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A Girl Named Zippy - Haven Kimmel

I read this book last week, sitting with my mom in the nursing home, until she passed away. Zippy’s sharp humor and funny observations helped me through a tough time in my life.

“…she waited until she and my grandfather Anthel were just home from their honeymoon, and then sat him down and told him this: “Honey, I know you like to take a drink, and that’s all right, but be forewarned that I ain’t your maid and I ain’t your punching bag, and if you ever raise your hand to me you’d best kill me. Because otherwise I’ll wait until you’re asleep; sew you into the bed; and beat you to death with a frying pan.” Until he died, I am told, my grandfather was a gentle man.”

“That cat doesn’t have a lick of sense,’ I said, sighing.

Well, honey, he’s not right in the head,’ Dad said, flipping his cigarette into the front yard.

I glared at him. ‘And just what do you mean by that?’

Dad counted on his fingers. ‘He’s cross-eyed; he jumps out of trees after birds and then doesn’t land on his feet; he sleeps with his head smashed up against the wall, and the tip of his tail is crooked.’

Oh yeah? Well, how about this: he once got locked in a basement by evil Petey Scroggs in the middle of January and survived on snow and little frozen mice. When I’m cold at night he sleeps right on my face. Of that whole litter of kittens he came out of he’s the only one left. One of his brothers didn’t even have a butthole.’

“I stand corrected. PeeDink is a survivor.”

“What kind of good deeds? Like Girl Scouts? Because I got kicked out of Brownies and they won’t give me another chance to keep my clothes on at camp.”

“My mother was good at reading books, making cinnamon biscuits, and coloring in a coloring book. Also she was a good eater of popcorn and knitter of sweaters with my initials right in them. She could sit really still. She knew how to believe in God and sing really loudly. When she sneezed our whole house rocked. My father was a great smoker and driver of vehicles..He could hold a full coffee cup while driving and never spill a drop, even going over bumps. He lost his temper faster than anyone.”

“I respect every way in which you are a troublemaker, now get up and do what your mother says.”

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