(That's Dad on the right.)
Until we all became too cool for such things, I'd use the tiger, together with other puppet characters made from paper cut-outs and popsicle sticks, in impromptu shows I'd put on for my little sisters. My stage was in the bathroom of our house. I would stand on the edge of the tub, inside the drawn curtain, and act out the plot by bobbing the little puppets around up above the curtain railing, my sisters shrieking their approval from the bathroom counter I sat them on.
Who knows what became of the tiger. Like so many things that were crucial to me as a kid, it probably got set aside as I got older and started getting interested in girls, clothes, music, and other much more worldly concerns.
Three decades later in 2006, one of my sisters spotted a tiger hand puppet at a friend's house and knew she had to have it.
It wasn't just any hand puppet. It was a vintage 1975 Dakin tiger hand puppet, exactly like the one I had when I was 6, in pristine condition no less. She put it in the box right underneath the photo posted above.
I was really touched. Surprisingly so, actually, because I started getting all misty and sentimental ... this isn't meant to be a criticism, but this level of thoughtfulness in gift-giving is a little unprecedented for this sister, which undoubtedly contibuted to the effect it had on me.
So after sitting there for a couple of minutes with a huge, goofball grin on my face, I lapsed back into my normal self and got my Dad to pose for a picture, with me and my new friend:
Thanks sis. It was my favorite Christmas present this year. :)