I’ve shared a number of poems via this little blog, as you darling readers know. I’ve related my experiences teaching, my attempts at self-improvement (still searching for the perfect exercise for my basically non-physical personality), and lately, even original music and a book review. And each time I try something new, I still tingle a bit with hesitation.
Just a little shy, I guess.
So here we go again.
It was totally unexpected. I mean, the morning started like every other morning of my teenage life–the alarm sounded at 6:15, I pushed snooze a couple of times, and finally my Dad’s voice roused me bleary-eyed out of bed. I pulled clothes from drawers and wrangled them off hangers, and soon enough I was washing my face and combing my hair for breakfast. Naturally, my little sister was dancing all over the place, and Mom was still somewhere upstairs with Dad.
Now I typically snag my own breakfast most school days and eat it running out the door to the bus stop. But this particular morning was so cold and bleak, and I knew that Jake and Todd were out of town at some kind of track meet. So I figured what was the rush? I could take my time, and have one of the folks drop me off at the ultimate minute.
I put my fork-split English muffin halves into the old familiar toaster which my family has used for probably a hundred years, and walked over to the counter to pour my orange juice. I usually pour my orange juice at the table, but this time the carton was nearly empty, so I just hung near the fridge thinking I might also need a glass of milk with my muffin. About the time I finished off the two gulps of juice, rinsed out my glass and was reaching for the milk carton, I heard the toaster pop up.
The muffin on the left felt all warm and crispy in my hand as I scraped it with butter and globbed on the orange marmalade. And when I eagerly bit into it, mmmmm, I couldn’t wait to grab the other half.
That’s when I got the shock of my life.
There was no warm and crispy muffin half sticking out of the familiar old toaster. There was only a trace of steam, and a slight hissing sound. Boy was I ticked. That old toaster was trying to eat my muffin.
I stuffed the yummy half into my mouth, grabbed the toaster off the counter, and with one perturbed yank, freed it from the electrical outlet. I was still chewing angrily as I shook the thing and tried to peer inside…
“What’s the deal?” I growled. .
Finally, I swallowed, held the blasted gadget over the sink with one hand under its slots, gave one good, strong shake…and there it was.
My mouth fell open. The toaster clanked to the floor. My parents called my name like a curse, and my sister started singing with Kermit the frog. I could only stare.
There in my hand, beneath a sprinkling of toasted crumbs, something puffed. Or maybe…sneezed?
Then the warm, shiny ball of doughy sweet-smelling fuzz began wiggling and squirming. From one side of the thing, I watched wide-eyed as a thin wagging finger extended itself; while on the side facing me, two twitching flaps shook themselves free, and with one blinking-sniffing motion, a face pushed its way into being.
When I leaned in to get a better look, my face was slurped into warm wetness.
But before I could call out for someone to come look, the thing started pushing against my palm. The force was kind of startling, so I had to scramble and use two hands to keep from dropping it.
One final push, a little yip, and the puppy emerged—legs and tail and long ears and licking tongue—with its deep black eyes looking up at me.
I was speechless…but it wasn’t.
The toaster pup stood there squarely in my cupped palms, and said in a gruff little voice, , “What’s up, man? Cat got your tongue?”