“Hey look. Miss Norma’s outside. Is that her cat or one of the strays?” Miss Norma is certified card-carrying animal lover. Stray cats come from miles around to feast on the delicacies that she leaves out for them in her garage. A smoky gray cat was following behind her little Jack Russell Terrier. We watched them for a minute as they enjoyed the company of one another in the late morning sunshine.
“I’m going to go ask her. Be right back.” Slam. Lauren ducked under the trees and ran over to the fence.
“I want to go say hi to Miss Norma.”
“No, Faith. Eat your toast.”
“I’ll just be a minute.” Slam. Two empty places at the breakfast table. Two children lined the fence. Fragments of cat conversation drifted through the trees and the screens of open windows.
I looked from the window to the table. Claire had sidled out the door. Three children lined the fence. Charlie and I were the only two left at the table. John had yet to make his pajama clad first appearance of the day.
“I’m going to say hi, Mama.”
“Come back and ….” Slam.
Four children lined the fence and discussed the cats and poked their fingers through the links to pet the little dog.
I looked around at the half-eaten toast and the almost empty glasses of juice. I listened to the giggling and watched Miss Norma interact with the children.
Four children and one mama lined the fence as one boy, in his pajamas, found the breakfast table deserted and came out to join us. The children skipped off soon after I came out. Miss Norma and I talked about cats and the weather and church and soon twenty minutes had passed.
“Mama, it’s eleven o'clock!”
“I have to go Norma. We’re meeting Stuart for lunch in an hour.”
I returned to a table covered with toast crumbs. Either the children came back and finished their breakfast or the dog cleaned house. My money is on the dog because those kids were awfully hungry at lunch time.”
(Miss Norma is a treasure. We know. She and Mr. Lee are the best neighbors we've ever had.)