Gastrointestinal Fortitude!

“Gastrointestinal fortitude!”

At nearly 90 years old, Grandma Norris was always proud of the fact that she could stomach just about anything. She had yelled the words the way a general would shout a war cry to rally his troops, and as she voraciously tore into her meal of black beans and sauerkraut, it became undoubtedly clear that she harbored no sympathy for the perennial maternal adage, “Chew before you swallow.” In her speech one could detect a faint English accent, a remnant of the country she had left behind as a young woman. The daughter of a businessman and a nurse, Katherine Emily Norris was raised in Kensington, just west of Hyde Park – of course, in those days her maiden name was Bridgewater. Katherine Emily Bridgewater.

On her way home from school Katherine would often take a detour through the neighboring royal parks and walk along the Serpentine, counting her leisurely steps like a gentleman pacing himself in a duel. One particularly splendid day, as she had just rounded the end of the river and turned around on her way home, a young boy had come running and crashed into her. He had been carrying a large stack of papers, and as the two fell to the ground, so too spilled the manila folders and the sheets they had held. With an almost imperceptible “whoops!” the boy quickly gathered himself and began scooping up the documents. He looked up at Katherine with a sheepish smile and uttered just two words, “Sorry miss..” The boy, freckled and bespectacled, looked to be about Katherine’s age, though smaller than her in stature. He sported a frock of dirty, brown hair that was swept nonchalantly over his eyes, and his accentuated dimples revealed a habit of stupidly grinning at the slightest amusement. Which he was doing at exactly that moment as he introduced himself.

“I’m Jack. You’re old man Bridgewater’s girl, right?”

Intrigued by this new acquaintance, Katherine simply replied, “Why, yes. I..”

“Cool,” interrupted the boy. “Well, gotta go! See ya!” With a swift swivel on his left leg, he turned about face and ran off just as quickly as he had appeared. Katherine could not know it at the time, but the two would fall in love and within a year’s time would be united in lawful marriage.