Five, six, pick up sticks
Friday, July 12, 2019 at 12:44PM

Dagny spent the night with TG and me on Wednesday.

She hopped into our car after prayer meeting, toting her hardshell rolling suitcase that lights up when you touch something or other on the front.

We stopped by Puglix Publix for supplies on the way home. TG and I like to visit Publix on Wednesdays because we get a five percent senior discount.

While Dagny was getting out of her car seat (it'll soon be replaced by a pared-down booster seat), she mentioned that she was five.

I said I was aware of that fact.

Pretty soon I'll be six, she said.

I cautioned her to slow down and enjoy being five for as long as she could.

Once inside the store, she requested that we stock up on graham crackers and chocolate milk. Both wishes were granted.

Once at home, she ate a meal of chicken and mashed potatoes (yes; she'd already had dinner earlier but so what), washed down with lemonade and chased with graham crackers, on top of which we applied a layer of whipped cream from a can.

That last part was a BIG hit.

Later, after brushing our teeth, she and I snuggled in my bed and watched a fascinating slime video, topped off by a video of two ladies eating various sweets, all colored blue. Blue ice cream. Blue cereal treats. Blue honey buns. Blue gummy suckers.


At about midnight, Dag went to her pallet on the floor and was dreaming in less than thirty seconds.

We slept in on Thursday. After the breakfast and coffee hour, and once we'd gotten dressed, Dagny assisted me with various chores.

She is eager to help with just about anything you're doing. We made beds and folded clothes. She's exceptional at folding towels.

While packing her belongings back into her suitcase, Dagny spotted a tiny bug on the white shirt which, the night before, she'd tossed onto the floor of my room.

The way she reacted, you would have thought it was a five-pound snake.

It almost stopped my life, she said.

Hyperbole 'R' us.

I checked her pulse (normal) and told her to relax.

Then, she pushed the "buttons" on my new washer and dryer, to move laundry along.

(My washing machine died on July first. My dryer was already old and not particularly efficient. The new set was delivered on Wednesday and they're the kind with light-up panels and a window-lid on the agitator-less top-loading washer. When your clothes are done washing and, later, dried to a cozy crisp, a little song plays. She loved watching through the window and listening for the song, and lit up herself, when she heard it.)

Then it was time to empty the dishwasher, an activity that Dagny adores. She knows where everything goes, but naturally she can put away only things that go in spaces she's able to reach. Because five.

But that's quite a lot, and together we made short work of the task.

Then it was time to make hummingbird nectar.

Dagny fetched her white plastic stool from upstairs so that she could help me measure the water and sugar into the pan. She squeezed in the gel food coloring.

(Yes; I know that the addition of food coloring to homemade hummingbird nectar is controversial. We did it anyway. The hummingbirds love my nectar. They fight over it. I've never seen one drop dead from a drop or two of red coloring. Just the opposite; they thrive on it and drain the feeders almost daily.)

Once the pan of nectar was on the stove, Dagny carefully stirred with a small silicone spatula, until it was almost to a boil.

We set the pan aside to cool, and readied ourselves for an outdoor job.

You may remember that in 2016, Andrew removed the ugly holly bushes from the front of our house, and shoveled a ton of rocks into the space which surrounds the white oak.

We have a green bench there and it's so pretty now, and a great place to take pictures.

Only, as you might imagine, thousands of sticks drop from the tree and accumulate on the rocks.

They were sorely in need of a clean-up. Dagny had gone to the store with Papaw last week and helped him pick out a roomy bin to put the sticks in.

Unbeknownst to either me or Audrey, during that shopping trip TG struck a bargain with his ride or die. It involved her earning a few shekels in exchange for services rendered.

So when Dagny, I, and Rizzo went outside for stick cleanup, she marched over to the side of the garage where she'd seen Papaw put the bin. She grabbed it and told me this was what we'd fill with sticks.

Oh ... okay, I said. I'd never seen the bin before but she was confident. And confidence is key.

As we placed the bin on the bench and began collecting sticks, Dagny informed me that Papaw had promised to pay her for performing this chore.

He said I'd get ten bucks, she announced.

? ? ? ? ?

I was skeptical and I said as much. Dag, really? Ten whole dollars? 

She assured me that a sawbuck had been the agreed-upon price for her stick removal services.

Dagny is not known to tell untruths so maybe I shouldn't have, but I said I found it difficult to believe that Papaw had promised her that much money for picking up a few sticks.

(If it was true, I wondered if she'd negotiated a golden parachute while she was at it.)

She hesitated, then said: Well, maybe nine dollars?

I laughed. Maybe, I said. We'll see. 

Later, when Audrey arrived, she agreed that Dagny was perhaps guilty of, if not making something up, then certainly engaging in wishful thinking.

I think three or four dollars would be plenty, she said.

But we decided we'd wait and ask Papaw. Get it from the horse's mouth, as it were.

Later still, when TG arrived home, Dagny and her mother had already left. He'd seen the overflowing stick-bin still sitting on the green bench, and mentioned what a good job Dagny had done cleaning up the rocks.

Did you tell her you'd give her ten dollars for doing that? I asked.

Yes I did, he said.

Well, shut my mouth. I'll have to apologize to my angel for doubting her word. Make it up to her with a few extra graham crackers and whipped cream.

Meanwhile, when we had finished our stick pickup project, Dagny and Rizzo played on the grass.

She tends to overwhelm my spoiled dog with her affections, and he gave some serious side-eye before semi-relaxing into her zealous embrace.

But as he loves to be in the front yard sans leash (and no walkies threatened), it was all good.

We should have seen if his lazy carcass would deign to fetch a stick, but it never occurred to me.

And that is all for now.


Happy Friday :: Happy Weekend

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