Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Friday, May 15, 2020

A Little Mousy


It’s quiet.
That, in itself, should be cause for alarm.
Sally is, after all, home.
And where Sally is, there goes Mort also.
Twice the trouble for half the price.
So to speak.
Sally and Mort are playing with her new VR game.
The one Mom could never afford but which proved to be easily attained when one is . . . erm . . . attaining.
As is Sally.
It’s kinda weird, sitting here watching Mort and Sally through the banister between the kitchen/dining/ohmywordwehavealotofspace room and the family room half a floor down.
They are happily engaged in the imaginary world only they can see.
Okay, yes, something that is entirely normal for Sally.
Moving on . . .
I don’t know why, but I’m suddenly reminded of the first time Mom and I knew Sally may be trouble.
“No, Sweetie, you can’t have a pet. Not right now. Mama just has too much to look after with Daddy away.”
Sally had just turned five and for a month, the two of us were the same age. And Sally wanted a mouse.
“But Mama! He’s jus’ a little mouse. Little tiny.”
“But he will still have to be cared for and kept warm and safe. And he and his cage cleaned. We don’t want him to bring us fleas!”
“I can do it!” Sally said stoutly.
Mom looked at her speculatively. Then she smiled. “If any five-year-old could do it, you could, Sweetie.” She frowned slightly. “All right. Let’s try.”
Sally squealed with delight and was soon seated in the back of the car with a little cage on her knees. Nestled snugly in some cedar shavings was one red-eyed white mouse.
“You’ll have to think of a name for him,” Mom said, eyeing the happy pair in her rear-view mirror.
“Hmmm . . .” Sally scrunched her face into its most creative configuration. “Morris.”
“Morris?”
Sally nodded happily.
“Morris, it is.”
Mom pulled up to the house and we all piled out, Sally clutching her precious new pet. And cage. As we approached the front door, Mom spotted a large parcel leaning against the newel post at the top of the steps. “Oooh! It’s come!” She grabbed the parcel and unlocked the door.
Sally headed upstairs and, I was pretty sure, proceeded to push everything off the dresser we shared so Morris could reside in a place of honour.
I followed Mom into the kitchen.
She dumped her purchases on the counter, then tore into the ‘front steps’ parcel.
It proved to be a large, pumpkin-coloured duvet.
“Oooh! It’s perfect!” Mom said. She held it up. “Isn’t it, Gwen?”
I nodded and petted it with one hand. “I like the colour.”
“So do I!” Mom smiled. “I had a coupon and thought . . . why not?” She laughed. “This will keep me so nice and warm I won’t even count the days till your Dad gets home!”
Sally appeared behind her. “Oooh! Pretty!”
“And warm!” Mom brushed Sally’s cheek with the soft fabric. “I’m going to have the warmest bed in the whole house!”
Sally smiled, then set the cage she was carrying on the kitchen table. “Morris doesn’t want to be upstairs alone. He wants to be here. With us.”
I looked into the cage at the soundly sleeping little rodent.
Mom leaned over to look. “He looks pretty contented to me.”
“Well, he’s not!” Sally picked up a pencil and tried to force it between the bars. It wouldn’t fit.
Mom shrugged and started gathering up her new duvet. “Don’t tease him, Honey. Gwen, do you want to help me put this on the bed?”
I nodded and hurried after her.
Later, Mom looked up from the TV program she was watching and stopped Sally on her way to her room with a full cup of water. “What are you doing with the water, Sweetheart?”
“You said we have to clean Morris and his cage.”
“Oh. Yes, I did. But that should probably be done here in the kitchen. And I want to supervise your first attempt.”
“K.”
Now you have to know that this was early days for Sally hi-jinks. Mom was fairly new to it, being as she had only ever dealt with me.
Ahem . . .
Mom turned back to her program, forgetting all about Morris.
Still later, we were all getting ready for bed. Sally, all bathed and clean jumped into her bed and pulled the covers to her chin. “Night, Mom! Thanks for Morris!”
Mom nodded and smiled and leaned over to give her a kiss and a hug. “You’re welcome, Baby.” She glanced at Morris’ cage. “I hope he’ll be all right tonight.”
Sally smiled. “He’s fine. He had a nice bath and he’s all warm and toasty now!”
“Honey, I told you to wait for me!”
“It was just a teensy bath.”
“Well, next time I want to help.”
“K.”
Mom went out, shutting off the light before she closed the door.
Within moments, I could hear Sally’s breathing change as she headed toward sleep.
Suddenly, there was a scream from Mom’s room.
Sally’s eyes popped open and she turned to look at me. “She did say hers was the warmest bed, right?”

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.
My words were: mouse ~ pencil ~ cup ~ pumpkin ~ fleas ~ coupon
They were submitted by my good friend, Dawn at https://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com
Below you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them. 
Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:


9 comments:

  1. So this wasn't a coming of age behavior, looks like Sally was Sally right from the start. Poor mom!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sally was born to keep her family busy! I can't imagine snuggling in bed and finding a mouse sharing the new blankets!

    ReplyDelete
  3. LOL of course Morris HAD to have the warmest bed. Oh Sally...my youngest son could have been a Sally in boy form. Oh man. Love the Sally shenanigans.
    Spatulas On Parade

    ReplyDelete
  4. Sally is just meant to keep people on their toes!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh dear! Well at least he would be easily seen against the pumpkin duvet.
    I remember the time my oldest daughter wanted a white mouse in a cage. We found her one at the toy store. Toy mouse in a plastic toy cage about six inches square. She was happy. Then the next daughter wanted a carpet python, a real one...No No No.

    ReplyDelete
  6. What a cute flashback! And this is how it all began... Morris, the mouse :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. That's one good thing about all of the mice and gerbils and hamsters we had as pets -- none of them ever got loose, or were set loose.

    Sally is fun to read about, but i am glad i do not live with her.

    ReplyDelete

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