Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Hot and Cold (04/09/09)
TITLE: Hey, George!
By Shelley Ledfors
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“Hey, George!” The Lord called. “What can we do to send the McGillicuddys a real challenge?”
“More critters?” George asked.
My angel's name's unusual for one of his kind, but since George is as unique as his name, it suits him.
“No, not critters,” the Lord said.
“George, George... Mrs. McGillicuddy's name's Matilda, not Sarah.”
“Oh. That would require one of your extra special interventions, wouldn't it? How old's Matilda now?”
George rubbed the stubble on his chin. (I told you he isn't your typical angel.) “How about sending her those middle-aged woman issues?”
“She already has those. Remember?”
“That's right.” George gave himself an I-could've-had-a-V-8 slap on the forehead. “How could I forget? I was the one who helped Marge buy Matilda's birthday gift. I nudged her toward the t-shirt I'd picked out, but she wandered off. I finally had to trip her! She practically fell into the rack before she got the message. But when she saw the shirt, she bought it for Matilda. It says, “I'm Still Hot”...then, “Now It Just Comes In Flashes.”
George collapsed in laughter. After a few raucous minutes he sat up, wiped away the mirth-tears and snapped his fingers. “I've got it! Matilda's already 'hot'. Let's send them something cold...”
“Are you warm enough, Dad?”
“Not really.” He looks up from the folds of the bright red, wearable blanket that makes him look like a monk. “Could you put another log on the fire?”
“Sure. But let's move your chair away from the hearth just a bit. Singed Snuggie gives me a headache.
On the fourth try, I succeed in getting more wood in the stove. The log slipped out of my sweat-soaked hands on my first three attempts.
I tuck the fleece more tightly around Dad. No wonder he's always cold. The illness that necessitated his move into our home has reduced him to a skin-draped skeleton.
I retreat to the garage where my husband finds me a few minutes later.
“What are you doing out here, hon?"
“Oh! Uh...cleaning the freezer.”
“Again? You just cleaned it yesterday.”
“Well, you know me. I like to stay on top of things.”
“So I see.”
He hesitates, as though unsure whether he should say anything more. But he's always been a risk-taker, so he continues. “Matilda, don't most people clean chest freezers from the outside instead of climbing in with the contents?”
“Well there's more than one way to clean a freezer!”
“Um...sure.” This time he wisely decides against continuing our conversation. He wanders away, muttering something I can't quite make out.
Finally, when that particular “power surge” subsides, I climb out, slam the lid and—I admit it—do a little grumbling.
Lord? I'm not too sure about your sense of humor, sometimes. Stoking a stove in an already 87 degree room in an attempt to give a dying man a little comfort is one thing, but to have hot flashes on top of that? I mean, the hot and cold juxtaposition thing is cute and all, but right now it's a bit much!
Dad's a little better in the afternoon, and so am I. He moves his chair closer to where we're remodeling the kitchen. I know it kills him that he can't help, but he can still advise us. And his advice is absolutely right. His body may be failing, but there's nothing whatsoever wrong with his mind.
In the evening, he tells us his jokes and stories. Sure, some we've heard before, but others are new. We laugh and love his company.
When I help him get ready for bed, he gives me a big hug and tells me how much he appreciates everything we're doing for him. It's then I realize I had it all wrong in my imagined scenario. Oh, not about George. I still picture him as a bit of an imp—not unlike my dad. No, what I had wrong was the first part. Let me revise it...
“Hey, George!” The Lord called. “What can we do to send the McGillicuddys a special blessing?”
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