The Mystery Begins
The first time dad took me to see my grandmother at the assisted living home is still a vivid memory for me. I was worried about her and wondering how we would spend our time together. Dad must have noticed.
He said, “Now, your grandmother is all right, really she is. She is very healthy, she is just forgetful lately.She can’t live alone anymore.She needs to take medications every day and she can’t remember to and that is not good for her health.She is even forgetting to eat and is leaving her front door unlocked!”
I knew what he meant. Sometime she would ask the same question over and over again or repeat what she had just said a few minutes earlier. Admitting that I was worried, I wondered aloud about what we would talk about during our visit. That was when the mystery began.
Dad just smiled and said, “With the way that you love animals, you should ask her to tell you the story about the green kitty.”
“A green kitty! Dad, you must be joking. There is no such of a thing as a green cat.”
He just grinned and wouldn’t tell me anything else. By the time we got to her room I was bursting with curiosity. My grandmother had taught me long ago that whenever anyone told me “Curiosity killed the cat” the answer was “Satisfaction brought it back.” She was just that free of a spirit. As soon as we were all seated I asked her about the green kitty.
“Didn’t I already tell you the story about my green kitty?” was her response.
“No, Grandma, I don’t think that I ever heard about any green cat.”
“Now, that is a good story, definitely one of my best. But it has slipped my mind right now. Just let me tell you about another story that came into my mind instead, and maybe the green kitty story will come back to me.”
“I know that you have seen the house where we lived when we were young, the one next to the Flint River. You might not believe it, but it was originally a farm and the town of Riverdale was so small it only had one flashing yellow traffic light.
“Anyway, one summer day my sister, Helen, came running into the house screaming, ‘Snake, snake, there’s a snake on the porch!’
“As the family tomboy, I had to go out and check to see if there was indeed anything to be upset about.
“So, I went out on the porch. There was an old cardboard box on one corner of the porch where we kept hickory chips for the grill. I looked at it and saw a little green head sticking out of one end of the box and a little green tail sticking out of the other end.
“Acting like a bit of a know it all, I yelled into the house at Helen, ‘THAT’S NOT A SNAKE. IT’S NOTHIN’ BUT A LITTLE OLE GREEN LIZARD,’ and I kicked the box.
“The next thing I saw was a five foot long copper belly water moccasin snake shooting out from under the box!
“Well, I know that teleportation is possible because I was instantly across the porch, standing up on a chair, and then I was the one screaming, “SNAKE, SNAKE, THERE’S A SNAKE ON THE PORCH!” Grandma finished the story off with a sweet giggle.
After I finished laughing at her story and secretly amazed at the thought of her being able to move so fast, she said, “You know, my godparents used to call our 30 acres of land the ‘Snake Farm’ because we were always seeing so many snakes.Because it was right next to a river some of them were of the poisonous variety. My mother taught me at a very young age that if the head of a snake is more like a triangle then it is probably poisonous.” We talked a little longer until it was time to leave.