BLOG #19
April 11, 2021

By Emily Lee Stehle

Well, it’s 5am and do you know where your children are? Remember that PSA?

I don’t have children but as I am typing the first four words to this blog I hear that solemn voice in my ear…and had to write it.

Seriously, I can’t sleep and have been thinking about this week’s post. I’ve been working the past three weeks at the Florida State Fair doing admin work and prepping for the Florida Creative Living Competitions. The baking, the preserving, quilting, sewing, painting, drawing, ceramics, jewelry, basketmaking, etc. It’s been fun but hard on the feet walking the concrete floors of the Florida Center. I’m getting my steps in. Highlights of my time has been sampling the baked goods (cakes, pies, cookies, candy) after the judging and getting previews of the fine art painting and drawings. I am so taken by a young artist’s charming drawing of an owl that I’m sponsoring a $25 Creative Spark Award for him. You’ll see a photo of this work after it’s displayed at the fair.

I have been too tired to sit at the PC to write but this has been heavy on my mind. This woke me up.

It’s time for the second short “Bird Nest Story.” This one is based, again, on a true incident, a treasure of my childhood. So put some cookies (preferable chocolate chip) out on a plate. Pour yourself a glass of milk.

It’s reading time!

The Cat that Liked Chocolate Chip Cookies
A Bird Nest Story
July 9, 2019

My parents didn’t allow us indoor pets, but for a while we had a cat. He showed up one day at the house. A striped black, brown and grey tiger that Richard, my brother, named “Dodiebird.”

He was a very big kitty with big white paws. He had a thick fur coat. We had never seen a cat like him. He might have been a Maine coon cat. Both Rich and Tina say he was a regular tiger cat.

During the winter, we all felt bad for Dodiebird because my parents wouldn’t allow him to stay in at night. He’s got a fur coat, they said. He’ll be alright.

Us kids said: How could he possibly stay warm? He’s a little cat! It’s freezing outside. Sometimes it’s snowing!

Those times, Mom and Dad relented and we would call, “Kitty, kitty” at the door when it felt really cold out. Dodiebird would come running.

Despite the fact that he stayed outdoors during the day and really didn’t hang out with us, Dodiebird was a gentle cat. He never scratched (and we teased him a lot) and didn’t seem upset when we picked him up and dragged him around, pull his ears to look inside (his ears were big). Dodiebird didn’t mind when we covered his eyes playing hide and seek with him. He would let us hug and kiss him.

A close-up of a brown mackerel tabby color cat. We have no photos of Dodiebird but this one  resembles him.

He was so mellow that he even allowed the boys to put a sock on his head. When it covered his eyes, he would just frantically shake his head from side to side. No loud meows or crying. We would laugh and laugh and finally stop when it dawned on us that we were being mean.

Dodiebird wasn’t picky about his food and would eat any food scraps put in front of him. He especially liked the salted fish that my grandmother would dole out every night, a little bit from her steamed plate. He would sit and wait patiently while she plated his dinner and then chow down.

When I went away to college, I didn’t think much about the Dodiebird. I knew that on cold nights, he’d be warm and toasty napping in the hottest room in the house where the furnace was.

I always came home for Christmas break. Besides cleaning the kitchen I had to bake Christmas cookies. But not sugar cutouts. Our Christmas cookies were Tollhouse Chocolate Chip. It’s the only kind Santa would eat, I told my little sis, Tina.

So, here it is one Christmas Eve and I’ve made a double batch of chocolate chip cookie dough. It’s 11pm and I’m alone in the kitchen listening to albums: Laura Nyro, The Sound of Music, Joni Mitchell. I’m singing loud and carefully placing big spoonfuls of cookie dough on the sheet.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see Dodiebird staring up at me. A curious look. He hadn’t seen me for a while.

“I’m me. What’s going on, Dodie? What d’ya want?”

The cat purrs and wanders between my feet.

“Are you hungry? Wanna cookie?”

Dodie purrs, looks up. Meows. Meows again.

What do you do when someone adorable asks for a cookie? You take a break. Pour yourself a glass a milk. You give him one. Or two.

Dodiebird ate 1 ½ chocolate chip cookies that night and then curled up next to my feet. He went to sleep. I continued baking.

Next week: For the Love of Strawberries

My Nest and Its Treasures: Childhood Memories, 2019

Instagram: emilystehle




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