I have a lot of friends. Mostly they are Brown Bear, Big Bird, monkey, Churchill, some mice, and a lot of other stuffed amidals.1 I love them because they are so cozy. They like to sleep in my bed and get under my covers. They also help me feel better when I’m cold or tired.
But one of my first friends was a squirrel. (Mama and Daddy have helped me fill in some of the details.) When I was a few weeks old, Mama and Daddy decided it was time for me to take my first trip on Amtrak. They even got me a onesie that said “Amtrak Baby” on it. Man, I was so cute.
We went to a place called Charleston, West Virginia. We mostly went there because Daddy wanted to see the state capitol. I thought it was pretty interesting, actually, though I thought our ride on the open-air trolley from our hotel to the capitol was cooler.
That evening, we went to the mall in downtown Charleston. It was actually one of my first times to a mall. The best shop we went to was filled — FILLED! — with toys. They sold nothing but TOYS. I was as excited as a two-month-old could be (which isn’t much, actually). I had no idea such a wonderful place existed.
While we were in the toy shop, an oldies song started playing. (My dad thinks it might have been “Rock Around the Clock”, but my mom isn’t so sure — she thinks it was a song by Elvis Presley.) I was sitting in my stroller listening along. And next thing I know a squirrel popped up in front of me and started dancing. I got a big smile on my face and started giggling. It was the best thing I’d ever seen.
That squirrel didn’t get to come with us, and we took the train home the next day. But after Daddy saw how much I loved that squirrel, he decided I needed one, too. So one day not too long after our trip we took the bus up Connecticut Avenue and went to a toy shop. There we adopted the squirrel’s brother. Mama and Daddy named him Dinky, after a squirrel they once saw in Princeton, New Jersey, which they also named Dinky, after the Dinky Train. So that’s where Dinky got his name.
But my squirrel is not very dinky. He’s pretty big, actually. He’s big enough to wear a small dog collar with a tag on it. He went with me everywhere when I was a baby, and I’ve loved him ever since.
This article had two sidebars:
- What Fiona calls animals, of course. ↩