A buzzing sound, like an army of angry wasps filled the air.
One blast, then two more echoed in our ears.
Spinning, rattling and hissing, a deadly snake flew off a small hill and spun to the ground.
Done, grandson Brent unloaded a shotgun.
"You okay, Maddie?" he asked.
"I think so," she answered in a trembly voice.
Daughter-in-law Gail held out her hand. "Y'all have had a long drive and now this. So, why don't we sit on the deck? You can unpack later."
Legs shaking like a castanet, I could barely stand, those words had been music to my ears. "Suits me, and I'm hard to please."
And now, a short time later, my mouth dry as a cotton boll, I collapsed into a porch swing on a high front deck.
"It's good to be here," I breathed, looking out over the Tennessee homeplace where son Bob, his wife Gail, and grandson Brent live, their Villa at Olive Hilla.
I gave the swing a push with my feet and thought back on the day.
Great-granddaughter Maddie Sanford and I had left Jackson early in the morning, headed to Chicago by way of Olive Hill, Tennessee. We would spend a couple of nights with Gail, then the three of us would motor up the road a ways to visit Bob, who was working in Chicago.
After a few wrong turns trying to get onto the Natchez Trace, I received much needed instruction from the backseat. Maddie and her cell phone, Sore Ears, (Siri to the rest of the world) gave us directions on through Mississippi and into Tennessee.
We made it past the town of Savannah, a short time later took the Olive Hill exit, then a few miles on down a country road, turned into a cow pasture. Waiting at the end of a long, winding drive, Gail and Brent greeted us with hugs.
I popped the trunk and the two of them began unloading our luggage. Maddie had stepped away from the car to pet a kitten who had rolled over onto its back when Gail cupped her ears.
"Tire leak," she and Brent said in unison.
Brent suddenly dropped a suitcase.
"Don't move!" He dashed for the house.
Gail grabbed Maddie. "I've got her."
"What's wrong with y'all?" I asked as Gail and Maddie inched backwards toward the car.
Brent ran out with a gun--he aimed and fired. A writhing, ready to strike rattlesnake had been sent to his eternal rest.
And now we were on the Villa's deck, doing our best to calm down a bit.
"It was a long day," I sighed.
"But you made it," Gail said.
"With Siri's help," Maddie chimed in.
"Sore Ears," I murmured.
Gail had the beginnings of a grin on her face as she shrugged her shoulders. "Whatever you chose to call her, let's have a toast."
She stood and raised a glass of ice tea. ''Y'all have arrived."
"Here, here." I waved my glass.
"I'm tired," Maddie said. "I think I'll go inside and watch TV."
"She may have been talking to Sore Ears too long," I said.
"Siri." Gail shook her head from side to side.
"Whatever or whoever," I said. "I made a lot of U turns today, but we've arrived and you can't get much better than this." I pumped the swing and looked out over the countryside.
Cicadas and crickets serenaded us with happy tunes; across a field of tawny grass we watched mules sway their stumpy bodies, flick and flap their ears; cows bent, chewed their cud, and every now and then hiked a tail.
The sun was low, there was a good mojo about the place as dusk gathered. "This makes for a pleasant down time," I said, "And we needed one. We can now go gentle into this good night."
The house door open, the late evening news came on.
Porch sitting is a comfortable place to catch up on family, give your opinion on world affairs and remind everyone within hearing distance how wise some of their elders are.
I must admit, though, there are a few glitches nowadays--yours truly is somewhat out of the loop when it comes to cellphones and other electronic gadgets, but I do have thoughts about some of the things we read and hear, and how much so many of us senior citizens have learned through all our years of living on God's green earth. We are often willing to share and pass some of this wisdom on to the younger generation.
I had a brief sense of importance, but it didn't last long. Before I could pump the swing higher, share some of my wit and wisdom and give my opinion on Trump, Biden, Pence, Pelosi, and--the front screen door burst open.
"A rat," Maddie shrieked. "In the cat's water bowl. A big rat." She held her arms out shoulder wide. "Almost big as my dog, Rascal."
"It's been a long day." I smiled knowingly and shook my head in dismissal. "She's probably been looking at too many Tickle Monsters or the Sister's Grimm on her cellphone."
Brent rolled his eyes. "I'll check it out."
A few minutes later, holding a large pan at arm's length, he stomped onto the deck.
Water sloshed onto the wooden floor. A gray creature with a pig-shaped pink snout and curling claws churned the water.
"A mole." Brent tossed the nasty looking animal over the balcony.
"Well, Holey, Moley!" I quipped.
What would the rest of this vacation be like I wondered as the sun sank and a full moon rose over the Villa at Olive Hilla.