Posted in Life, grandfather, grandparenting

A remarkable find: the skeleton of a dead lizard

“There’s something in here!”

My four-year-old grandson decided to get into the ball basket on our porch. He still fits, but just barely. To fit, he had to toss out each ball, and work his way to the bottom of the 2×2 foot basket.

He threw out fuzzy snowballs from some Christmas in the past. Plastic baseballs we used to hit in the yard. Pimple balls – inflatable balls covered with little bumps. Various colored balls that every grandchild played with as babies. Balls that light up when you bounce them on the ground. A couple of soccer balls we kick around the backyard. A little basketball with dog teeth marks in it. Little balls that roll down chutes.

He unearthed Andy and Annie (from Toy Story). And “something.” He was almost at the bottom of the basket when he came upon something he couldn’t identify.

I went over to see what he had found. It was awesome. It was the dried skeletal remains of a lizard.

Yes, this is awesome on many levels.

First, it means that the lizard who had been living on our porch, who we could never catch or expel for the porch, was an ex-lizard.

Second, just look at this guy. You can see his whole skeleton. LIttle boys and grandpas get a lot of joy from skeletons, lizard, dinosaur, or human.

Third, he’s dried and preserved. We could take him home and keep him along with other treasures we’ve accumulated. We’ll put him on a shelf or in a drawer. Mom will never find out.

Have you ever gone to a museum or a science center to see the dinosaur skeletons? They are huge, awesome, and memorable. On a smaller scale, we have our own dinosaur-esque bones. We can start our own museum or road-side attraction!

I think this is one of the reasons grandfathers are so important. Moms will scream, “Get that thing out of here. Now go wash your hands!” Grandmothers will call for grandfathers to take care of the skeletal invaders. Dads will say, “Go ask your mom if you can keep it.” But grandpa (aka moi) will come up with all kinds of cool reasons why you should take it home and keep it.

Posted in flash fiction, Stories


She would never forget.

She would never forget how life had stripped away every song, every feather and every freedom.

She would never forget how she became a scavenger. Just like him.

The restaurant closed. Unemployment ran out. The stimulus was spent.

The lights were on. The water ran. The rent was paid. But that’s it.

It’s amazing what you can find if you look. A discarded Visa gift card with $2.71 left on it. A mattress, bookshelf, chair, lamp, coffee maker and carpet remnant by the side of the road. A neighbor’s wife without a password. A bag of clothes outside an overstuffed donation bin. A gel pen by the side of the road. Half-used spiral notebooks, half-full shampoo bottles, half-read books and half of a pizza out by the road in front of a cleaned-out house. The Gideon gave her a bible. The pastor gave her a few bags of food. Lightly-used toys by the curb became gifts for the nieces and nephews. Free samples at Costco, even if you don’t buy anything. A free Krispy Kreme donut because she got the vaccine.

That was a rough year. Until the restaurant reopened. The customers came back. The hours were long. The tips were especially generous. They remembered her. They understood.

Her car wasn’t fancy, but it got her there. She sang along to the radio. The lights were on. The water ran. The rent was paid. She brought a bag of food for the food pantry. She donated some extra clothes. She bought a few things at Costco. She bought a coffee to go with her free donut.

But she would never forget. Every time she glanced in the rearview mirror, she would see his bones.

And she would remember.