Once upon a time, just the other day, there lived a family of five just down the street. Some days Momma stayed home, and some days Daddy stayed home. Every day Ava Anne, Savannah Lynn, and Hunter Thomas stayed home. Nothing extravagant ever seemed to happen. In fact, every day seemed almost the same as the day before. When Ava Anne, Savannah Lynn and Hunter Thomas awoke, they would tiptoe out of their bedrooms, down the hall, and to the kitchen. Momma or Daddy would be there or on the nearby couch, reading or eating or doing something uninteresting like sorting mail.
On this particular day, Ava Anne awoke first. She rubbed her sleepy eyes and rolled over. The sun was shining it an early-morning sort of way. Ava Anne yawned and slid out of bed. She tiptoed down the hall and toward the kitchen. Daddy was on the couch reading when Ava Anne entered the room.
“Good morning, beautiful,” Daddy sad with a smile.
He put down his book and reached to give Ava Anne a hug.
“A repair man is supposed to be here soon to fix the sink. You may want to get dressed before he comes,” Daddy said.
Ava Anne nodded and yawned.
“I’m hungry,” Ava Anne said.
Ava Anne made a piece of toast with lots of butter and strawberry freezer jam Momma and Daddy had made in the summer. The toast crunched and crumbled in her mouth as she walked back to her bedroom to put on her clothes. As Ava Anne stood in front of the closet wondering what to wear, the doorbell rang. It was the repair man.
Ava Anne decided to play outside while the repair man fixed the sink. She always felt strange when people she did not know came to fix things. She always seemed to be in the way of their work. Ava Anne swallowed the last bite of toast and pulled out a striped shirt and jeans. She slid on her cowgirl boots and ran down the hall toward the kitchen.
“Dad, I’m going outside!” Ava Anne announced.
“Ok,” Daddy said in between discussing the sink with the repair man.
Ava Anne ran across the long back porch, jumped onto the grass, and stopped. What should I do? She thought. Climb a tree? Build a fort? Cats!
Ava Anne walked slowly around the house so as not to scare the cats. She was hoping to find at least one of them laying in the sun on the driveway. Sure enough, Ava Anne found Oreo sunning himself.
“Kitty, kitty, kitty,” Ava Anne called in a high pitched little voice.
Oreo looked up at her and rolled over on his back. He wanted a belly rub.
“Aw, you’re so cute,” Ava Anne crooned.
She sat down and rubbed Oreo’s black and white belly. He hopped up and walked all the way around Ava Anne, rubbing his side on hers as he walked. Ava Anne giggled. When Oreo found her hand again he licked it with his rough tongue.
“Oreo! You’re tongue is so scratchy!” Ava Anne exclaimed.
She knew Oreo was just loving her back, but his tongue did not always feel good on her hand.
Just then Ava Anne heard the door open. Oreo glanced up quickly at the sound. Out of the door walked the repair man. He saw Ava Anne and Oreo and walked right over.
“Good morning,” he said. “This cat just loves to have a belly rub. When I got out of my truck this morning he rolled over right in front of me.”
Ava Anne was unsure what to say. She did not know the repair man, but she guessed he was all right since Daddy had been talking to him in the house.
“Yeah, he likes that,” Ava Anne finally said.
Now Oreo was licking the repair man’s hand vigorously. He laughed.
“He sure is a friendly cat. Oh, my name’s Frank,” the repair man said.
“My name’s Ava Anne,” Ava Anne said.
“Well, I better be back to work. I’ve got a sink to fix.”
“Ok,” Ava Anne said.
Frank looked for something in his truck and then walked back up to the house. Ava Anne watched him. The door clicked shut. He’s nice. She thought. Lots of people don’t like cats, but he thinks they’re friendly. Ava Anne was glad Frank liked Oreo. He was a pretty nice guy after all. Maybe next time she would introduce him to Butterscotch.