Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)
By Jan Ackerson
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My daughter Stacey was frantic. Frankly, I’ve no idea how I raised such a worry-wart. “Mother!” she said. “This place sounds awful. Trolls? Goblins? What are you thinking? When I insisted, she persuaded her husband that they needed to move here—she thinks I’m getting senile. So now they live a few cottages down the lane, with my red-haired granddaughter, Harley.
I wish they’d move back to Springville. Stacey and Tom are hovering busybodies, and Harley? As empty-headed as a bag of air.
But my other neighbors are fascinating—three pig brothers about a mile away (real pigs, not slobbish men), and seven charming little miners in another cabin nearby.
Enough back story—on to the events of yesterday. Getting out of bed, I slipped on the rug and twisted my ankle. No big deal, but I didn’t feel up to my daily walk to the market. I called Stacey on my cell. “Could you send Harley over with a few things? Some bread maybe, and a bit of fruit?”
After some anxious fretting (“Mother, I told you that throw rugs are dangerous…”), Stacey told me to expect my granddaughter with a basket of food in an hour or so. I sat down with a Sudoku.
Just as I was filling the bottom left corner with a 9 and a 4, I heard a knock. Harley, so soon? I hobbled to the door.
You know, I’ve lived here for a while now, and I’m still not used to those talking animals. It was a wolf, absurdly standing on his hind legs, wearing a green vest—no pants. “Morning, ma’am,” he growled. “Do you have a moment?”
Who knew wolves were so polite? “C’mon in,” I said. “What’s up?”
He perched on the sofa. “Ma’am, I’ve just met your granddaughter down the lane, and I fear for her safety. She’s talking to strangers, giving out personal information, showing them what’s in her basket... Pardon my asking, ma’am, but is she…” His voice trailed off.
“Thick as a brick? Yep. Takes after her father…” Together, we hatched a plan that would teach Harley some healthy caution, then played Boggle and enjoyed a few Pringles while we waited for her.
A full hour later, I heard Harley at the door, calling out to me. “Nana, I’m here…I got lost! I got your food…Nana, are you home?”
I hate being called “Nana”.
I called back to her. “Harley, I’m in bed. Turn the knob to the left.” A rattling sound. “No, dear, the other left.”
Finally, she tumbled into the cottage, and I could hear the contents of her basket scatter across the floor. “Nana, where are you?”
“I’m in the bedroom, Harley. C’mon back.” The wolf gave me a thumbs-up. Well, a paws-up.
From my hiding place in the closet, I could see a mop of red hair at the doorway. Harley took a tentative step into the room. The wolf was sitting on the bed in my pink sweats, his back to Harley.
The wolf swiveled around and bared his fangs at her. “Remember me?”
Harley jumped back, then considered for a moment. “Hey, aren’t you…no, wait.” She tilted her head, thinking hard. “Who are you, again?”
“Well,” said the wolf, “if we still did the Big Bad Wolf number in these parts, I’d be the guy who just ate your grandmother.”
Harley gasped. “Did you? Ewww, gross!”
“No dear, I didn’t—but I could have.” He nodded in my direction. “Come on out now, ma’am.”
I stepped into the room and tousled Harley’s hair. “Thanks for the food, kid. Go straight home, now, and tell your mom what happened. And good grief, punkin, zip it, willya?”
So Harley scooted home with a pout, the wolf and I had another snack, and he mentioned a friend of his he’d like me to meet—a woodcutter, like Alvin! Why not? I may be a grandmother, but I’m not dead yet—I’m only forty-eight. So it’s sushi and karaoke with the Spratts tomorrow night, and I’m hoping the woodcutter’s a hunk—just my type.
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