It was still summer. To be sure, it was still my first granddaughter’s second birthday and all the members of the family who were in the area congregated at DS1’s to celebrate. They had moved from the cramped apartment to a roomy house on a hill. Getting it there was a saga in itself but that’s not my story so I won’t go into it here. There were (from the right to left) Grandma, Daddy with the video camera (remember when they were that big?), Great-Grandpa and Mommy. The Birthday Girl was in front. I was behind my own camera which was a film camera (remember them?) that DS1 and family had given me for my birthday. Déjà vu all over again.
DD’s hair was yet a different color and DS2 and my other DIL were present.
As someone used to write in my hometown paper when a party was reported, “A good time was had by all.”
The summer went by much too quickly and it was early fall. DD boarded a plane to take her to California. She was going clear across the country and I was having a hard time adjusting to the fact that she wouldn’t be home until Christmas. I could barely afford to bring her back then, let alone any more often. She wasn’t too keen on flying, anyway, and didn’t seem to mind being absent.
Homecoming at the university rolled around and I stayed with DS1 and family for the weekend. My sister and her daughter came out from the Great Northwest for the occasion. It was wonderful being together. It didn’t happen often. There was a mini family reunion going on every year but this year, it was more complete.
My niece was/is a free spirit and my granddaughter had discovered kittens. She had books about cats. She jabbered on and on about kittens. She wanted one! No one could miss the fact that she was bent on getting a kitten all her own. I had my reservations. After all, she was only two years old and children that age don’t usually know how to treat an animal. My niece was very persuasive, though, and against their better judgment, Mommy and Daddy took anyone with them who wanted to go to see a kitten which was barely old enough to leave her mother. I stayed at the house.
The hours passed and I busied myself in the kitchen and had settled down to watch something on TV. It was Saturday night and I’d had a long day. It was nice to relax.
A knock came at the door. I peeked out and saw that it was the family back from their excursion. I knew the door wasn’t locked and, besides, they had a key if it were. Oh, well, I’d go along with whatever they were doing. I opened the door and there was my granddaughter with a kitten clutched in a death-grip in her plump little hands.
“G’anny Sue!” she gasped. “I have a KITTY!” She surely did. I couldn’t help but smile.
“What’s its name?” “TWINKLE!” I thought that was quite an unusual name for a kitten but nice, too. “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” was one of her favorite songs and when she was asked what she wanted to name the new addition to the family, that’s what she picked.
Twinkle was a passive little animal. She would submit to mauling and being constantly handled with little protest. I wondered how long that would last.
Whenever I would be at their house, she got in the habit of getting on my lap under the throw I always used and hide there until she was discovered. One night, she even got in bed with me and burrowed her way under the cover. When she was found, she was taken out where she had access to her food and the litter box—and more mauling and handling. I made up my own version of the little song:
“Twinkle Twinkle little cat—how I wonder where you’re at!” Not very good grammar but apt.
Christmas came and it was time for DD to come home. I went to pick her up at the airport with a more than two hour drive each way. I didn’t mind. I missed my daughter.
I couldn’t be home all the time but I took off as much as I could. I still had to make sure we had a good Christmas party at work. We all brought in food for the “Graze Your Way Through the Day” day and there was a special request for my rice casserole. I made it by a recipe I’d gotten from a lady in my sister’s church and it was super yummy. It was a mix of milk, eggs, cheese, onions, seasonings and, of course, rice. There was so much food that it was barely touched. I took it home and put it in the fridge.
DD and I had rice casserole for a couple of days but on the third, she said she was tired of it and wanted something else. I opted for the rest of the dish, myself, zapped it in the microwave and it was oh! so good!
Next morning, I got up and was getting ready to take my bath so I wouldn’t be stinky at work when, all of a sudden, I had to sit down. The closest place was the commode. I broke out in a cold sweat and felt like I was going to die. Then it started. There was wave after wave of diarrhea and I was terribly nauseous.
I didn’t want to call 911 because I was living over the county line which would route my call to the valley on the wrong side of the mountain. I wanted to go to “my” hospital. Barely able to move, I made my way to the phone and called the hospital number. One of the girls answered and I asked her to call 911 for me and have the ambulance come out. She said she would come get me, herself. I told her I would mess up her car if she did but she said she would bring towels to cover the seat.
It was cold weather and I was dressed in sweats that had seen better days but I wasn’t in a beauty contest. I didn’t want anyone to come into the house (it was a disaster area) plus I didn’t want to wake DD so I went out to wait in the car. I put the seat back and lay there, waiting. And waiting.