Wednesday, December 1, 2010

and a lovely thing she is, too.

On the first day of December, a fourth grader said to me . . .

"I can't find my scorpion."


But let's rewind. The story begins with an abandoned tub of butter. (It always does, you know.)

Late one afternoon, a worn out bus driver weaved through the last neighborhoods of her daily route and yanked the brakes in front of a house with white pillars and bright Christmas-colored ornaments hanging above the door. To the right of the driver’s window, one smushed nose stared out at the sweet elderly man scooting down the street. As the nose backed away from the window and the sun shined through the glass to display the resulting print, the nine year old (C2) I babysit, passed in front of the bus and hopped onto the sidewalk. As he bypassed the nest of leaves stacked on the stone walkway, it became obvious he was up to something.

“Did he bring it?” Hey, C2.

“Hey. Did he bring it?” Did who bring what?

An answer worked its way to the front of his mouth but appeared to get stuck at the end of his tongue, as C2 picked up a tub of Country Crock butter and peeked inside. “Guess what kind of pet’s in here?” Oh no.

He walked into the house keeping the container steady and placed it on the coffee table. With the alarming tap of plastic-containing-critter against wood, the race to build a habitat was on. “Katie. Go to the computer and find out what kind of food it eats.”

As I walked from one side of the house to the other, C2 took off running. He sprinted up the stairs and slammed a few cabinet doors then latched onto the banister and slid down and spun in circles around one very dizzy kitten and flung open the back door and jogged back and forth, back and forth looking for sand – “NO SAND?!” – and waved as he ran back inside and back upstairs and then finally sat down and looked at me. “So, what does it eat?” I read to him from the website, and he nodded. “That’s not a problem.”

He went back to his pet – What’s its name? “Corpus.” – and I dug through drawers for the cotton ball that C2 planned to use to hydrate Corpus.

I soaked both ends of a Q-tip with filtered water and listened for the shuffling of my mini-arachnologist. “I would watch where you step. I can’t find Corpus.” Ohhhh no.

I looked down at the carpet and saw it: the sand-colored scorpion crawling into the kitchen.

C2’s gaze started at my elbow and slid down my forearm to my finger to the floor.

“Oh, fudge.”

He crouched down, but that critter had tasted freedom, and heck, he was going to get it. As the two of them square-danced on top of the tile, I snapped pictures. The flash of the camera startled them both: “You’re not going to show my mom, right?” Seconds later, Corpus landed in his container.

As we sat on the couch and stared somewhat incredulous at how well the scorpion blended in with his surroundings, C2 explained that he found the escapee while he was hunting during Thanksgiving.

Oh, Thanksgiving, you have left so many reasons for gratitude: the discovery of “the coolest thing ever,” the joy which comes when a potentially poisonous arachnid is no longer loose in the house, the duct tape that keeps a lid down, and the awe of a nine year old boy completely amazed by the handiwork of our Creator-God, whose birth we’re celebrating this month.


Okay. So it's not as pleasant as a partridge in a pear tree. But it's a scorpion from under a log. That has to count for something.


Post a Comment