What's In a Name?

"Euuggh! All over my new angora sweater!"

"But I wanted a bunn--" young Sandi Griffin stopped short and looked up at the mess on her mother's sweater. "Eww, why'd the kitty do that?"

"Here," said Linda, handing the kitten to her husband Tom. "I have to go change." She stormed out of the room, trailing invectives that had Tom wanting to clamp his hands over his daughter's ears -- but not doing so for fear of ruining her Easter hairdo. After all, she and her mother had spent a lot of time -- and her mother had spent a lot of money -- getting it just right to put in an appearance at the Lawndale Community Easter Egg Hunt that morning.

Sandi looked up at her father and repeated her question.

"Well, sweetie," he said, wincing slightly as he saw Sandi make a face at his use of the endearing diminutive, "our new kitty's what's called a longhair. That means she's got long fur, and since cat's clean themselves by licking, sometimes long haired breeds get what are called hairballs -- the hair sortof forms a lump in their tummy, and they--"

"Barf it up?" asked Sandi.

"Well, yeah," Tom finished. He then had another thought: "You know, she is your kitty, we got her for you, as an Easter present. Have you thought about what you might want to name her?"

"I don't know yet," said Sandi, accepting the kitten from her dad. It was...kindof like a bunny, she thought. And it was pretty cute. She stroked her new pet's head, and heard it start to purr in response. Sandi found herself smiling, despite herself.

The hunt was fun -- what of it Sandi was allowed to participate in. She'd known her mom had gone -- and brought her -- mainly for the sake of making an impression on others. After all, she was running for...some kind of board or something. Sandi had wanted to run around with the other kids, but that would've messed up her hair and her outfit, and Linda had already taught her how important such things were. Still, it would've been fun, she thought wistfully...

That evening, after the Easter festivities were over, Sandi was petting her new kitten, to hear that funny sound it made, and, well, because the fur was soft and felt nice. Maybe this was even better than a bunny would've been, Sandi thought. She reflected back over the day's events...

The egg hunt had looked like so much fun. Why did her mom always insist on preserving outfits and stuff over....

Sandi suddenly caught a torrent of angry words in her mother's voice, carrying over from another part of the house. Her mind went back to still earlier in the day...

...all over my new angora sweater!

....sometimes long haired breeds get what are called hairballs...

Sandi scritched the kitten behind the ears. Its purring grew louder and it pushed against her hand.

....have you thought about what you might want to name her?

Suddenly, as involuntarily as the kitten's purring, Sandi found herself smiling.

"Fluffy," she said, to herself and her new pet.