Saturday, December 29, 2007


Lying in bed last night, I was going over our holidays, and got to thinking about the gift Jodie's giving Starr Ann and me. Jodie invited us to travel up to Massachusetts and stay in her home there for a week or two. While we're there, she promises to take good care of Happy Hands Ranch and all our animals.

I was wondering when we should take Jodie up on the offer, and thinking it would be just like Starr Ann to sense it'd be a good time to come stealing into my room so we could talk it over. Then I started thinking how Starr Ann usually shows up in my room when I'm hoping she will. All of a sudden it dawned on me that Starr Ann always comes to my room. I couldn't think of a single time I'd ever sneaked into her room at night and eased in beside her to get all cozy and talk. Wow. Only one thing to do about that.

Dang, our hallway's really dark. About half the way to Starr Ann's room, something caught my foot and I had to hurl myself forward to keep from falling. But Starr Ann's door put a stop to all that, and when I thudded into it Bates went off big time, snarling and snapping on the other side until I got the thing opened and convinced him it was only me. Well, you'd have thought I insulted his family or something the way the judgmental little snot huffed off and made such a show of settling back into his bed. Not that I could see him, but his grunts and groans were clearly puppy expletives.

So far so good. I was inside Starr Ann's room, and she was still asleep. Have you ever seen a gold bar, or brick I guess they're called, up close? One time before September 11, 2001, Starr Ann and I rode over to Fort Knox and took a tour. They had this gold brick on display in the museum. The more I took in the dense stillness that bar gave off, the more it reminded me of Starr Ann when she's asleep. The girl must have the cleanest conscience on Earth.

Anyway, she was still way unconscious when I got under the covers with her. Hmmm, now what? You gotta be careful about waking Starr Ann up. Things end up splatted against the walls. My eyes started to adjust, and I leaned up on my elbow, close to her face, just watching her. The more I took in the Starr Ann-ness she gave off, the more she reminded me of pure gold. The girl's about the most precious thing on Earth to me.

Right when I'd just about decided not to bother her with waking, Starr Ann turned over and rolled into me. Her eyes flicked open and she didn't sproing all over the place or anything. She just said, "Well hi, Margo," and yawned.

"Well hi, Starr Ann."

She snuggled in close and said, "Thought yet about when would be a good time to visit Massachusetts?"

"Dang, sometimes I think you're as psychic as Simone, Starr Ann."

"Nope, just know you, that's all. So, I was thinking it'd be fun to go real soon. Like maybe even take off tomorrow."

I considered for about a half a second, but actually didn't need that long. "Perfect. Think Jodie's ready to take over on such short notice?"

"I do. Before I left tonight, she told me four times how much she's looking forward to giving us this."

I threw my hand up, and Starr Ann did our special, secret handshake with me. It was set. We're going on an adventure.

A little bit later, I said I guessed I'd head on back to my own room. But Starr Ann just reached past me to her nightstand. From behind the lamp base, she pulled a saucer with a cookie on it. One of those imported sugar cookies I love so much. I didn't even realize we had any of those in the house.

Starr Ann held the saucer out to me. "Take it. It's for you."

"What? A Christmas present or something?"

Starr Ann swung her head back and forth. "Uh-uh. I put one of these here every night, just in case."

"In case what?"

"Case you come in for some reason. Here, eat it."

Goddess, I love those cookies. When it was gone, I said, "How long have you been doing this, Starr Ann?"

"Ever since you first started liking them so much. Are you surprised? Was it good?"

"Delicious. But that was years ago."

By the filtered moonlight, I could see how huge she was smiling. "Yes it was. Twenty-three tins of cookies ago, to be exact."

I had two choices. I picked the one where I go back to my room. At the door, I said, "Goddess, I love you, Starr Ann." Then, just as I was about to touch the doorknob, I realized something. So I turned around and went to Starr Ann's window, raised it, and climbed out.

We got our things together this morning, and are about to head for Massachusetts. We'll be gone for a week, maybe more.