Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Twilight Years of Life (07/02/09)
TITLE: The Demise of the Poisonous Frog
By Sheri Gordon
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Sara shot her husband the “don’t ask” look before proceeding. “Trevor chose ‘The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks,’ Sean selected ‘The Magic School Bus Explores the Senses,’ and I threw in ‘The Magic School Bus Inside a Beehive’ just for fun.”
Sara collapsed on the couch next to her husband and rested her head on the fluffy cushion behind her. Mike pulled his bride of ten years closer and began gently massaging her neck and shoulders. Relaxing in her husband’s embrace, Sara let the day’s stresses fade away beneath Mike’s strong hands.
“Have I ever told you about my Great Aunt Alice?”
“Is she the crazy cat lady?” Mike was not fond of felines, so it wasn’t surprising he remembered the story of the daft aunt with thirteen cats.
“That was great Aunt Lulu.”
“Is it the aunt who made persimmon pudding with pecans?”
“That’d be Aunt Mae.” Sara changed positions and placed her feet in Mike’s lap. “Great Aunt Alice, or Auntie, was a lot like Ms. Frizzle. A little bit nuts, lots of adventure stories, and ‘full of vim and vinegar’ as she used to say.”
“Who’s Ms. Frizzle?”
“Oh come on Mike, she’s the teacher from ‘The Magic School Bus’ books. Don’t you pay attention to what you’re reading?”
Mike slapped Sara’s feet, shrugged and continued massaging.
“Auntie went on some great adventures after her husband died. She even went to the Holy Land and walked where Jesus walked.”
“Why’s that so unusual?”
“’Cause she had these funny clunky orthopedic high heel shoes that she wore with everything—even shorts, or rather, Bermudas. I can picture her trudging up the road to Golgotha in her white Bermudas, tan support hose, and white lace-up clunkers. She didn’t care what anyone thought. I remember she brought every cousin a small baggie filled with dirt from the road.”
“Auntie thought we each needed some dirt that quote Jesus trod on. I kid you not, she had seven baggies all tagged with our names.”
“Okay, that’s a bit strange, but I wouldn’t call her nuts.”
“Oh but wait, I’m not done. She also visited China, Indonesia, and Africa, and took a cruise down the Amazon.”
“She sounds like a well-travelled lady to me. I want us to go to those places some day.” Mike tenderly pushed his wife’s feet aside and laid his head in her lap. Sara and Mike had started this nightly routine shortly after Sean was born.
“Mike, you don’t get it. Auntie was well into her eighties when she went all these places. The trip down the Amazon was for her ninetieth birthday for crying out loud.”
“Lots of older people take cruises…I don’t understand why you think she’s so odd.”
“Hon, this wasn’t a Royal Caribbean, eat all day, play shuffleboard-type cruise. This was more of an ‘extreme cruise.’ My ninety year old great aunt was shooting the rapids and traipsing through the rain forest—wearing her clunky white orthopedic heels and carrying a cane! I will never forget the story she told about the poisonous frog.”
Sara continued in her best ‘Auntie’ voice. “’I was moseying along behind our young tour guide asking a few questions, because that’s what retired school teachers do, when this dern black and yellow frog jumps on my shoe. It like to scare me to death. So when the guide tells me that it’s a poisonous frog, and that I needed to hold very still, I told him I could handle it myself—after all, I was a mighty fine field hockey player in my day. I slowly cocked my cane and, WHACK, I sent that frog flying to Timbuktu—except I’m not sure I was facing in the right direction to send it to Timbuktu, which, as you should know, is in Africa, not South America, so the frog would have had to travel quite a distance. Needless to say, that frog was a long way from my shoe, and our young guide was pretty impressed.’”
Sara concluded in her ‘Sara’ voice. “I’m telling you, Auntie Alice could run circles around Ms. Frizzle.”
“She sounds great. Why can’t we be more adventurous like that?” Mike asked through a yawn.
“We have to grow into it…we’re not in our eighties yet.”
As the clock on the wall started to cuckoo, Sara and Mike bolted off the couch. “Oh thank goodness—nine o’clock. We can go to bed now.”
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