“Jackson likes CCR.”

“What?” I ask. We’re eating breakfast before going to school and I have a spoon of Cheerios in mid-air. “What?”

“Jackson likes CCR.”

“You mean, as in Creedence Clearwater Revival.”

“Yeah,” he says.

“How do you know?”

“Well, we were sitting together last night reading like we do…” Brian begins the story matter-of-factly as if he’s talking about parking the car. “And I put CCR in and she sat on my chest and started sleeping.”

“So that means she likes it?” I ask.

“I think so.” He says this with more affirmation than doubt as if to say, “Well, of course.”

I decide to play along. Jackson has been enveloped in the odd fantasy-dream world we live in where the cats talk to us and the guitars have names. Brian trades guitars when he thinks they’re ready to go and I move the plants from room to room when they seem to tell me they would like a change.

For us, it’s not much different from people who name their cars and talk about them as people. Years ago when I worked at a girl scout camp in New Hampshire, I knew a Lifeguard who named her car “Stella” just so she could wander parking lots shouting in an anguished Marlon Brando voice, “Stel-la! Stel-la!” I knew another women in Seattle who called her Maxima “Harry.” “When he’s dirty, I call him ‘Dirty Harry.'” And I knew a man in Ohio who owned three Trans-Ams, bought with money he made as a fashion and runway model. The black one with the interior the color of carmel he named “Sheila.” So, for us, the animals not only have names, they have voices and preferences. I discover now from Brian that Jackson has particular tastes in music.

“What else does she like?” I ask.

“She likes The Cars.”

“Which songs?”

“The later songs — the more pop-sounding ones. But she doesn’t like KISS.”

“Thank God for that,” I say.

“Hey –KISS is great.” Brian responds. “But they make her agitated and crazy. She starts digging in her cage and running around when I play it.”

“So what do you think all this means?”

“Well…” and Brian paused the way small children do when they are asked a question which may not be very serious for the questioner but which is deadly serious for the person being questioned. “I think she likes the blues and blues-rock because they’re happy songs.”

“Sounds right to me.” I say. “She’s a happy rabbit.”

We both pause and take in the picture of Jackson playing air guitar to Stevie Ray Vaughn.

“We have a lot to learn from her.” I say.

“Yes, we do.” Brian says as he finishes his cereal.

brian and jax