Two Boys and Their Cats

Once upon a time, and this was really a long time ago, there lived a family in a small town. This family had lived there for many years. The town they lived in was called South Oxney. Isn’t that a funny name for a town? Not like Saginaw or Bay City or Flint. But, South Oxney. And this small town was way across the ocean in a country called England.

An ocean is a big body of water. Imagine our bathtub was so big that our house could fit in it. That’s pretty big, isn’t it? But an ocean is even bigger. After our house was put into it, we could put all the houses on our street, all the houses in our town, and it still would not be filled.

England is so far away that they even have a different time than we do. Kids over there have been in bed for a long time – 4 hours already, and you are just getting into yours.

But this story is not about England, or the ocean, or about time. It is about a family that lives there. The family is called the Burtons, just like we are called the Mertens. And this family, the Burtons, has a father named Rod, a mother named Marsha, and a son. Can you guess what his name is?

You’re right. His name is Ryan, just like yours.

This family was a lot like ours, but with one big difference. They did not have something that we have. I’ll give you a few clues and see if you guess what we have that they didn’t. The thing I’m talking about is gray. It has 4 white feet. And it purrs. What do you think I’m talking about? Sure, I’m talking about good, old, Boots, our cat.

Well this Ryan’s parents both worked every day just like yours do. But, their Ryan didn’t have a cat like Boots to keep him company. When that Ryan wanted to play, he didn’t have a cat to play with.

So instead of a real cat like Boots, their Ryan had to make-believe he had a cat to play with, He called his cat, Rex. Before I tell you about Ryan and Rex, let’s talk about you and Boots. Think how much fun you have playing with him, feeding him, having him sleep on your bed. You and Boots are really close, aren’t you? But a live cat like Boots is real different that a make-believe cat like Rex. Let’s figure out some of those differences.

Does Ryan have to feed his make-believe cat, Rex?

Does Rex sleep on Ryan’s bed like Boots does on yours?

What kind of games can Ryan play with Rex?

Would Rex go to the bathroom like Boots?

What would Rex eat if he is make-believe?

So, having a make-believe cat like Rex would be real different, wouldn’t it? One big difference I can see is that it would be real easy to take Rex for a ride in the car. Much easier than Boots. Remember how we have to put Boots in a cage? Remember the noise he makes? Let me hear you make those “Boots in a cage in the car noises”? You’d make a good “Boots in a cage in the car”. What kind of noise do you think Rex would make?

Well, one day Ryan over in England had to bring something in to Show and Tell at his school. Remember, how you had to bring in something last week? Remember how you took in your special stamps? Well, just like you, their Ryan had to come up with something really special.

He thought and he thought and he thought. He sat down on his bed and started to pet his make-believe cat, Rex. And the more he petted Rex, the more he thought he could hear Rex purr. Finally, their Ryan came up with the greatest idea in the whole world, or at least South Oxney, for Show and Tell. Can you guess what his purr-fect idea was?

Sure. He decided to take Rex. What could be more special than a make-believe cat like Rex for Show and Tell? Ryan thought, “I bet I’ll have the only make-believe cat in the whole school.”

So the next morning as he got ready for school he put Rex into his backpack. Rex didn’t seem to mind. Can you imagine the noise Boots would have put out. Let me hear what Boots would have said about being stuffed in your book bag.

When his Dad dropped him off at school, he said to Ryan, “Have a good day at school. Oh, did you remember to bring something special for Show and Tell?”

Ryan answered, “I sure did Dad. I’m going to have the most special Show and Tell ever.”

His dad said, “When you get home tonight tell me about this most special Show and Tell ever.”

Ryan said, as his Dad drove away, “I sure will, Dad.”

In Ryan’s school Show and Tell was the last thing of the day. So all day long Ryan had to keep Rex a secret. When he hung his backpack up in the classroom, he petted the side where Rex was so Rex would not be lonely. When he got a break in the morning he went to his backpack to talk to Rex so he wouldn’t be lonesome. But he had to be careful because it was against the rules to bring pets to school. So he had to make sure none of the other kids found out and especially to make sure his teacher didn’t find our. Wouldn’t they all be surprised when he showed them Rex.

The afternoon went pretty slow. Remember how long we have to wait at the doctor’s office sometimes. Well their Ryan’s afternoon kind of went that slow too.

After the afternoon recess, his teacher, Miss Sullivan said, “Okay everybody, it is time for Show and Tell. Who brought something for us?” Luckily only two other students raised their hands and they were both girls. They wanted to show off their dolls, so Ryan let them go first. Even in England it was always girls first!

Mary and Kathy both showed off their boring dolls, dressed in their boring clothes, making their boring doll sounds. All the kids applauded, even Ryan, when the girls were done,

Ms. Sullivan said, “And now Ryan. You have something for us?”

“I sure do, Ms Sullivan.” Ryan leaped up and almost ran before he remembered he shouldn’t to his back pack. He reached inside with both hands to lift out his make-believe cat Rex. He carefully held Rex to his chest as he carried him to the front of the room so everybody could see Rex.

But everyone was looking at him kind of funny. Some of the children laughed. Ms. Sullivan asked him, “What did you bring for us, Ryan?”

“Ms. Sullivan, I brought my cat, Rex.”

“You know its against the rules to bring a pet to school, don’t you Ryan?”

Tommy teased, “Ryan broke the rules. Ryan broke the rules.”

Soon everyone was saying it. “Ryan broke the rules. Ryan broke the rules”

Can you imagine how poor Ryan felt? How would you feel if all the kids in your class were making fun of one on the other kids? How would you feel if they were making fun of you?

Do you want to know what could Ryan did?

Do you want to know what Ryan did about Rex?

It’s time for you to go to sleep now, so I’ll tell you what their Ryan did about Rex tomorrow on the way to school. Until then you think about how you would handle this situation of having a make-believe pet no one else can see.

Good night.

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