By Linda Porter Carlyle
What happened last week: The water quit running when G.M. was in the shower, her hair covered with shampoo. Mac’s family next door was not home, so they couldn’t help. Joseph called Pastor Chuck and asked, “Can G.M. come over to your house and finish her shower?”
Joseph Anderson Donetti and G.M. (that was Joseph’s special nickname for Grandma Maddie) drove slowly through the pouring rain. “I’m glad it’s raining,” G.M. said. “We always need the water. But I wish it wouldn’t rain quite so hard until we get to Pastor Chuck’s house.” She took one hand off the steering wheel and adjusted the towel that was wrapped around her hair. She leaned forward a little, trying to see better.
The windshield wipers on G.M.’s truck only had one speed—sort of slow. Joseph liked the old truck. It made him feel special riding in it. But the truck did not have the fancy things that his friends’ newer cars did. Things like really fast windshield wiper speeds. And CD players. And compasses that told which direction the car was traveling. Joseph settled back on the seat. At least the truck had a heater.
“What do you think happened to our water?” he asked. “It’s really creepy to turn on the faucet and nothing happens!”
“I don’t know,” G.M. answered. “I’ll work on that problem later when I get the shampoo out of my hair.” She turned her head and grinned at Joseph. “Right now I’m looking on the bright side. I don’t have to cook supper tonight!”
Joseph smiled. When he had first come to live with G.M., he had thought all grandmothers liked to cook. He had found out fast enough that that was not true. G.M. would do just about anything to avoid cooking. She would much rather paint.
G.M. pulled into the driveway in front of Pastor Chuck’s apartment house. Joseph helped her find a parking spot that said, “Visitor” in large white painted letters on the ground.
G.M. turned off the motor. The rain drummed loudly on the truck’s roof. Joseph tugged the hood of his raincoat over his head and opened the door. He and G.M. slopped across the parking lot and climbed the stairs to Pastor Chuck’s apartment.
Pastor Chuck flung the door open. “No, Buffy! Stay here!” he said to the bouncy cocker spaniel at his feet.
“Come in! Come in!” he said cheerfully to Joseph and G.M. He grinned at G.M., her fluffy pink bathrobe sticking out from under her raincoat. Her hair wrapped up in a towel. He pointed down the hall. “The shower’s that way!”
Pastor Chuck took Joseph’s drippy raincoat and hung it up. “You’re just in time to help me find the dog’s nose,” he said.
Joseph stared at him. Then he leaned down to get a closer look at Buffy. Her nose looked all right to him.
Pastor Chuck laughed. “We’re working on a puzzle,” he explained. “I’m having trouble with the dog’s nose.”
“Hi!” Mrs. Pastor Chuck called from the kitchen. “Can you do me a favor and help my poor husband find that dog’s nose?”
Joseph laughed. Pastor Chuck sat down on the couch and leaned over the coffee table where the half-worked puzzle and all the not-yet-put-together pieces lay. Joseph sank down cross-legged on the carpet. Buffy lay down beside him and put a paw on his lap.
Joseph studied the picture on the box lid. A blond puppy with long ears was sound asleep next to a big teddy bear. “That’s a picture of Buffy!” he exclaimed.
“I know,” Pastor Chuck said. “It’s a picture we took of her when she was just a baby. My parents had the picture enlarged and made into a puzzle for us.” He frowned. “I know Buffy had a nose when we took the picture!”
Joseph laughed again.
Buffy barked and rolled over so Joseph could scratch her belly.
Suddenly Joseph noticed something out of the corner of his eye. “There’s a puzzle piece under the couch!” he said. He scrambled over and grabbed it.
“He found Buffy’s nose!” Pastor Chuck called to his wife. “I’m not going blind! It was under the couch!” He happily fitted the missing piece in its place.
G.M. padded down the hall. Her hair was damp and curly, but not soapy any longer.
“Let’s eat,” Mrs. Pastor Chuck said.
Soon everyone was gathered around the big dining room table, steaming bowls of corn chowder in front of them.
Pastor Chuck lit the tall white candles in the brass holders.
“Thank you so much for taking care of us this evening!” G.M. said with a sigh. “For the shower and for this delicious-looking food.”
“I’m glad you called us and let us know you needed help,” Pastor Chuck said.
“We’d be happy to share our supper and our shower with you anytime,” Mrs. Pastor Chuck added.
“I guess we’ll be here every night then,” Joseph put in. “G.M. doesn’t like to cook.”
They all laughed loudly at that!
“What happened to your water?” Mrs. Pastor Chuck asked.
“I don’t know yet,” G.M. said. “After I am strengthened with supper, I’ll attack that problem. Maybe you could pray that whatever it is, it won’t be too complicated or too costly to repair,” she added, looking at Pastor Chuck.
“Of course, I will,” Pastor Chuck replied. “Let’s join hands and bow our heads.”