The book is The Ships Cat. It’s all about the courageous cat serving aboard an Elizabethan Privateer. It also was the favorite book of the Grey Menace. A cat’s favorite book? Well, it all had to do with Christmas.
I found the book at a downtown Boston bookstore and buying it took a good portion of the available free cash. I was living in my studio by the railroad tracks, and Christmas was grim that year. I was barely employed, and had no orders in the shop. I bought a Charlie Brown Christmas tree and carried it home to the studio by the tracks. A few bare homemade decorations later, and we were all set for the holiday. Seeing no need to wait till the morning, Clancy tore into his stocking at midnight. The hi-bounce balls and catnip mouse were hits, but the loose catnip was a big success. We finished the night in front of the tree, as I read the book to a rather drunk but interested cat. It was the start of a Christmas tradition. And the mouse, who was stirring in the kitchen, could rejoice the Grey Menace was too intoxicated for a chase.