The One That Got Away

Dara LevanBlog3 Comments

Last week I wrote about our winter family vacation, “The Slippery Slope.” Here is part two! We entered the through the laundry room door. All of us were exhausted and felt mixed emotions about our trip ending. As we dragged heavy, overstuffed duffles across the shiny tile, I noticed a chocolate brown object on the floor.

In our usual manner, we immediately began unpacking and organizing our belongings. I tossed a load of dirty clothes into the washing machine. And then I headed straight into a steamy shower.

I used a thick, purple towel to quickly dry my tangled, wet hair. I sped down the stairs in response to my hungry family’s requests. Much to their dismay, the refrigerator provided disappointing and scanty choices. I suppose that’s to be expected after returning from a two week getaway.

After munching on a rice cake smeared with almond butter, I heard a beeping noise that signaled the wash cycle had finished. So I headed toward the laundry room. That is when I again noticed the unrecognizable thing on the floor.

I decided to inspect it. As I crouched closer to it, the thing leapt away from me! I shrieked and realize it was the one that got away. This THING was ALIVE!!

On December 30th, Zoe texted Grandpa Alan this message:

“Hi Grandpa. Tomorrow you’re going (to our house)? Please go to the store and get 10 large crickets. I know you’re going to hate this but you need to feed him them one by one. You can use the tongs next to the cage. If he doesn’t want anymore and you have some left, you can just dump them outside. Or you can open the cabinet next to the cage and put them in the clear bin with the purple top. I am sorry you have to feed one by one. It’s just that he will get scared and not eat anything because he is still a baby. And two? The crickets can eat him. I love you. Goodnight.”

December 31st, Grandpa replied to Zoe:

“Got the crickets. Yuk!” She sent him three kiss emojis. And she wrote, “When you leave, make sure the front door is locked please. (I need to remind you my daughter is only 14 years old. Her maturity and meticulous descriptions are typical of how she communicates. It never ceases to amaze us.).

Here is the rest of their endearing and entertaining texting banter:

“Bearded dragon fed. He had eight. One got away. I ate the last one,” Grandpa of the century joked. 

“If he doesn’t have then please. But if he needs more, please put room temp water,” Zoe texted.

“No water. I’ll get some from the tap. Do you have any straws?” Grandpa asked.

“I don’t know. For what?” Zoe inquired.

“So I can get water in there without putting my hand in.”

“LOL. Ummmm. You can use a cup and pour it in,” Zoe replied.

“He won’t jump out?” 

“No. Of course not—LOL. He’s not a frog.”

“Ok. Done. Front door locked,” Grandpa texted. “Thank you soooooooooooooo much!” Zoe wrote back.

Are you still wondering what creature is devouring crickets in our home? I’d like you to meet Coco, the bearded dragon. Although I admittedly find his cuisine nauseating, Coco is a sweet, expressive little guy.

Thank goodness for Grandpa and also our neighbor’s son. Before we left town, Zoe arranged for someone to watch and care for Coco. Then we got a call that she had to suddenly leave Florida. After a few minutes of panic, Zoe organized and mobilized a team.

Grandpa lives a solid 30 minutes from our home. He works full time and rarely has any white space in his calendar. He somehow always finds and makes the time to show up. The word “grateful” does not even begin to describe my feelings for this incredible soul.

I must add that not only is Grandpa a loving, supportive, brilliant, and witty man, but I’m blessed he is my father-in-law, too. He has become like a father to me. I am doubly blessed to experience how he loves our children and all of us unconditionally.

On Sunday night, Grandpa and Grandma came over for dinner. We shared about our skiing adventures and more. Then a few of us visited with Coco. I swear he looked at Grandpa with gratitude. Zoe fed him more crickets as I tried not to gag.

The texting between Zoe and Grandpa Alan was hilarious. But hearing them speak in person was even funnier! Grandpa told us that someone at the pet store informed him Coco does not need to have the crickets fed to him one by one. Zoe said that’s not what she was told, and she felt badly. We also told Grandpa that we found two more crickets wandering upstairs. I wondered if these darling crickets were starting a family in my home!

On Sunday night, Coco texted Grandpa Alan a thank you note:

Dear Grandpa,

Thank you again for feeding me while my mommy was away. I know my physical appearance may be rather unappealing! But I promise I really appreciate your kindness and care. The crickets were deeeeeeeeeeelicious!

Night night,


3 Comments on “The One That Got Away”

  1. Of course, I love reading another of your stories. Zoe is so lucky to have Grandpa Alan in her life. My husband lived long enough to see one grandchild reach the age of 13. Gaba (as he was known) would have done anything for his one and only granddaughter. But, I seriously doubt that he would have fed crickets to a bearded dragon. He isn’t here to defend himself, perhaps he would have fed the dragon for the “light of his life”.

    1. Donna,
      I so appreciate your consistent connection! It truly means the WORLD to me!! And thank YOU for sharing about Gaba. I would love to hear more about your husband. xoxo

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