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Sitting at work one Saturday, my oldest daughter e-mails me, “Mom, Fran’s dad died.”  Fran is my neighbor and friend who lives directly next door to us.

“What?  Are you sure?  Lila, I just saw her this morning and she didn’t say anything.”

“Mom, I’m sure.  Dad was in the pool and heard all this screaming and crying so he went to their house to see if they were ok and when he came back, he said her father died.”

“OK, I will call her now.”  Stopping momentarily to order and send her flowers but thought I should call first.

“Fran, it’s Denise.  Lila just told me.  Oh, honey, I’m so sorry.  What happened?”

Barely able to understand her through her sobs, "Oh Denise, I can't believe it.  We just brought him home from the hospital and he was so spunky."  Spunky?   That is an odd way to describe your father, I think to myself.  But, he did look EXACTLY like the bald man from Great Adventure so, maybe he was spunky.

Fran continues, "He was playing in his cage and eating..."  Playing in his cage????  

“Fran, exactly who or what died?”

“Rocco, our guinea pig.”  Sobs ...

“Fran, I’m sorry,” and I hang up the phone.

Ring, ring, ring, I dial my husband, Adam, born in Egypt with an Egyptian accent.

“Adam, why did you tell Lila that Fran’s dad died?”

“Isn’t that who died.”

“No, the guinea pig died.”

“They had a pig in the house?”

“No, it’s like a fat hamster.”

“They were screaming and crying like that over a pig?”

“Hamster, and why did you think it was her father!!??”

“I went in the house because I was so concerned and they were hysterical.  I asked Alex (Fran’s son) what happened and all I heard was “guinea” and I new they are Italian ...”

I could not contain my laughter as tears ran down my face ...  

It is one of mine and Fran’s favorite stories to tell!

True story ...

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