Not planned and certainly not expected, these were the moments and this the meal that Nina would savor.
She had hoped for last night’s dinner to be special and memorable. She’d served moist and tender herb roasted turkey breast; bacon and chive studded scalloped potatoes; tossed salad; and fresh-from-the-oven, homemade apple pie. It had all been delicious and there were no left-overs, but...something had been missing.
Maybe because she’d felt pressured to make it a special time, it just didn’t happen. The house had been too hot and too noisy. The guys, John and Tim, wanted to relax after the meal and watch TV. Nina and Natalie wanted to talk; and little Callie wanted to grasp Grandmom Nina’s hand and race up and down the hall on her toddling, little feet.
In the end, Nina was awfully glad that Tim, Natalie and Callie were only leaving on vacation and not something more lengthy. It wasn’t the ‘send-off’ she’d wanted to give them.
This morning had started like any other day. Nina took Shorty for his daily walk, but he didn’t want to get moving. They got about thirty yards down the trail and Shorty just wanted to go back to the parking lot.
“Fine Shorty, that’s just fine! If you don’t want a walk, we’ll just get back in the car and go home.”
But when she pulled the key from her pocket, it was the key to John’s car, not hers. She’d taken the wrong key off the ring and locked the others in the car.
She just stared at it.
“Well Shorty, it looks like you’re going to get a walk after all,” Nina said and guided the now cooperative blood hound to the side of the highway. She was glad it was only a mile-and-a-half trek. Nina would have to figure out how to get into the house once they got there.
There was lots of traffic, but no one whizzed by too fast or too close. Once, a tractor trailer came to a full stop just behind them on the other side of the road. Nina looked to see why and discovered the driver was waiting for them because he needed to swing wide to make his right turn. She hurried Shorty along.
Then, just a minute later, another vehicle slowed to a stop. Without looking, Nina had the comforting idea, ‘this person is going to help us.’
She turned to see who it was and delight filled her eyes.
“Hey, crazy lady, are you alright?” Natalie called from the driver’s seat.
“No,” Nina answered.
“I locked my keys in the car and we’re walking home,” Nina explained.
“Oh, I’m so relieved,” Natalie said. “I was afraid this might be part of your regular routine and it’s not a good idea. Hop in and we’ll get your spare key and then we’ll get your car.”
“Thank you so much, but what are you doing here?” Nina asked.
“I needed to return these wallpaper books and I couldn’t think of a better way to get there. I saw your car at the trail head and have been feeling guilty that I didn’t stop to walk with you,” Natalie explained.
“I’m so glad you didn’t. What are the chances of this happening?” Nina exclaimed.
“Just like you’ve always said, we’ve got a guardian angel watching over us.” Natalie smiled as she pulled into the driveway. “I’ve got a few other errands to run or it would be great to spend more time together.”
“Would you like me to go along?” Nina asked.
“Oh no, I know you have other things to do.”
“Nothing that can’t wait. If it would help, I’d love to come along,” Nina said.
“Really? I’d love that too!”
So, Natalie bought a beach towel for Tim, water shoes for Callie, and food for the trip.
Callie passed items from the shopping cart to her Grandmom and giggled heartily when Grandmom took them and passed them back.
They had a wonderful time.
Now they all sat at the local fast-food place - the place where the food’s not necessarily healthy and it’s thrown together - fast - with indifferent hands.
“This is the best burger I’ve had in ages,” Nina said.
Natalie agreed and said. “It’s like they’ve got some extra-special, secret ingredient today.”
I think I know what that ‘secret ingredient’ is, Nina thought, and she savored this time more than the burger.
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