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Maudie's Stone

Story ID:132
Written by:Kathe M. Campbell (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Family History
Location:Tacoma WA USA
Year:1940
Person:Maudie, George, and Me
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Maudie's Stone

Maudie's Stone

MAUDIE'S STONE
by Kathe Campbell

I guess you could say my mother and father liked to live well. But then that depends upon what living well means in the eyes of your average bear. Mom liked to tell how their home-made bottles of prohibition beer exploded just as the preacher came calling. Neither mom or dad were spring chickens and Pastor Clay wanted to offer good wishes for my impending adoption. I started calling my parents Maudie and George as a tiny tot. It stuck and they loved it. What's more, being a part of their fun-loving and idyllic union left lasting impressions of how all marriages should be. Their pattern shaped my future.

George delighted in our home, tailor-made suits, and a new car every fall, except the WW2 years. His glorious tenor was his trademark as he conducted Easter Sunrises and poured his heart into community service. His proud name still encircles the archway of the boys orphanage he founded during the depression years. Best of all, an abiding love for God and family reigned as a wealth of old and new young friends, graced our front porch often.

Mom was no bigger than a minute, a born cook, gardener, and hostess. Men gushed with envious stares as George whirled his beautiful Maudie around the floor at their monthly dance club. She played the piano and organ at our church, bridge with the girls weekly, and sang contralto with the St. Cecilias. Albeit our ages were separated by nearly two generations, conversation and laughter came easy. Words were never minced as the three of us discussed daily ups and downs over Maudie's exquisite spreads. They were big city dwellers with a fenced back yard, an enormous willow tree, fish pond, one dog, one cat, and me. Is it any wonder my yen for the mountains, boating, skiing, and ranch life didn't quite fit in, but they loved me anyway.

I was lavished (but not spoiled, mind you) with most things my heart desired. As an only kid, my idea of fine living was my bicycle, roller skates, many friends, and St. Alban's Girl Scout Camp. I had fanaticized about membership in the "Gipissies" as recounted in a letter home at age eight. And here I was, about to show off my Gypsy Tribe woodsy living quarters on Parent's Sunday. It would be one of the grandest highlights of my first Brownie year at camp. Unhappily, the folks showed up an hour late for afternoon dinner and vespers, a rarity for George and Maudie's perfect timing. Nothing short of mayhem and murder would excuse their holdup. I was frantic with worry.

Even after 68 years I still recall being antsy about the fate of mom's scrumptious parsley-topped deviled eggs. She had crossed her heart promising to bring a large platter for each table in the dining hall. But on their way to St. Albans, Maudie had noted in gasping horror that her engagement ring stone was gone . . . clean gone. I suppose I never fully understood why the loss of a nearly full carat blue diamond took precedence over my Sunday do, but it did. And whats more, the unseemly events of the day become legendary amongst family and friends.

George had stopped our 1940 Pontiac on the shoulder of the road to set his auditor's calculated plan in motion. They would not open the doors until they checked their clothes and surroundings carefully. Engrossed in the task at hand, and totally indifferent to weekend traffic darting past, the two frantically went to work.

Door pockets, clothes pockets, Maudie's purse, even the deviled eggs were meticulously inspected. George removed his sport jacket and shirt while Maudie removed her trendy multi-pocketed sailor suit. Nothing glittery turned up in folds or pockets. Entirely in their skivvies in front of God and the four lane Sea/Tac highway, they hoped the stone had rolled behind or beneath the seats.

Serious searching commenced as two fortiesh venerable and popular members of the city began feeling, patting and groping in a frenzy. Maudie slid over onto George's lap while he laid the back of her seat forward. Then they both moved into the passenger seat, but nothing. Maudie discarded her perky sailor hat while they twisted and turned topsy-turvy. In and under the front seat they explored, hanging conspicuously up-side-down searching floor mats. Passing motorists tooted salty honks as the pair moved into the back seat with a flashlight. Again, nothing sparkly surfaced.

The State Trooper's droll grin at the car window embodied a thousand depraved thoughts amid the cavorting and romping. My half-dressed distinguished father rolled down the window to explain their dilemma. Excuses sounding faintly plausible, expressionless and officious eyes only rolled lest an outbreak of side-splitting laughter. The patrolman backed away and politely asked them to park off the highway before dressing and opening doors to check sills.

Maudies face and hair were in shambles as she sighed wearily in search of her compact. One earring had unwound and escaped as she peered through the visor mirror to form new spit curls. Nonetheless, being the great parents they were, George and Maudie arrived at St. Albans full of smiles and hugs as though they had just stepped out of a bandbox.

I forgot all about Maudie's cherished sparkler until Christmas that year when she opened a velvet box containing an even larger stone. She sort of cried as she kissed George and I wondered what the big deal was over a dumb 'ol ring anyhow.

Today I know darn well what the big deal was, for George and Maudie are having the time of their lives in the great beyond watching me enjoy a legacy that suits my fancy, but maybe not my ranching lifestyle. Oh dear Lord, how I adored the pair. And yes, the deviled eggs were the best . . . as always.

-2005
Kathe Campbell