Kathleen Clary Miller has written 300+ columns and stories for periodicals both local and national, and has authored three books (www.amazon.com/author/millerkathleenclary). She lives in the woods of the Ninemile Valley, thirty miles west of Missoula.
Because my one-year old grandson, Jack, lives in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, I frequently find myself on Skype in order to see him as often as I can (and engrave onto his impressionable developing memory that I am “Grandma”).
Jack has visited three times in his young life, and so each time his beaming countenance rises on my computer screen, I pry my own face away long enough to show him things here that he might remember.
“See Cody?” I ask as I turn the camera to our German Shepherd who was a favorite during his last visit. The feeling is mutual; Cody cooperates to look at the screen, and when he sees that Jack is securely settled in his high chair it signals “orts on the floor” and “discarding the yucky bites” and so he assumes the canine attentive posture in hopes of being on the receiving end of illegal snacking.
This morning I was vacuuming when the delightful computer chime rang out. I swiftly shut down the Dyson (Oh darn; This chore will have to wait!) and dashed to answer the call as if I hadn’t seen the toddler for months when, in fact, it had been less than 24 hours since our last virtual visit.
During our initial greeting that consists of peek-a-boo, hand clapping, face slapping, and my rolling my tongue like a lizard, I espied in my peripheral vision our friendly flock of turkeys—some two dozen of them—waddling across the gravel and strutting onto the lawn out back. It was a clear and sunny day, so I turned the laptop to face the picture window and emoted like a birthday party clown for Jack to “Loooook!” I couldn’t see the child’s reaction (probably fear), but heard my daughter reassuring and further instructing “Turkeys! See the turkeys?” whereupon several deer (of all ages) entered the outdoor pageant, nibbling on the grass and maneuvering around the plentitude of poultry
I cracked one of the windows to the melodious chirping of multitudinous smaller birds. Katharine and Jack were able to hear their cheeping as a button-nosed bunny hoped on stage from deep within some shrubbery, just before Cody became aware (it takes Cody awhile to become aware) of the pageantry. He predictably went berserk, barking and tearing from window to window while knocking over chairs, his targets utterly nonplussed at the verbal assault.
After I satisfied my protector that there was no need to attack, Katharine told me that Jack had been watching with great interest. “It’s just like in Snow White when all the animals come out of the woods to help her do the housework!” she enthused, being a rabid Disney fan still, at age thirty. She dressed like Ms. White just last Halloween; uncannily hangs every heroine’s costume in her closet.
“Ah-hah-hah-hah-hahhhh …” I trilled, imitating the signature tune Snow sings. I must admit I felt somewhat supported in my tedious efforts with such an auspicious menagerie cheering me on.
It was Jack’s naptime so I reluctantly disconnected and redirected my attention to the vacuum. Acknowledging my forest friends I resolved to think of house cleaning as a fairy tale…even if my prince was on the golf course.