By Tony Lindsay
In the old days, I would have put a little brandy in her hot chocolate and not worried about her waking up, but not now. Her mother, a physician, would have a stroke if I gave her daughter a cap full of brandy; although, I put Dr. Jasmine to sleep many of Christmas eves with spiked hot chocolates, and she turned out just fine.
Because our grandbaby, Kura, is a lot like her doctor mommy, a very light sleeper, her grandma and I are standing in the doorway like two cat burglars in our own home.
Kura lost her first tooth this morning, and she knew nothing of the Tooth Fairy. But, before we could tell her the fable, we had to call her Buddhist parents because The Easter Bunny was catastrophe; we didn’t think the Easter Bunny was Christian, but they did. So for the Tooth Fairy, we called and got the ok, and now we are standing in the doorway of the baby’s room checking her breathing.
“Go on in Walter, she’s sleep,” Pearl says leaning against me almost pushing me into the room.
I’m not convinced that Kura is sound asleep, but I take a step into the room anyway. After Jasmine graduated, she married Timothy Tanaka, and they moved to New York to practice medicine, so we converted her bedroom into an office, but with the announcement of a grandbaby, it became bedroom again, and when we found out the baby was going to be a girl, we painted the room pink and added the princess bed with all the girly amenities.
The bed is only three steps away from the door; I hear Kura’s long even breaths. She is sleep. I reach into my pocket and pull out the ten dollar bill; her grandma wanted to give her a coin dollar. While reaching for the pillow, her eyes pop open.
“Hey, Grandpa Walter,” she yarns, “is it time for biscuits and gravy?”
She and I have been eating biscuits and gravy in the morning for breakfast unbeknownst to her low calorie breakfast eating grandma.
“Not yet baby, I thought I heard you having a bad dream.”
“Nooo,” and she falls right back to sleep just like Jasmine did as a child. I slid my hand under her pillow getting the tooth and leaving the bill. I quietly back out of the bedroom.
I don’t like her calling me Grandpa Walter; I wanted to be plain Grandpa, but since she has another grandpa, I have to settle for ‘Grandpa Walter.’ Seems to me she could call her other grandfather ‘Granddaddy’ or something.
Out in the hall, I show my wife the tooth and say, “Operation Tooth Fairy completed.” I walk up front room to my chair and television; we’ve only missed a couple of minutes of the news.
“She’s going to remember you were in there.” My wife says sitting on the sofa next to my easy chair. She tosses a throw over her lap and legs.
“No, she won’t. Remember how Jasmine would wake some nights and never remember; Kura is the same.” I sit in the chair and rear back causing it to recline and the leg braces to extend. I grab the television remote from the holder in the arm of the chair and push the power button.
“You think Kura is the same. She is Jasmine’s daughter, not Jasmine.” My wife says.
“She won’t remember. Our grandbaby will wake up and see her tooth gone and ten dollars, and she will be happy.”
“Ten dollars,” she shakes her head and frowns, “what happened to leaving the dollar coin?”
I don’t answer.
“You going to spoil her rotten. And don’t think I didn’t hear about the biscuits and gravy,” she swings her feet up on the sofa.
“She won’t remember me being in there.”
“Yes, she will.”
I push the leg brace of the chair down, “I got taste for hot chocolate and a shot of brandy. You want some?”
“Nope, and neither does your diabetes.”
“One cup and a shot won’t kill me.”
“Grandpa Walter! Grandpa Walter! She came! She came . . . just like you said she would. She came and look . . . I have ten dollars!”
I wake to her big toothy smile that has a hole in it. I reach over to wake my wife and see her spot is empty.
“Grandma Pearl said that you heard the Tooth Fairy when you came into my room last night. Did you see the Tooth Fairy, Grandpa Walter? Did you see her a little bit? Did she have fairy dust trailing behind her? Where her wings like birds, butterflies, or clear like a fly? Oh tell me you saw her a little bit, Grandpa Walter.”
I look at the clock on the nightstand, and it reads 8:45. I seldom sleep past 6:00, but I seldom drink two cups of hot chocolate with several shots of brandy.
I sit up blinking my vision clear, “Did I see her? Of course I did.”
“I knew it!” She jumps up like she has car springs in her heels.
“Settle down baby. I didn’t see her when she came in; I must have been asleep, I saw her after I left your room. I saw her leaving. She came in through our room because your room doesn’t have a window. When she left, she went straight through the glass without raising the window, magic.”
She gets up in the bed and sits next to me, “And her wings?”
“Oh, they were clear surrounded by glittery fairy dust. I tried to get some of the dust for you, but soon as I touched it, poof, it disappeared.”
“Kura!” my wife calls from the kitchen, “Did you tell your Grandpa Walter that the biscuits and gravy are ready?”
“Lets go eat, Grandpa Walter. We have biscuit, gravy, and ham!”
“Ok,” I say, looking at my granddaughter who looks so much like my daughter.