Monthly Archives: April 2020

A Normal Day in the Life – Conclusion


Our son was definitely not happy with his mother, but when ‘said son’ deposited me back at our daughter’s home to be greeted by the family, husband Hank’s reactions ran the gamut from overjoyed, thankful, relieved, upset, to fairly angry—in that order. Hank hugged me, checked me all over for injuries, helped me remove my soggy jacket and shoes, and then began a more serious scrutiny.
Hank put a hand under my chin, pulling my head up so that I was forced to look up into his eyes. The ‘Hank stare’ meant serious business. I knew after fifty plus years of marriage that it meant I had better listen.
“Josie, you scared the life out of all of us. The Grands were crying up a storm; I was shaking with absolute fright. You could have been killed! We didn’t know where you went. We didn’t know how you thought you were going to catch that robber. It was a very dangerous thing you did, Josie! Thank God our son is with the Police Department and could follow you! So, we are going to have a long talk. Right now. Whether you want to, or not. I need to know exactly what was going on with you, and all that money, and that thief!”
He ushered me into the living room, sat me down in the big recliner, handed me a cup of coffee (which I discovered after one sip, had been laced with a bit of brandy). Hank sat on the sofa opposite me, two Grands climbed into his lap, while our son settled in next to them holding the baby. The small group waited in silence and stared at me.
I took a long slow sip of the spiked coffee, heaved a huge sigh, settled back in the chair, and began.
“It all began a few months ago when I began to think about our upcoming fifty-second anniversary, Hank. I wanted to do something special. We never really celebrated our fiftieth. I thought it was now or never. We’re not getting any younger, you know.”
Our son looked at Hank, and broke into a coughing spell. (I think he maybe choked a bit.) I knew what he was thinking. He was dealing with a bat-crazy old woman who just happened to be his mother, and a father who couldn’t handle her either. I just stared at my son with my not amused Queen Mother look and continued before the moment was entirely lost.
“I looked into several possibilities, Hank, and decided Hawaii would be nice. You know I always thought “Can’t Help Falling in Love” was our song. Do you remember? And Elvis sang that in the movie “Blue Hawaii.” So, I checked into what it would cost to take a cruise to Hawaii, and then I looked at what we had in savings. We could do it, Hank! We’ve never been to Hawaii. We could go on a cruise ship, enjoy ourselves, see the sights, and then I pictured you singing that song to me on some beach there over moonlit waters. Don’t you think that would be romantic, Hank?”
I glanced at my son and could read his mind. He was running through Kenny Chesney’s beach songs and Blake Shelton’s “Some Beach”! It’s better to just ignore kids when they get like that.
There was a long moment of silence with Hank simply staring at me, interrupted only by our son’s clearing his throat and humming a bit of one of those beach tunes he’d been thinking of.
Hank’s first words, preceded by his own throat-clearing noises were, “It would really cost that much?”
I smiled. I knew I was off the hook. I’d turned the corner so-to-speak. Hank was talking about how much it would cost, and not saying, “Definitely not.” We talked some more, and I explained how I’d explored all the choices and had come up with what seemed to be the best option. I’d made a down payment. But I’d drawn a cashier’s check to pay the travel agent in full. I hadn’t wanted to put it on a charge card, because I’d wanted to keep it all a secret from Hank and make it a big surprise. So much for that idea!
Hank was beginning to soften. I could see it. Then he said, “But what about that guy? The thief in the Packer getup? What’d he do with the money?”
I looked to our son for an explanation of that one.
“He didn’t get a chance to spend any of it, Dad. Mom got to him before he could even take it out of her purse. It’s all there, Dad. And the young fool has been arrested, but I think he’s going to get off. He’s not even twenty-one, and he’s got a sob story that will help him with a judge. Besides, Mom has offered to give him a few hundred to help him out. He was in pretty dire straights, it seems.”
Hank looked at me and raised his eyebrows again. “You gave him more of our money? After he stole your purse? Josie!”
“I felt sorry for the kid. What can I say? You’d want to help him, too, if you heard his whole story, Hank. He was in the bank when I made the withdrawal and overheard one of the tellers talking about the big cashier’s check. That’s why he went after me. He was desperate. He’s a college student, out of food, unemployed, and down to his last gallon of gas. What I gave him will only make a small dent in our savings. I thought if we could help him out a bit, it might change his life.”
Hank sighed and nodded. “I suppose, it’s okay, if you both think it will do some good.”
Our son nodded and stood to hand the baby to me.
“I’ve got to run, Mom. Are you okay, now?”
“Yes, yes, I’m fine. We’ll be fine. Don’t worry. I’ll be a little stiff tomorrow, but I think just planning that trip will take all the aches and pains away.”
He gave me a hug, kissed me on top of the head, and headed out the door. I think he was humming Jimmy Buffet’s “Five O’ Clock Somewhere.”
Hank looked at me and said, “Josie, if this was a normal day, I don’t think I can take many more!” We both laughed at that one. It was a good day, after all.

©Gail Lee Cowdin 2020


Hope you Enjoy!
(Scroll down though my posts if you missed the other episodes.)
(I hope you realize this is just for fun! I never claimed to be a literary genius!😁)
Episode 7

I really was not afraid at that moment. What I was was darn freezing cold! I hadn’t taken time to put on my boots. I was standing in what felt like ten inches of that white, frozen, melted, and refrozen stuff called Sneet! That’s like sleet and snow put together. It’s not a pleasant thing to dip your dainty toes into.
The rest of my attire didn’t speak to my normal talent of dressing in the current fashion trend. I looked down at myself and did a full inventory of my get-up. I was wearing my Dr. Seuss knee-highs (The grandkids love ‘em) and my high-top bumper tennis shoes with daisies embroidered along the sides and top. (Again, the kids thought Grandma was kind of funky). Not only did my footwear leave room for a moment of skepticism about lapses in my mental health, but also the rest of my attire wasn’t much better. I had rolled up my blue jeans to mid calf to show the kids my socks and never unrolled them. My purple sweatshirt and the royal purple jacket that I’d pulled on as I’d rushed out the door were my personal tribute to the Minnesota Vikings. A stern Viking visage in a gold football helmet with horns adorned the front of the jacket.
That’s what the Packer thief saw when he popped his head out at me around the corner of the garage door. I knew he saw me, because he flinched and quickly ducked back out of sight. He may have noticed my gray hair, and crazy attire, but I hoped that wasn’t the only thing that stuck with him. I wanted him to know that I wasn’t going to give up. He probably thought he was dealing with a crazy woman.
And maybe he was! I didn’t like to think that people thought of me as that grandma who was unstrung, but putting it in perspective, people had to realize that having a $10,000 cashier’s check plus another $2000 in cash stolen would likely be enough to drive anyone over the edge! I summoned my courage and yelled at the guy again.
“Get out here this minute! I have a gun, and the cops are on the way!” Now neither of those things was true. At least, I didn’t think the cops were on the way, but he didn’t know that. I pushed that hammer handle forward in my pocket and raised it up a bit, waving it at the garage door.
I took three steps forward and stopped. I’d stepped onto the thin ice surface of a frozen puddle, and it had broken. Cold ice water seeped into my sneaker. I suddenly had momentary visions of frostbite, my feet turning blue, and losing several of my toes. Lifting my sopping foot, I gingerly wiggled my sopping toes, tested the next spot in the snowdrift, sunk through the fluffy stuff, and came down on solid ground. From that point, I hopped foot-to-foot, snowdrift-to-snowdrift until I was standing about fifteen feet in front of my car. My Escape was still running behind me. I really wish I hadn’t slammed the car door. I needed my own escape plan, just in case.
I called out again, waving my ‘gun’ at the garage, making my demands. Then I saw a quick flash of movement. My purse came flying out the open door directly toward me. It landed several feet in front of me in one of the deeper snowdrifts, of course. My first instinct was to run up and grab it, but a small voice told me to wait and be patient. What if he was just trying to lure me closer so he could shoot me? I waited.
“There it is! What else do you want lady?” He demanded. “Go get it!” His voice was sort of whiny, and I knew I had him! Pretty scrawny and just a kid, I thought. I could use my angry mother tone on him.
“I want you to come out here this instant. You need to apologize for what you did! You took advantage of a senior citizen. What kind of person did your mother raise you to be? Didn’t she teach you to show some respect?”
“My mother’s not around. She’s been gone a long time. I just needed some food! Besides, you’re obviously just a loser yourself. I saw your jacket. You Minnesota Vikings never could win anything!”
That did it! The purple rage was dripping down my eyes when I began my charge toward the garage. I’m pretty spry for my age. I do my yoga regularly. He actually looked shocked that I could run. He was standing like a frigid statue when I tackled him, just like a real Viking player. I head butted him, too, and that really hurt. It knocked him off-balance, and we fell into a heap in another frozen puddle at the edge of the door.
We were both lying there dazed, when two police cruisers pulled up behind my car. I lifted my head to see my son climb out of his patrol car, shake his head, and heard him call, “Mom!” He sounded worried.
He and another officer soon pulled up both the little twerp and me. My son took me aside, and I looked over my shoulder to see the other officer ushering the thief to his patrol car. My son was busily brushing the snow and slush off my jacket while berating me for not listening to anything I was told to do or not to do. I seemed to remember that same speech from mother-to-son years ago.Gail

©Gail Lee Cowdin 2020

A Normal Day in the Life – Episode 6

Episode 6

I looked up at my six-foot, four son standing outside my car door, staring down at me with a look mixed with concern, confusion, disbelief, but mostly love. At least, I thought it was love.
Standing there in his uniform, arms hanging limply at his side holding his ticket book, he was, after all, not a police officer stopping a lawbreaker, but suddenly stopping his mother. It was clear he was puzzled by my behavior. And perhaps a little upset. As his mother, I had repeatedly warned him over the years, of the dangers related to speeding while driving. Especially on icy, winter roads. I had not heeded my own advice.
I looked at him and found I had no words. What could I say that he would understand? What could I say that would explain all of this in less than five seconds? I needed to take off to catch that thief and get my purse back!
I took a deep breath, and said what most mothers say when the going gets tough. “You’d better go ask your dad!”
With that, I slammed the gear into drive and floored the accelerator. I glanced in the rear view mirror and saw my son standing there, still puzzled, probably in shock, but definitely looking indecisive. Thank heavens!
I sped three blocks before turning down a side street. I believed it was that street where I’d last seen the pick up turning off the main street. With no sirens following me, I sped on, slowing only at intersections to scope out the side streets for that darned pickup truck.
Soon, it was evident that I was leaving the city limits. The distances between homes were now filled with fenced land corralling horses and in some cases cattle. The street had turned into a narrow county highway that was straight and slightly hilly. As I neared the top of one hill, I saw a flash of that white pickup several hilltops ahead of me. Of course, I accelerated! I needed to catch that guy.
My mind was racing almost as fast as my little Ford Escape. What would I do when I caught that yellow beanie-wearing culprit? He wasn’t a big guy. I remembered that. But he was definitely wiry. Could I grab him and hold him? The little weasel. I got mad just thinking about him. He just needed someone to straighten him out. All of that was passing through my mind, when I found myself suddenly catching up to him. Either he had slowed down, or my speeding had surpassed my expectations. I really had to make a decision. I had no idea if he had a weapon. I certainly didn’t carry a gun. But then again, he didn’t know that.
Maybe I could bluff him. I think most women my age have experience with bluffing. We can run a bluff on a lot of things, number one being with our grand kids. “You stop that right now, or Grandma Josie will make you eat spinach for dinner!” I really wouldn’t do that, but I can make it sound like I mean it.
Or, we run bluffs with our husbands all the time. “Don’t worry honey, I can paint those walls in the bedroom today.” At which point he will show up in five or ten minutes with paint, brush, and roller in hand, roll his eyes, sigh, and say, “Never mind. I’ll do it.” I’m pretty good at getting things done like that. I’ve even bluffed with our daughters. “I’m fine,” I’ll say. “I can fix that tire on the mower. Grandpa Hank isn’t up to it. Don’t worry about it. I can take care of it myself.” I really could do it, but within a few minutes, I’d have a son-in-law on the doorstep. It’s worked almost every time.
Almost…Now the question was could I bluff this guy? I scanned the floor of the car and tried to see if anything was sticking out from under the seat. Nothing. But then, I remembered that little hammer in the glove compartment. It’s supposed to be for an emergency, in case we need to break glass to escape our Escape. We’d always joked about that. Well, this was an emergency! I could use that hammer. Somehow. Maybe.
By the time my brain had processed all of this, I was pulling into a farmyard and stopping right behind that white pick up truck. There was no one in the truck, though. I looked around, scanning the yard. The place was quiet. It almost seemed deserted. There was a small clapboard farmhouse with an unattached double garage. The garage door was open. Then, I saw that familiar Green Bay Packer knit hat bobbing around inside. He was in there!
What I did next was probably the bravest and stupidest thing I’ve ever done! I got out of my car, slammed the door, and yelled, “Hey you chicken-livered, purse-stealing Packer backer! You’d better get out here before I decide to shoot first and then call the cops! And bring my purse with you!”

©Gail Lee Cowdin 2020Gail