Those that know me know I love animals, all of them. I respect all animals and their place in our world, but there are some I am fine with observing from a distance. Namely, spiders, bugs, and reptiles, except geckos. Geckos are okay with me, because to me, they are a symbol of love and a message from heaven.
Before you think me too crazy, let me explain. You see, a few years ago, my mom and I spend an amazing spring break in Port Orange, Florida right outside of Daytona Beach. This was a place we had spend many amazing weeks visiting my Great Aunt Patty, Uncle Ralph, my cousins Ashleigh and Christine and Christine’s sweet son Aidan. At the time, my sweet Aunt Patty was undergoing treatment for cancer. For some people, this would have brought them down, but not her. She laughed and joked and was the same amazing woman I had grown up to admire.
We spent the week shopping, laughing, making cupcakes, eating at local spots and spending HOURS sitting around Aunt Patty’s kitchen table. Goodness, that table, we hardly ever sat anywhere else at her house, which is funny because if you asked my cousin Ashleigh what we should do for dinner, she would usually say anything her mom didn’t cook! Over the year, we laughed and cried and everything in between at that table. It was a great week.
On the last night there, we decided to go get some ice cream at a local spot that I have always loved. The weather had been beautiful so my mom had left the top down on her car as it was parked in the driveway. We decided to leave it down and soak up a little more salt air before heading back north the next morning. My mom, Aunt Patty, myself and my dog Roary (the dogs were always welcome at Aunt Patty’s house) piled into the car to meet Christine and her son at the ice cream shop. We got about 5 house down the road when I spotted it. There it was on the seat next to me. A gecko.
Trying to remain calm I asked my mom to stop the car, thinking it better not to mention why until the car was safely in park. “Nobody panic, but there is a gecko in the car.” You know what happened? My mom and my aunt, two grown women, jumped up and out of the car and shut the doors. This would not be so upsetting if they hadn’t left me sitting there, holding my dog mere inches from the little lizard! A little Italian neighbor came walking down the street so we tried to get him to help. He basically laughed at us, half heartedly tried to catch it then went on about his stroll. We tried shooing it out, but as it turns out, it disliked us as much as we disliked it! It ran under the passenger seat. We couldn’t find it after that. We looked for a good 10 minutes. So, we decided we would head off to get our ice cream and leave the top down and then maybe it would crawl out while we were eating! Such a great plan, right?!?
When we got back to the house, poor Uncle Ralph was nominated to go out and further check the car. No sign. Our plan worked, the gecko was gone! We hoped, I mean who really knew, but all we could do was hope it was gone. The whole way home, up 95, my mom and I joked that it was going to pop out of an air vent. We laughed, but the fear was real haha! We made it home with no sign of the little creature and kind of just forgot about it. Until, about 10 days later when my mom called me leaving work one day because she had just opened the car door to see the gecko climbing up the inside of the door! Her boss had to come over and pick it up and get it out of the car! She called me and Aunt Patty on her way home from work that day and we laughed and laughed. As time went on, she would occasionally see a gecko around the building and laugh that it was our little pet, all the way from Florida.
The next time we went to Florida it was to celebrate the life of an amazing women, my Aunt Patty. It was the hardest trip I have ever taken. The family was all there, people I hadn’t seen in years. As was her nature, she had brought us all together. We laughed and cried and remembered her for the wonderful gift she was. My mom and her aunt had always shared a special bond, it was amazing to watch. My mom was heart broken, we all were, but I had never seen her so shaken. My aunt most have known she needed a laugh because as were were leaving the services and she was climbing into the car to come home a gecko crawled off a curb and right over her foot. Since then, there have been a few other time when we have needed some love and randomly a gecko will appear. We always laugh and call each other because we know, our guardian angel has a sense of humor.
This past weekend was the Daytona 500, and event my family attended several times. We always stayed with Aunt Patty. It is always kind of a bitter sweet weekend for my family, but we all cherish the fun we had with a one of a kind lady.