My Mother, Mildred Ruth Parks

My Mother, Mildred Ruth Parks, before we met.

Mom read Kipling, and she took requests.

How many times did I ask for “the story of the great war that Rikki-tikki-tavi fought single-handed, through the bath-rooms of the big bungalow”? So many times that, when I learned to read, it felt right to reach for The Jungle Books.

Not until 2014 did I notice how Kipling spells the name of the muskrat who “never comes out into the middle of the floor, but always creeps round by the wall.” Mom put in an extra syllable, so for 70 years I also have been giving that famous muskrat’s name an extra syllable.

I tried Kipling’s three-syllable version, but it doesn’t feel right. So I’m sticking with Mom’s “Chu-chu-RUN-dra.”

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