After lunch, Ro & Jo found Nana Terri and Gramps Blaze on the front porch, having cups of coffee, and they sat down on either side of them.
"Wassup?" Nana Terri asked her grandchildren, putting her arm around Ro, who sat next to her, while Jo had plopped himself down next to Gramps Blaze. She looked down at Ro, and realized the girl was stewing about something. And it must have been something serious because her thoughts were not coming through into Nana Terri's head. She was purposely keeping them to herself. But not for long, Nana Terri thought. "Really, Ro, what's on your mind that you're keeping so quiet about?"
Ro shrugged. "Sometimes I wonder about Nana Rose, and how come she doesn't visit us much, and why she always leaves early and stuff. Doesn't she like us anymore?"
Nana Terri was honestly shocked at Ro's worry. "Of course she likes you! She loves you to pieces, sweetie! Just like the whole rest of the family. But Nana Rose is getting really old, and some of the problems that come with being elderly, like arthritis, balance issues, medicine issues, and other things make it really difficult to spend a long time away from home. Nana Rose has her house fixed up with special equipment and padded furniture that make her more safe and comfortable, understand? She tells me all the time that she wishes she could do the things she used to do, and go the places she used to go when she was younger, like when your daddy was a little boy. But her body doesn't let her, you understand?"
"I guess," Ro said, nodding, while on the other side of Gramps Blaze, Jo nodded too.
"You know, maybe it would be nice for you to visit her, once in a while. When I talk to her on the phone she always says she wishes you would come over and brighten her day every now and then."
"Cause we're her sunshines?" Jo said, smiling, remembering the song that all grandparents seemed to know and sing to their grandchildren. At least the ones in his family.
Nana Terri chuckled, reaching across Gramps Blaze's lap to pat Jo's knee. "That's right, munchkin! Because you are her sunshines." Then Nana Terri looked back over at Ro. "That's not all, though. What else is pinging around in that head of yours?" she said to Ro.
"Well, Nana Rose left before the big family meeting yesterday, and she didn't come back with Mimi and Poppop this morning," Ro began.
"And so you never found out all about her power!" Nana Terri finished Ro's thought. "You are absolutely right!" she said, standing up all of a sudden, bumping Gramps Blaze's arm and almost making him spill his coffee.
"Hey!" he said, steadying his cup, though a drop or two sloshed over the rim and landed on his shirt.
Ro looked at his spotted shirt and shook her head, "Gramps Blaze, what are we going to do with you?"
"Hey! It wasn't my fault! Nana Terri splooshed me!" he said as he stood up, and followed everybody into the house.
"What's going on?" Dad said from the sofa where he was watching a cooking show.
Nana Terri said, "Ro and Jo were asking about Nana Rose's power, and I thought Gramps Blaze and I would run them over to her house to hear about it. Want to come with us?"
"Well, actually, Mom and I have some errands we were about to run…"
"We could take the kids to Nana Rose's," Gramps Blaze offered.
"Works for me," Dad said, and Ro and Jo hugged him goodbye.
"I should have my backpack," Jo said, hurrying off to his room.
"I should have the family journal," Ro said, hurrying off to her own room.
The kids, with Kato tagging along as usual, showed up in the driveway, and started toward Nana Terri and Gramps Blaze's car, but they were nowhere in sight. "What the…" Jo said, scratching his head.
"Is Gramps Blaze in the bathroom again?" Ro said, elbowing her brother, chuckling.
"It's 'cause he drinks coffee."
"Hey, where are you guys?” Nana Terri's voice asked inside Ro's head.
"Where are you guys?" Ro thought back.
"Back yard, chica!" Nana Rose replied, and the kids took off to find their straying grandparents.
"We thought we'd go dragon style!" Gramps Blaze said, seated beside Nana Terri on Sir WHIP's back. Ro and Jo laughed, and climbed aboard. Kato leapt up too, no longer afraid of flying on mighty Sir WHIP's back, especially since Ro and Jo always wrapped their arms around him and petted him, knowing flying wasn't really his thing. But he loved the air in his face when he rode on Sir WHIP's back! Better than sticking his head out the car window, even!
Once everybody was aboard and settled, the big sparkly orange dragon took to the sky.
They set down in the street in front of Nana Rose's house in almost no time, soaring through the sky over roads full of cars that seemed to take forever to get nowhere.
Dragons, on the other hand swooped and looped and boom! There you were!
Kato was, of course, the first one off the dragon, and up on Nana Rose's porch by the time Gramps Blaze offered Nana Terri a hand stepping down off of Sir WHIP's wing.
Nana Rose already had the door open by the time Sir WHIP had shrunken himself down to fit through it. Ro and Jo hugged Nana Rose, and then entered the small house.
"You missed the big meeting, Nana Rose! We have powers!" Ro blurted as Nana Rose hugged Nana Terri and Gramps Blaze.
"Yeah!" Jo took over. "Ro can hear other people's thoughts, and I can wiggle my fingers and make things move! Gramps Blaze taught me!"
"Wow!" Nana Rose said, following everyone into the living room where everybody found a seat, and Kato sprawled on the floor between Ro and Jo's feet.
"But Nana Rose," Ro said softly, "you left right after Jo's party, and missed the whole family meeting!"
"I'm sorry, sweetheart, but I was very tired and I'm not supposed to drive at night, so I always make sure I leave before the sun does," Nana Rose explained.
Ro and Jo nodded, and Jo said, "We understand. We thought you didn't like us anymore, but Nana Terri explained that you're just really old and can't do the stuff you used to do."
"I'm not old, you know. I'm ancient. Like the pyramids, or the wheel. Or dirt."
Nana Terri and Gramps Blaze shook their heads, chuckling, and Ro and Jo did too, after a moment. Even Kato's tail gave a little wag.
"When you missed the big family meeting, Nana Rose, you missed hearing all about everybody's powers, and we missed hearing about yours," Ro said, and Nana Rose smiled.
"I think you'll like mine. It's pretty cool. And a bit funny, too," Nana Rose said, with a little mystery in her voice as she glanced over at Nana Terri and winked. Nana Terri chuckled.
"Why don't we have some cookies and I'll tell you," Nana Rose said, standing and leading everyone into the kitchen where they all took seats around the table and Nana Rose poured out some coffee for the grownups and milk for the munchkins and dragon (Sir WHIP loved milk, and drank it with every meal and snack). She put a bowl of water down for Kato, and gave him some doggie treats and some really good scratches behind his ears; she loved Kato almost as much as her human grandchildren. Then she gave everyone a napkin, for she was a tidy kind of great-grandmother, and then put a platter of cookies in the middle of the table and let everyone help themselves. "Now that your bellies won't be distracting you, I'll tell you all about my power."
Every eye in the place was on Nana Rose's face as she began.
"My power is that I have control over the wind and air," Nana Rose said, very directly.
"That's it? You can make the wind blow?" Jo asked.
"That's rude, Jo!" Ro corrected her brother. "You'll hurt Nana Rose's feelings!"
"It's okay, I know it might not seem like a cool thing, but it's a pretty awesome power. Making the wind blow is only part of it. That's what happens when I breathe out, concentrating on swirling up a wind. But if I breathe in, I can also calm down the wind," Nana Rose explained, and then nibbled at a chocolate chip cookie.
"I thought you weren't supposed to eat chocolate," Nana Terri reminded, and Nana Rose cut her a sideways look.
"Well, it's a special occasion, and sometimes rules must be broken – especially when it comes to chocolate chip cookies!"
Nana Terri and Gramps Blaze just shook their heads. Nana Rose could surprise you at times, they knew.
Just like at that moment, she blew a little puff of air out, which moved Kato from one side of his water dish to the other, but so slowly and gently that he never even stopped drinking. He looked up, droplets of water dripping from his chin, and wagged his tail at Nana Rose. Then he yipped as if to say 'thanks for the ride, Nana Rose!'
Everyone smiled as Kato ran over to his elderly buddy and she tucked another doggie treat into his mouth. Then she turned her attention back to those sitting around the table.
"And then there's the other part of my power," Nana Rose said, rolling her eyes, kindof teasing the children by holding back for a few moments.
"C'mon, Nana Rose!" Ro giggled, begging for the story.
"Give!" Jo said, nudging her with his shoulder, but not too hard, because she was old, after all.
"Well, if there are meanies around who mean me harm, or mean harm to anyone I love, there's a certain kind of wind I can use to make them instantly fall asleep."
"You mean, knock them out? Like doctors do when they're going to operate on you?" Jo asked.
"Exactly! They put a mask over your face that lets you breathe a certain kind of air that makes you go to sleep."
"You have a mask to make people sleep?" Ro asked.
"Not exactly," Nana Rose said, not being mysterious on purpose anymore, she just wasn't sure how to explain her power to her great-grandchildren.
Meanwhile, Gramps Blaze and Nana Terri were struggling not to laugh.
"Since you two aren't being very helpful, and you find this conversation so laughable, I will use you to demonstrate," Nana Rose said, kindof bluntly, and all of a sudden she let a fart.
Not just your average little squeaky fart, like polite little old ladies let out in the bathroom or outside, but a rattling, long fart that rose up in a brown cloud.
Nana Rose turned around and blew a puff of air out of her mouth that moved the little brown cloud until it settled down over Nana Terri and Gramps Blaze.
The whole thing took maybe five seconds, and suddenly Gramps Blaze and Nana Terri slumped forward, their heads dropping down onto the table before them, their faces landing in the crumb-covered napkins.
"Your farts kill people!" Jo said, alarmed.
"No! No! They aren't dead, just asleep!" Nana Rose said, quickly, calming Jo down, as Ro started to squeal with laughter.
"Nana Rose's farts are really silent but deadly!" she giggled out the sentence.
"That wasn't very silent!" Jo said, starting to giggle himself as Nana Terri and Gramps Blaze slept through the whole thing.
"Nor was it deadly, I assure you," Sir WHIP, said, also chuckling (not as loud as the kids though; there was, after all, such a thing as dignity). "They are breathing, of course, as you can see," he said to the children. Turning his eyes toward Nana Rose, he asked, "How long will they sleep?"
Nana Rose didn't have to answer, because just as Sir WHIP finished the sentence, Nana Terri's and Gramps Blaze's eyes popped open, and they sat up.
"Very funny," Nana Terri said, brushing cookie crumbs off her face, and then reached over to brush them out of Gramps Blaze's beard.
"I thought so," Nana Rose said, chuckling.
"Have you ever knocked out a meanie?" Jo asked.
"Every now and then," Nana Rose said, finishing off her third cookie. "There was a bully in school who never did figure out how he was shoving me into the lockers one moment, and the next he woke up inside of mine. And what had happened to the whole afternoon. He got detention for missing all his afternoon classes."
"Nana Rose! That's bad!" Ro said, shocked, but there was still a little smile on her face.
"Well, he hurt me! I had a bruise on my arm and on my hip where he shoved me and I bumped into my locker. I decided to teach him a lesson. I didn't hurt him, just farted and shoved him into my locker when he went to sleep."
"Serves him right!" Jo said, knowing a few meanie kids he wouldn't mind making go to sleep every now and then in school.
"Well, that's not the most important part of my power anyway, really. It comes in handy, but the coolest part of my power is being able to calm storms down so they aren't dangerous. Remember that hurricane that was supposed to happen a couple weeks ago?"
Everyone at the table nodded.
"Did you wonder why it never happened?"
Ro and Jo's eyes got big, and they both said at the very same time, "That was you?"
Nana Rose just smiled a mysterious little smile, and waggled her eyebrows. "Yep."
Nana Rose stood up and beckoned everyone to follow her outside into her back yard where her neighbor had mowed her lawn.
On her back path, where there was freshly cut grass on the sidewalk, she puckered up her lips and blew out, long and steady, and every blade of grass trembled, and then flipped up off the cement and into the grass just as if a leaf blower was being used to clean the sidewalk of debris.
"My chores take a lot less time. I can blow the dust off my furniture inside, too! And I can hang my clothes out here on the porch after I wash them, sit down in a chair and read a book, and dry them while I'm reading."
"Wow! That's pretty cool!" Jo said.
"My paper airplanes fly farther than anyone's! I can keep them up in the air for hours if I want!" Nana Rose said as she led everybody around the house to the front yard. "And I can make a baseball fly over the fence every time, if I want to. But I don't make that happen during real games, of course, because that would be cheating."
"Wow!" Ro and Jo said, both at the same time.
"And then there's this," Nana Rose said, stepping into the road, which was deserted. She cupped her hands around her mouth and blew out, through her hands, and the leaves on the trees began to wriggle in the wind. She blew harder and harder until she was red in the face, and Gramps Blaze wondered if she would faint before her demonstration was finished. But she stood firm and the wind picked up more and more speed.
Though it was a small one, just dancing there in the street, Nana Rose created a tornado that whirled around in a fury, smacking everything out of its way. Nana Rose kept her hands cupped in mid-air, as if she were using a potter's wheel to create the tornado, her breath the clay to mold into a shape.
She kept the little tornado spinning in front of her like a top made of wind, and then she took a deep breath in as she opened her mouth wide. Almost instantly the tornado shrunk way down until it spun on the palm of Nana Rose's hand, and then she popped it in her mouth like the last bite of a sandwich and swallowed it!
Everyone gasped, even Gramps Blaze and Nana Terri who had seen Nana Rose use her powers before, but never swallow a tornado!
"Wow!" Ro and Jo said, staring at Nana Rose in awe, and Kato barked, chased his tail around in a circle, then sat down, his head tilted, staring at Nana Rose, wondering where the windy-spinny thing had gone.
Ro was the first to move when she ran to the car to fetch her journal, Kato at her heels. When she got back to the porch everyone was sitting around talking quietly, like they were a normal family, on a normal afternoon, having a normal conversation – about magic, of course.
Ro plopped down on the porch and began to furiously scribble down everything that had happened in the last two hours at Nana Rose's house.
Kato lay down beside her, propped his chin on her knee as she wrote, and promptly fell asleep. For the moment it looked as if the excitement was over.
And Nana Rose enjoyed the company of her great-grandchildren, daughter, son-in-law, Kato, and Sir WHIP for a little while longer, until Gramps Blaze turned to Nana Terri and said, "Well, sweetie, we should get going. We have that other thing to do this afternoon."
"Aww! Do we have to go?" Jo said, his eyes turning from happy to sad in a split second.
"Well, I did promise Poppy we'd work on your surprise today…" Gramps Blaze said, letting his voice fade, knowing the kids would not let him finish.
"Oh yeah! The surprise!!" Ro and Jo chattered together.
For just a second there was sadness in Nana Rose's eyes, knowing that the wonderful visit with her family was about to end, but she couldn't help but smile at the children's excitement over the promised surprise.
"Call me and tell me all about it," she said to Ro and Jo, who swore they would be calling later on, probably after dinner.
"Are you going to be able to finish the surprise by dinnertime?" Nana Terri asked Gramps Blaze. He gave her a sideways look like she was the silliest lady in the world asking such a question.
"Oh please, sweetie, this is me. No problem."
After many hugs, (everybody got two at least; that was Nana Rose's firm policy), Sir WHIP strolled out into the middle of the road and stretched himself big enough to carry four humans and Kato. Everyone climbed aboard and Nana Rose waved until they became a teeny-weeny little orange dot in the sky and finally disappeared.
She couldn't wait to hear all about Poppy's and Gramps Blaze's surprise for the children later. She figured washing up the dishes and tidying up the kitchen would keep her busy until the children's call.
Sometimes she wished she could trade her wind power for Mimi and Poppop's water power – especially when it was time to do the dishes.
TD – 5/14/2016
Be sure and come back next week and find out what the big surprise is!