, too."
And so the conversation goes. I suppose my father is laughing from the spirit world. I used to adopt any stray animal I found (cats, a wood duck) and feed the animals -from my hands, no less!- as in raccoons, chickadees, and so on. Once when I was just a little bit older than Katie, Dad asked me what I wanted for a pet. Being an avid viewer of Wild Kingdom, I said a lion. Not just any lion, mind you. One with the fullest mane ever and a roar so loud that it rivals any sonic boom! Dad tried to explain why we could not have a lion in Redding, but after my arguing with him, he got fed up and said sternly, "Enough already! Let me know when you have decided on something other than a lion." Well, time passed. I came back and said, "Daddy, I know what I would like." "What, honey?" "A kangaroo."
I got a cat.