There I was at the four-way stop, 10 minutes until 9 on a Thursday morning and everything – I mean everything – was going along right on schedule.
I was less than two blocks from the school in south San Angelo where I volunteer as a Foster Grandparent for the Early Head Start program; hadn’t forgotten my nametag; the pointy-eared dog had been fed and walked; I’d gotten my granddaughter to her early morning – I mean before 7 a.m. – basketball practice.
So I was pretty smug. Two stories to finish that afternoon; workout at Curves; granddaughter’s basketball game at 6; bada bing, bada boom; and I was making it happen.
Then on the seat beside me, my phone began to vibrate. I looked over and there, as pretty as ever, my granddaughter’s sweet face shown on the screen. Uh-oh. Something must have happened, calls during the school day always mean a complication of some sort.
“Grandma,” she said in a frantic whispered voice when I answered. “Is there any way you can bring me $6 to school?”
“Yeah, soon as possible.”
Her voice was too muffled for me to hear the answer.
Still, I could imagine the worst. She’d been kidnapped and $6 was needed for the ransom. A library book was past due. Just another one of those days at middle school when a random fee was required for something I’d never understand.
OK, quick schedule rearrange. Middle school is on the north side of town, a 20-minute drive at best. Of course my cash on hand only came to $5. No worries, would borrow from the lunch money stash. H-m-m-m-m. Someone had beat me to that it seemed.
I called my school and explained I’d be late – a grandchild emergency, which they totally understood, but probably thought it meant she’d been kidnapped, needed to be rushed to the hospital or it was deadline day to purchase the “spirit” T-shirt of the week.
Mid transit I stopped at the grocery store, bought a cup of yogurt and got cash back on my debit card. I arrived at the school and parked in the nearest parking place, almost a block away and all but scurried into the office, $6 cash in hand. Miss Kristena was summoned to the office to see me.
Have I mentioned she is perfectly gorgeous? She is. It makes me happy every time I see her.
I handed her the folded $5 and $1 bills. She flashed her beautiful smile, and hugged me quickly.
“What is this for?” I asked.
“Girl Scout cookies.”
“Girl? Scout? Cookies? Really?”
“Yeah, Grandma. But one of the special needs students is selling them to help his sister, but no one is buying any. If I buy two boxes, it’s going to make him so happy.”
See what I mean? My granddaughter is beautiful, and the most beautiful thing about her is the part no one can really see.
I was just an hour late getting back to my school on the other side of town. And everything else on the day’s schedule got done as well. Things seemed to go a little more quickly, fueled – I think – by Kristena’s kind deed.
The Lincoln Lady Maidens seventh-grade varsity got spanked pretty soundly by the Glenn Lady Raiders Thursday but Kristena played like a champion. The girl stole the ball I don’t know how many times, rebounded like she had springs on her feet and spent more time in the air than on the court. Even the ref said she was a hopper.
Her coach was very proud. She said Kristena played with a lot of heart and passion. She just needed to work on her “head” game, and they would do that, the coach said. We can’t argue with that. Just as long as she doesn’t lose any of her heart.
At the game’s end, Kristena’s fan base (me, her dad, her godmother and her dad’s friends) waited to hug her and say, “Good game.” She flashed us that great smile and said, “Thanks.”
“Did you buy the cookies?” I whispered.
“Yeah,” she answered, grinning.
“Grandma, I ate a whole box of Samoas. I think it helped my game.”
I think it helped my heart.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Candace Cooksey Fulton is a freelance writer, editor living in San Angelo, Texas. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.