Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Grandparent(s) (04/03/08)
TITLE: Moonlight Ping Pong
By Betty Castleberry
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“Of course not, dear.”
Meg kissed Taylor’s cheek. “Behave. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
My eight year old pride and joy wiped the damp spot on her cheek. “Okay.”
Taylor and I waved as her mother drove off.
Pulling my granddaughter by the hand, we went to the kitchen and opened the pantry.
My pantry is a plethora of cookies, snack cakes, chocolates and candies, not to mention a variety of chips, nuts, and pretzels.
Taylor pulled out a chocolate cream-filled cake. “I want this.”
“Excellent choice, Miss Taylor. You are now deemed an Excellent Snack Picker Extraordinaire, not to be confused with a Noted Nose Picker Extraordinaire.”
I got one for myself, and we settled on the couch to watch TV. “Let’s watch Hannah Montana.”
“Absolutely. I’ll have you know I am quite with it.”
We watched as Hannah Montana sang. Taylor bounced on the sofa.
“Get up, girlfriend. We are going to dance.” I spun her around. “We should sing, too, but we need these.” I grabbed two candles and handed her one. She followed my lead as I sang into the candle. “The very best microphones are made of wax, you know.”
While Taylor examined her candle, I admired her shiny hair and the trail of freckles across her nose.
She looked up. “Grandma, are you staring? Because if you are, it isn’t nice.”
“I guess I was, sweetie, but I was only admiring you. You have beautiful hair. It’s your great genes.”
“I forgot what genes are.”
“Well, genes are the things that make you special. They decide what color your hair and eyes are going to be.”
“Maybe your genes are mixed up, Grandma. You have red hair now, but Mom said your hair used to be brown.”
Although I love my daughter very much, sometimes she talks too much. That’s probably a genetic thing as well, because I’ve done it myself.
“Did she?” I figured a diversion would be the best way to handle the situation. “Let’s go to the basement.”
Taylor loves our subterranean playground. A ping pong table sits center stage, and shelves on either side of it are lined with books and games to rival any toy store.
“Taylor, I have a surprise for you, but I have to go to the Dreaded Dungeon to get it.”
I put my arm around her shoulder and pulled her to my side. She snuggled up against me.
The closet under the stairs is small and dark. Although there is nothing frightening in it, it is, after all, in the basement. That automatically puts it in the scary category.
We tiptoed to the closet and I reached for the knob, turning it very slowly. The door opened with an appropriate movie-set squeak.
I peeked inside and yelled, “Boo!”
Taylor jumped back. “Grandma, you scared me.”
“Yes, I did. Shame on me.”
I reassured her with a wink, and we burst out in simultaneous laughter.
“Here’s what I wanted.” Fitting a pink princess hat on her head, I nodded. “You’re as pretty as any princess ever was.”
“Let me see it.” She removed the hat and stroked the cascade of netting that trailed from the back. “Cool.”
“You have to put it back on, so I can wear my Queen Grandmother hat.”
I reached into the closet and retrieved a tiara adorned with rhinestones. “This, dear Taylor, is what a real queen wears. Someday you will wear this and your own granddaughter will wear the princess hat.”
“I won’t have a granddaughter. I’m not getting married, because I don’t like boys.”
“You like your dad and your grandpa.”
“They aren’t boys.”
I had to give her that.
“When is Grandpa coming home?“
“In about an hour. In the meantime, do you want to play moonlight ping pong?”
“I’ll show you. If I turn off the light over the ping pong table, it will be just dark enough, but we can still see a little.”
I flipped the light switch and tapped a glow-in-the-dark ball her way. The princess hat slid down her forehead and over one eye as she swung her paddle at the glowing sphere volleying toward her.
I pulled my tiara down over my eyes and looked at her through a rhinestone peephole. “Let’s paint the ping pong table purple with pink polka dots.”
Taylor grinned. “You’re crazy, Grandma.”
More flattering words had never been spoken.
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