Littlefoot buttoned her red, hooded coat as Benedella transferred warm cookies to a basket to take to their grandmother.
“I’ll take them to Grandma,” Kindra offered.
“Don’t be an idiot,” said Littlefoot. “It’s not safe to go through the woods alone. Especially since we have to pass Jon Wolf’s house to get to Grandma’s.”
Benedella gave a motherly nod. “Yes. We’ll go together as usual.”
Littlefoot’s sisters put on their coats, and they all walked out of their cozy cottage and into the cool shade of the forest. Benedella hummed a tune they had heard at the prince’s ball, and Kindra pouted. Littlefoot slowed as they got close to the path to Jon’s house.
“Quiet,” she whispered. “We don’t want him to come out to talk to us.”
“You’re tellin’ me,” Benedella said. Jon always tried to get Benedella to come into his house. Her beauty could be a curse sometimes.
“I don’t know why you don’t give him a try, Benedella,” Kindra said, not bothering to keep her voice down. “I think he’s pretty handsome.”
“Ugh,” Littlefoot and Benedella said together.
“He’s vain,” said Littlefoot.
“And mean,” added Benedella. “And he has those two teeth all pointy like a dog.”
“I kind of like those kind of teeth,” Kindra said.
“Now shhhh,” said Littlefoot. She wanted them quiet when they crossed the path that led to Jon’s door. She peered down his path, tiptoeing quickly. She could see Jon’s head above some bushes, but he was looking the other way.
Kindra sneezed – much more daintily than usual.
Jon whipped his head around. “Heloooo ladies.”
Littlefoot glared at Kindra.
Benedella whispered, “What’s he doing. Is he peeing? Ew.”
After a moment, Jon came out into the path and walked toward the girls. He didn’t hurry, and Littlefoot had half a mind to keep on walking. But eventually Jon prowled his way into their personal space.
“Benedella, how lovely to see you. Kindra, Littlefoot. On your way to your grandmother’s house?”
Benedella nodded. “Yes, and she’s, er, sick, so we’d better be on our way.”
“Why don’t you stay and have tea? Your sisters can take the basket to your grandma.”
“No thank you.”
“Benedella,” he whined. “What I really want is to get to know you. I have so much to show you. I have a huge…”
He reached into his pocket and grabbed something. Benedella gasped.
Jon pulled out a velvet pouch. Benedella sighed in relief.
“Inheritance,” Jon said. “And no one to share it with.” He jingled the pouch.
“I’m feeling a little faint!” Kindra blurted in a very unfaint voice. “Could I relax here while my sisters go on?”
“Kindra!” Littlefoot forgot to hide her revulsion.
Jon looked Kindra up and down. He shrugged. “All right.”
Littlefoot and Benedella watched, mouths agape, as Kindra swaggered up the path to Jon’s door and accompanied him inside. Then Littlefoot shoved Benedella a few steps toward their grandmother’s until they were out of sight of Jon’s house.
“What are we going to do? We can’t leave her.”
“No, we can’t.”
“Should we go in?”
“I don’t know. She’s old enough to make her own decisions. Maybe we should just wait here and make sure she’s okay.”
“But. Jon Wolf. There’s something freaky about him.”
“I know, I know.”
A door clunked shut. The girls hurried back to Jon’s path. Kindra was walking quickly, stiff as a soldier. She passed Littlefoot and Benedella and turned toward their grandmother’s house. They broke into a trot, peering back once in a while. Jon didn’t seem to be following them. Kindra only said, “Freaky. Freaky, you guys.”
When they reached their grandma’s, Littlefoot knocked and said, “Salt and sugar, Kindra, what were you thinking?”
But before Kindra could respond, Grandma answered the door.
“Grandma!” Littlefoot nearly shouted. “Your face is the color of a gull’s wing! What’s the matter?”
“I, I think I just killed a man.”
Grandma opened the door all the way to reveal Jon, flat on his back on the floor.
Littlefoot felt for a pulse. “No, he’s alive.”
“Aww,” Kindra complained.
Littlefoot asked, “What happened?”
“Well,” Grandma said, “I didn’t ask who it was, because I was expecting the king’s tax collector this morning, and when I opened the door, this man threatened me if I didn’t give him some of my clothes. He told me to get in the closet and keep quiet or else. So I took him down.”
Littlefoot looked around the room. She checked the front walkway. The tax collectors weren’t anywhere to be seen.
“Kindra, take his clothes off.”
“Just do it. Benedella, see if anything of Grandma’s will fit him. He wanted to pose as Grandma, and he’s going to.”
Kindra left fingernail marks down the sides of Jon’s thighs. She unbuttoned his shirt and left him in only his underthings. Grandma helped Benedella find her biggest nightdress and get it onto the dead weight of a man.
“Help me get him on the bed,” Littlefoot directed.
They dragged and heaved him onto Grandma’s bed, and Littlefoot found the money pouch in Jon’s pocket and left it on the bed beside him.
“Grandma, have you any parchment?”
“I have this tax bill.”
Littlefoot found a bit of chalk and wrote, “Here is the tax money, plus some extra for the poor. I am going to take a nap. Please stamp this bill so I know the king received his tax.”
The four girls left the door open and giggled and snickered all the way to a hiding place in the woods. They each watched from behind a tree as the king’s men came, hesitantly entered Grandma’s house, and left with a velvet pouch.
“Grandma,” Benedella said. “Do you want to come to our house until he’s gone?”
“Oh no,” Grandma replied. “I want to stay here and watch him walk home.” She pulled Jon’s pants and shirt out from under her coat.
And so they did.
Monthly Archives: May 2013
Littlefoot buttoned her red, hooded coat as Benedella transferred warm cookies to a basket to take to their grandmother.
Today someone told me that whoever takes the Bible literally is crazy. Here’s the thing. Whatever the truth is, it’s crazy!
Some all powerful being decided to make creatures with two feet, acid-filled stomachs, eyeballs, and nosehair? That’s crazy!
– or –
A bunch of gases and particles came from nothing, bounced around, and millions of years later, turned into people walking around playing practical jokes on each other and line dancing? Crazy!
When our body dies, some part of us lives on in a place with abundant beauty and no pain? Can I have whatever you’re smoking?
– or –
When our body dies, our consciousness ceases to exist? Inconceivable!
God lets bad things happen to good people? Crazy.
– or –
There’s no purpose, no one to comfort the afflicted, and no reward for enduring? Cray cray!
It’s a crazy world. Fly-eating frogs, radio waves, herpes, Monty Python, hurricanes, squid, venus flytraps, bagpipes, blonde jokes, corsets, flatulence, stage fright, stage moms, politics, tabloids, high heels, arrogance, helium voice, childbirth, Dodger fans. An infinite list of crazy. The truth is, there’s no sane explanation for crazy. My explanation is no crazier than yours. I know what I believe, but I can hardly blame you for having a different view of this complex, vast, universe. That would just be crazy.
I’ll be 40 this year. Here are some things I think everyone should know. I’m sure there are others, but as I don’t know them, I can’t put them on my list. Feel free to add your own in the comments.
1. Never, under any circumstances, open your mouth while swishing out the toilet.
2. He who brags that he’s never gotten a speeding ticket will be pulled over within 24 hours.
3. Never assume a woman is pregnant, even if she’s shopping for baby clothes and rubbing her beachball-shaped belly.
4. If there is no street to turn left on, there is also no U-turning, even if there’s not a NO U-TURN sign. (That’s an important one.)
5. Racism and sexism still exist.
6. Quinoa is pronounced keen-WAH, mischievous is pronounced MIS-chiv-us, and appreciate is pronounced seldom.
7. Thanks to technology, there’s no good place to pick your nose.
8. Some stereotypes are true, but you don’t say them anyway.
9. Kids are no worse than when you were a kid.
10. Automatic doors don’t always open.
11. Wasabi likes to masquerade as avocado.
12. Sometimes a six-year-old is going to know more than you.
13. The number 13 is not often unlucky.
14. No one is probably going to read your blog.
15. Life is short. Write a blog if you want to.
Germaphobia versus hypochondria.
When I had extreme numbness at night due to undiagnosed chiropractic problems, I assumed I was dying of a circulatory disease. The first time I had pain in my temple due to I-still-don’t-know-what-but-it’s-been-ten-years-so-I-guess-I’m-okay, I assumed I was having an aneurysm. When I had a streak-like line of a bruise on my broken toe, I assumed I had blood poisoning. I suppose many hypochondriacs have the same problem I do – deciding whether to go to the doctor and spend the next week waiting to come down with the symptoms you saw in the doctor’s waiting room, or stay home and die of the symptoms you already have.
In the three hypochondria situations mentioned above, I eventually went to the doctor, but thanks to the germaphobe side of me I have stayed home while the hypochondriac me thought I was dying of a bee sting, a spider bite, the stomach flu, appendicitis, and no fewer than three types of cancer. I’ll go with the numbers here.
Germaphobia versus tech addiction.
This week my modem stopped modeming. While I waited for the new one to come in the mail, I thought of the type of person I usually see at the library computers and the sheer number of people who put their fingers on those computer keyboards and the fact that the people usually smell like they’re hiding a lit cigarette in their mouth, and I thought about all the exciting emails I might be getting and the scrabble moves to be made and the people who might think I was dead if I didn’t change my Facebook status twice a day.
Winner? Tech addiction!
Germaphobia versus Supermom status.
I hate cats. I like videos of cats, but videos of cats don’t walk in their own excrement and then walk on my counters, my bed, and my face. Videos of cats don’t, as my cat did, miss all forty-eight inches of their yarn toy and slash my finger, and then meow at me to play some more while I’m applying pressure to stop the blood loss (see hypochondria above.)
And what is my daughter’s life goal? To work in a cat shelter. I looked all over the county to find a shelter that let kids under 14 volunteer. Finally I found one. The catch was that their parent had to be with them. In the room. With five litterboxes.
My stomach still churns, but guess who won.
Germaphobia versus serving others.
One time I thought it would be funny to use this quote from The Jerk as my Facebook status. “Things are going to start happening to me now.” Never mind that what happens to Steve Martin’s character after he says this is he gets shot at. Anyway I typed that and then I took my dog for a walk. When we were almost back home, I saw a petite woman being pulled off balance by her standard poodle. Her legs and free arm were flailing. I thought, “let go of the leash!” but she didn’t, and down she went in the middle of the street. She looked unconscious, so I ran to her aid. She lay there on her back with a puddle of blood under her head. No one else was in sight. So I ran into my house to call 911, and did I get an icepack and hold it to her maybe-AIDS-contaminated head? Yes I did.
There was also a time when my friend Tara was running a day spa at our annual women’s retreat. Jesus washed his friends’ feet, and so did Tara. She needed lots of other washers. Did I volunteer to help her? No I did not. I did volunteer to fill the tubs with clean hot water, though. So germaphobia versus serving others…
I believe that the Bible is factual. I don’t like to argue about it, but I think that what doesn’t make sense to us scientifically now will eventually make sense to us. For instance, I once read a book by Isaac Asimov, In The Beginning I believe it was called, in which Asimov argued for an entire chapter about the word “firmament.” The sky is not a firmament, he wasted his ink telling us, and therefore the Bible is from man and flawed. It turns out that the original Hebrew word is correctly translated “expanse.” Asimov did mention that he was using one specific translation, but really, Isaac, was a little research (or lack of bias) really too much for you?
Anyway, one of the verses I’m waiting to understand fully is Hebrews 4:15. “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.” “High priest” refers to Jesus. Other translations (see how easy that is, Isaac?) say “tempted in every way.”
Now, I admit that Jesus was tempted in ways I probably never will be, but the other day, after I yelled at two young men who got me up off my couch after a long day to try to scam me with a “magazine subscription to help them win a trip to Italy,” I found a Dr. Oz article about perimenopausal rage, and that got me wondering. Jesus, would you have kept your perspective and your cool with wildly fluctuating estrogen levels?
Obviously the answer is yes. He was perfect. But in light of Hebrews 4:15, I would like to propose that maybe Jesus did keep his cool with wildly fluctuating estrogen levels. To make Hebrews 4:15 true, maybe God zapped Jesus with estrogen once or twice, so he would know exactly how a forty-year-old woman is tempted. Maybe Jesus drank out of a well contaminated with birth control pills. (By the way modern men, did you know that you’re drinking female hormones? Good times.)
But is there any evidence? Well, no. But you have to wonder at Jesus calling Peter Satan. All Peter did was suggest that Jesus shouldn’t have to suffer and die. Jesus could have answered, “I know it sucks, but that’s the way it has to happen. Thanks for not wanting me to suffer and die.” I suggest that He may have been zapped with estrogen, and out flew, “Get thee behind me, Satan!” It was, after all, only at certain times of the month that I wanted to call my old boss Satan. Sorry women’s libbers, I am the reason there’s so much opposition to women in combat.
Another possibility is when Jesus overturned the money changers’ tables. This is maybe more likely, because it’s the only time (I think) when Jesus got physical. Without fluctuating hormones, maybe he would have said, “Everybody out, this is a house of prayer, not a den of robbers. Move along, move along.” With estrogen, “Get out!” (crash) “My house shall be called,” (crash) “a House (crash) Of (crash) Prayer!!”
This is not to say that Jesus did not have every right to react as he did to these real insults to his Father. It just makes me feel a little better to think that not one single part of the temptation I face is left out of Hebrews 4:15. “Tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”
I taught band for ten years, and kindergarten for one year. Over the last 16 years, my husband has taught elementary band, second grade, and high school band, choir, music appreciation, remedial English and math. Here are some things we’ve experienced that might encourage you to thank your child’s teachers this week.
– Standing in the bathroom stall while a student barfs
– Waiting late at night with a student whose parent forgot to pick them up, even though it’s not legally safe for a teacher to be alone with a student
– Sending a kid who is meaner and bigger than us to the office
– Smiling at the kid we’ve sent to the office twelve times in three weeks
– Touching the saliva on a student’s saxophone
– Spending the day at the local parade every year with students instead of family
– Telling parents what they want to hear
– Telling parents what they don’t want to hear
– Listening to a student cry because their cat died
– Figuring out what to say to a student when their parent died
– Keeping 60 kids entertained when you think you might be coming down with the flu
– Vowing silently all semester to give an unruly student an F, and giving them a D
– Meeting with other teachers to brainstorm best methods for difficult students
– Buying dry erase pens out of our own money because it’s easier
– Buying beans and rice at the end of the month
– Reading classroom discipline books, hoping for a miracle
– Threatening boys as if their girlfriend was our daughter
– Loving them all like they’re our own
This morning I borrowed my mother-in-law’s car, since my car drove its last mile yesterday. I got a prime parking spot at Starbucks, where I could see a regular (I think his name is Ken) sitting at a little table by the window. I ordered my hot chocolate from Jesse, who was involved in last week’s most embarrassing moment where I complained about the new policy to warm up pastries even when the customer doesn’t want them warmed up, and who also wrote 135 degrees on my cup instead of 110 (first world problem alert!) I picked up my 135 degree hot chocolate and returned to my car. Well, my mother-in-law’s car.
I have never had a car with remote keys, so I can never remember which button does what on my mother-in-law’s car. I pressed the button I thought would unlock it, and nothing happened. I pressed it twice. Nothing. I pressed a different button. The car honked. I pressed each button once, trying the door handle after each, and pressed each button twice and tried the door handle. Nothing.
Finally I remembered that I also had, imagine this, an actual key.
It didn’t work.
“What kind of car doesn’t have a key to open the door?” I wondered.
Isn’t that what you would wonder too? No? That’s because you’re not an idiot.
After more honking and silent swearing, I heard a tap on the Starbucks window. I looked up, and there was Ken, pointing to the left. I turned around to the other silver sedan behind me, which had apparently been honking at me to get my attention all along. Thanks Ken. See you tomorrow.