Marybeth stood in yard. Her little pink toes peeking out from the bottom of her nightgown: arms out, head back and her little pink tongue sticking out to try and catch the snow. The snow was wet and heavy and fell from the night sky in large clumps. Marybeth had slipped out of the kitchen door but had left it ajar,
“Good heavens child, get in here. You’ll catch your death,” said Mama. She whisked her in and grabbed the kitchen towel to wipe a way the little bits of snow on her head and nightgown and then to dry her off a bit.
“I couldn’t stop myself from going out there,” Marybeth said excitedly. “It was so beautiful.”
“It is beautiful,” Mama replied. “But now it’s off to bed with you, or you’ll be sick in the morning.” And then muttering under her breath “Child doesn’t have the sense God gave a goose” as the little girl skipped down the hall to her room.
Marybeth smiled as she walked home from high school. The rain was pouring down, great big buckets of it. She laughed as she walked. Not at all sorry that she had missed the bus and she hoped Mama wouldn’t be too cross. She tried to slip in the back door without her mother hearing but of course Mama was standing right there in the kitchen.
Her mother turned as she came in and then stood there dripping wet.
“Good heavens child, don’t just stand there. Get your coat and boots off. You’ll catch your death,” and she ran to get a towel for her. Marybeth laughed while Mama tried to dry her off as if she were a little girl. She kissed her on her cheek. “Now quick run and get changed or you’ll be sick in the morning.”
10 years later she was sitting in the den typing furiously on the computer. She was married now and everything had seemed perfectly wonderful and then Tom started to get the headaches. Although he often fought with her about going to the doctor, as all men do, he had finally agreed to go. That’s when they had found the tumor. It was cancer, and they had started the usual rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. Day after day and night after night, when she wasn’t attending to him she was on the computer.
“What are you doing?” He asked coming into the room in the middle of the night.
“I’m trying to catch your death,” she replied. He looked at her quizzically. “I’m looking for something to stop this thing that’s trying to take you from me.” He pulled her to him then. "It will be okay he whispered softly to her.
He held her close to him trying to ease the fear and tension out of her. “Come to bed or you’ll be sick in the morning.”
For six years they were able to keep the cancer at bay but finally, after they had tried so many different sorts of things, he slipped away.” After the funeral she had gone home to Mama’s house. Broken and sad, she didn’t know how to survive this. She didn’t want to go on. That night the sky turned dark and the wind grew cold. Rain and sleet and snow blew hard against the house. Mama came into the kitchen about half past three and noticed the kitchen door slightly ajar. She opened the door and saw Marybeth shivering and crying in the storm.
“Good heavens, what are you doing child?” And Marybeth came in. Sobbing and shaking she looked at Mama.
“I was trying to catch my death” she whispered.