After the Fact: Wisdom of The Cheshire Cat


There are days when, living in this household, I feel as though I’ve fallen down a rabbit hole and haven’t a clue how to get back up. Chris opens the door to let the pony-sized dog go out in the morning. After visiting every bush, tree and fence post on a couple of acres, he returns to the porch and will stand there, nose pressed against the screen door, mute and unmoving, however long it takes for someone to remember he’s waiting and will let him come back in. 

It happens only when Chris is the one to open the door, but she’ll apologize and take his breakfast order. And he’ll tell her all about his morning adventures, talking all the way to his food bowl. Either she understands what he’s saying or she’s just trying to be polite, but the conversation will go on, back and forth, until he’s satisfied that she’s filled the bowl with just enough food. Which is more entertaining dialogue than we sometimes get from Patience, the fifth grader who occupies space in front of the TV.

Even within the limits we’ve placed on how long she can watch anything or play any of those electronic games, she managed to flood our ears with every Christmas special on Netflix over her holiday vacation. When she wasn’t bored and looking for something different to do. Like “sculpting” her eyebrows, which resulted in a swath cut horizontally in the middle of each. She looked as though she’d been startled into having four eyebrows. Her Aunt Tara “repaired” the damage somewhat before school resumed after winter break, so she now looks like Betty Boop.

“Curiouser and Curiouser,” said Alice.

Chris and I both drive a Jeep so whichever vehicle is used for whatever outing depends on how much room we need for people and things going or things and people coming home. The big dog will not fit into the Grand Cherokee but the smaller dog knows how to open the windows in the Liberty so, obviously, that is a consideration. The back door on the Cherokee sometimes does not open easily, so many bags of groceries load more easily into the Liberty. However, on the “go” side, whichever car is already packed for a trip is the one that won’t start.

Unless I am in the vehicle, Chris is ultra-reluctant to drive any car that belongs to me.  Every time she drove my Alfa Romeo, with or without permission, the car stopped somewhere and could not be started nor would it move with fewer than four linebackers pushing. The more people she tried to put in the car, the shorter the drive.

You’ve heard of Murphy’s Law? It says, simply, that anything that can go wrong, will. In our family, there were also laws. My law was to blame it on Micki. Micki’s law was to blame it on Lonny. And Lonny’s law was to always be in the wrong place at the right time, or, similarly, the right place at the wrong time.

Early in their teenage years, Lon and a few of his ne’er-do-well friends found themselves in the “neighborhood” of a lot where the county stored heavy equipment.  One of said friends knew a bit about these vehicles and could start them without need of a key. All piled out of the car and onto the equipment and away they did go. Right into the pond where Lonny was trying to catch toads. 

Somehow, the police learned the names of the miscreants of the night and they were duly taken to the department where they were released to their parents pending a court hearing. The judge, similarly, chastised the criminals AND their parents and sent them all on their way. He was heard to comment, after all had left his courtroom, that NEVER had he heard such an unlikely story as what Lonny had related, but he didn’t doubt, for a minute, that it was the absolute truth. It was not the first time Lonny’s name had appeared in the police blotter, but that’s another story for another time. It has to do with a Little League baseball cap.

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