Who would have thought a sneeze could have started such an adventure!
Ro and Jo saw it almost in time. They were about twenty feet away from Gramps Blaze, who had just finished reading his newspaper as his magical grandchildren took a couple of practice shots with the Bocce Ball set he'd brought along to the park with them.
Before they could get to him with tissues, Gramps Blaze took three little mini breaths, each one tilting him a little further back, until suddenly, ACHOO! Gramps Blaze's feet came up off the ground with the force of his gigantic sneeze!
Now even the biggest of sneezes in a non-magical person don't do much more damage than to spread a few germs, maybe spray a little snot (ew!), but mostly they are harmless.
But wizard sneezes? Well they are an entirely different story. First of all, wizard snot is some gooey stuff. I know a guy whose sneaker sole was coming off and flapping, and he used Wizard Snot to glue it – not only did it fix the shoe, but it stuck his fingers together and he had to go to the emergency room to get them separated again! You don't want to mess with wizard snot. Ever!
The other concern with wizard sneezes is the wind they kick up. I've heard that the tornado in the Wizard of Oz was actually started when the wizard sneezed. That's right! Dorothy and Toto's whole adventure started because the poor old wizard who was allergic to flying monkey fur! Can you believe it?!
But Gramps Blaze's sneeze didn't send anyone off to the Emerald City. Nothing quite so dramatic as all that. Of course that depends on your point of view, I guess, because poor Kato might have been quite a lot happier on the Yellow Brick Road than he was up a tree.
No that isn't just a cliché. Kato whimpered as people turned to stare at the dog stuck in the tree. "How do you think he got up there?" one man said to his wife. "I don't know, but I think someone should help him get down," she replied.
Ro and Jo smoothed their hair down and both said "Bless you!" to their wizard grandfather, and turned to see what all the commotion was about by the tree not too far from them.
Then they saw it – a black and white dog halfway to the top of the tree! THEIR black and white dog. In the tree.
"Poor Kato!" Ro said, starting to run toward the tree, with Jo running so fast he passed his sister, possibly for the first time ever – Ro was fast!
"Kato!" Jo called out to his furry buddy. Normally Kato would have wagged his tail and slurped Jo's face in greeting, but not today. He wasn't budging, except of course, to shiver in fear. Kato didn't like being up high. Not one little bit. He'd taken forever to get used to riding on Sir WHIP's back, and still was a little nervous during flights. "It's okay, boy," Jo said as Kato let out a little whimper.
"We have to get him down from there, but how?" Ro said, looking up at her panting dog, and holding out her hand in the stay sign command. "I could climb up, but how can I carry him back down? It's not like he can hold on and ride piggy-back."
"It would be easy for me to get him down," Jo said, wiggling his magic fingers, his meaning clear to his sister. "But there are too many people looking.
By that time Gramps Blaze had walked over, and heard what Jo had said. "You're right, Jo, you could get Kato down fast and gently with those fingers. Here, I'll make it easy for you."
With a little wave of his hand everything stopped in the whole park. People standing right next to Ro and Jo didn't blink or even breathe. Dogs on leashes were suspended in mid-step, their tails in mid wag. Leaves on the trees stopped fluttering. A Frisbee froze in mid-air. The whole park waited for Jo to use his magic.
"Go ahead," Gramps Blaze said and Jo wiggled his fingers. Above him, Kato floated up into the air over the branch he'd landed upon, and then Jo carefully lowered him to the ground, and sat him down between he and Ro's feet. Kato, tail wagging, kissed Jo's hand with a big wet slurp, and gave a happy yip, thrilled to have all four feet on the ground again.
"Okay, now let's beat feet back to the car and get out of here," Gramps Blaze said, knowing there would be no way to explain how Jo had gotten his dog out of the tree, completely unseen by people standing right next to him.
They ran like the wind, dove into the car, and once they were heading for the exit to the parking area, Gramps Blaze waved his hand out the window and unfroze all the people and animals in the park.
"Whew!" Ro said. "That was close! Gramps Blaze, you sneeze bigger than anyone I ever heard of!"
"Woof!" agreed Kato, giving Gramps Blaze's neck a slurp from the back seat where he sat between Ro and Jo.
"Not the first time I've treed someone. Last time it was Nana Terri!" Gramps Blaze said, chuckling.
"Nana Terri up in a tree! Hilarious!" Jo and Ro said in a fit of wild giggles.
"I think she liked it up there. But it confused the squirrels who had a nest in the tree, so I had to bring her down in a hurry."
"What did she have to say about that?" Jo said.
"Gesundheit," Gramps Blaze replied, and drove into a different park. "We just have time for a Bocce Ball game before dinner," Gramps Blaze said.
"Oh no!" Ro said. "We forgot the Bocce Balls! We left them in the other park."
"Silly child. What kind of a forgetful wizard do you think I am, anyway?" Gramps Blaze said, and tilted his head toward the back of the car. When Ro and Jo looked, there were the Bocce Balls in the box nice and neat.
Ro, Jo, and Kato looked forward again at Gramps Blaze, and he smiled and wiggled his fingers. "Awesome!" Jo said as his grandfather shut off the engine.
As they all piled out of the car, Ro said to Gramps Blaze: "No sneezing this time!"
TD – 11/12/2016