When my daughter was very young, we bought her a hamster. She promised to take care of a hamster if we would buy her one. But anyone who has bought their child a hamster, knows how that goes.
It became my job every day to ensure “Wilbur” had food and
water. On Saturday, it was my job to rid the hamster cage of that hideous odor
that was a result of the food and water. It was my daughter’s job to watch the
hamster while I washed the cage. She would set Wilbur on the sofa next to her
and pet him while she watched Saturday morning cartoons. When I would bring the
cleaned cage in, I’d ask her, “Where’s Wilbur?” to which she would answer,
“He’s right here beside… Where’d he go?” Then we’d spend the rest of the
afternoon searching under beds and in closets for him.
One day, I went to feed and water Wilbur, but he didn’t
move. He had passed away in the night.
I tried to think of the best way to break the news to my daughter.
I went to her room, and sat beside her. “Honey, Wilbur died last night. He’s
not with us any more,” I said.
“Well, where is he?” she asked.
“God took him to heaven to be with Him,” I said.
She thought about it for a minute and asked, “What does God want with a dead hamster?”
My daughter is a very social girl and is always being
invited to parties. This week, she’s invited to this girl’s birthday party,
that girl’s Summer cookout, and another girl’s sleepover. The trouble is, we
don’t find out about a Friday-night-to-Saturday-morning sleepover until after
school late on the Friday of. Then it’s, “You didn’t get me a present to take
to the party? Yes, I did, I told you two weeks ago that Vicky’s birthday was
sometime this month, and she said she was going to invite me if she had a
party…” Somehow, there is special coding in the previous sentence that
translates to “I’d like to attend Vicky’s slumber party on the 15th starting at
six o’clock Friday evening and ending around 9:00 Saturday morning.”
Regardless, this was one of those days. Except it was a
day party on a Sunday. We darted out of the church house as soon as the last
note was sung, had to run to Wal Mart and purchase a present, wrap it with tape
and tissue paper purchased at the Dollar Store, get Rachael to sign a Drug
Store birthday card, and deliver our daughter with a wrapped present and card
to the door of her friend’s house, hopefully before noon.
We barely made it. We told Rachael we would pick her up
7:00 p.m. before the evening service at church.
The weather turned off bad that evening. It got cold and
dark, and started to rain. My wife pulled in the driveway and instructed me to
go in and get our daughter. I dashed through the rain and rang the doorbell.
The man of the house answered the door.
“Hello, can I help you?” he said.
I said, “I’m here to pick up Rachael.”
“Oh, okay” he said, and he looked a little disappointed. “She’s in the
kitchen,” he told me.
“Rachael,” he called, “There’s a man here to pick you up.” Then to me,
“She’ll be right out.”
So I stood there, exchanging pleasantries with the man; Where do you work?
Have you lived here long? How many children do you have? That kind of chatter.
Eventually, a nice-looking lady with long black hair came out of the kitchen
and asked me, “Who are you, again and where are you taking me?”
I clarified, “I’m here to pick up Rachael.”
“Yes, I’m Rachel,” she said. And the man added, “my wife, Rachel.”
“I’m here for my daughter, Rachael.” They both looked confused.
“She’s supposed to be at a party at Anna’s?” I added.
“Oh, Anna lives next door!” they said with a huge sigh of relief. We all
shared an embarrassing laugh. I apologized for the inconvenience I had done
them, and bid them good night.
However, I thought I heard him say as he shut the door behind me, “So, is there something we need to talk about?”