To say that Morris isn’t fond of the cold weather, would be a complete understatement. He hates it, plain and simple. At night he rolls himself into a ball that resembles a Pangolin and only would “unroll” himself if I manage to convince him it’s warmer for us to sleep together.
Since Pikkie came to stay with us the boys stay up late some evenings and tell stories for hours. Sometimes I listen to them, other times their soft voices are soothing, and I drift off to sleep in between Morris’ lisping and Pikkie’s perfect pronunciations.
Since its winter and there’s not much going on, mom has started to let us watch video’s in our living room during the day when it’s cold and miserable outside. Morris adores watching any type of Pirate movies. He can probably relate to all their physical ailments and rough adventures. Pikkie loves the love stories and doesn’t like much action. I don’t mind. As long as a movie has a happy ending, I’m happy!
With all the rough movies, Morris has started to use some colorful language. Mom doesn’t know yet, but I am worried about what Morris will remember and whether his vocabulary will remain like this when we are fully booked with lots of customers to entertain. Sometimes he lets off a phrase that mom definitely wouldn’t approve off, then runs in wide circles laughing his pirate laugh. Mom thinks it’s funny and keep on making videos of Morris being “funny”. Poor mom.
Being Annie comes with a lot of responsibility. Our hotel has to be the best. We can’t let our standards slip and our guests pick up bad behaviors. Morris does not seem to care, nor want to listen to reason when I finally got a chance alone with him. “Nobody carethsss, Annie.” He says with his charismatic one-sided smile. This is his standard reply when he thinks I’m being silly. “The more dogth mithbehave, the more their momth love it!” he claims. I won’t know. I haven’t been around as long as Morris and have to believe him.
And so, the weeks ticked over, it became colder and colder, and the guests less and less. And then, just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, mom got ill.
She came to put us to bed the one day, with hair standing in all directions, looking a little bit flushed in the face. She hugged us all tightly and tried to sing our goodnight song but struggled to get it to sound right. Morris licked her a lot.
That night was terribly cold outside, but we were all cozy and warm with our heatlamp and our electric blanket and Morris and I were snuggling on my bed, with Pikkie preferring the armchair. He gets warm very easily.
“I don’t think mom is feeling great,” I told Morris. “We will have to give her many licks in the morning.”
The next morning mom was late. Dad came to fetch us, and give us our warm food, put some blankets on our couch, and switch on the heater for us. Morris refused to eat. “I want mom!” he angrily barked at dad. Dad sat watching us for a while and scratched my ears the way I like, but eventually gave up and took the food away. Time went by slowly. When the sun was high in the sky and most of the frost was gone, mom came to see us. Morris was beside himself. Mom picked him up, her face all red and scrunchy looking. “Shame, my boy!” she said, and her voice sounded weird, but she held him close. Morris milked it for all he’s worth, and started moaning, “I’m thoooo hungry… haven’t had food thinthe yethterday…” Mom went to the fridge, got some food especially for Morris and heated it up. The little bugger seems to get exactly what he wants.
Mom got sicker and sicker and Dad was worried. No-one was allowed to visit. We were bored and either lounged in the sun or watched TV when it was cold out. But then, after weeks of nothing going on, Mom got better!
Then, Dad had to go to hospital. Morris were upset because Mom was upset and was in a foul mood until he made Mom laugh again. We didn’t know when he would be coming home, and mom said we will just have to wait and see. No visitors were allowed in hospital, but at night she would sit with us and we would call dad. He was in much pain, but hearing his voice helped us all. Every time Pikkie heard Dad’s voice he would do his happy dance.
One afternoon we were doing our rounds with Mom to make sure our guests were happy. Her phone rang, she answered and started walking to the gate, while waving at us. Shortly after, she got in the car and off she went.
Morris stood by the garden gate, pondering why mom would so abruptly leave. He got tired of waiting for her to come back so ran back to the cottages to chat up some girls. Mom doesn’t know it, but he’s actually a terrible Butler. I had a nap in the sun, when I heard Morris’ voice; “Thhhshiver me timbertthhs, Annie, Thhhshiver me timbertthhs!!!” And there he was, wagging his tail so his whole body wagged with it… Dad was back!
Later that night when Mom came to put us to bed, we did our normal routine. Mom telling us we’re beautiful and she loves us, tucks us in, sing Morris his goodnight song and then, when she turned at the door to look at us one more time, she said: “I love you guys! And don’t think for one minute I don’t know about your bad language Mister Morris!”
For once Morris didn’t have an answer.