Tommy - The Trials and Tribulations of a Girl? - Chapter 158



Tommy
The Trials and Tribulations of a Girl?

A Novel By Teddie S.

Copyright © 2019 Teddie S.
All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 158
Even in church! Christmas.
A future sister-in-law?

We were back in Ohio at my parent's house for Christmas. On our first morning back we’d taken a hike on the lake trail, and when we were at the lake, we saw the immature Eagle again. Is he or she related to the Eagles out west?

Later that day we had planned a get together with the crew, Larry, Kelly, Mark, and Maria. But, first we wanted to talk with Larry about Dr. Grunewald using his paper on me as a class project. So, we invited Larry and Kelly to come over early to talk, but because of Kelly’s pregnancy we decided to pass on a movie and dinner out, and instead get together at my parent's house. Mark and Maria joined us later. Then when my mother and father came home, we ordered pizza. As all eight of us ate, Amy and I spilled the beans on some of the things that had happened in New Mexico. My parents weren’t happy with a few of the things that we told them.

After we’d eaten, we heard from Amy's brother Billy, and his girlfriend, Bridget, had finished her paper based on the research paper that Larry had written about me. And they came over to the house so that we could read it. Bridget was amazed that the author of the paper was here and that he was also my best friend. And, she was even more surprised when we told her that the subject of Larry’s paper was me.

We told Bridget the story of Tom, Tammy, and Kai. And, she thought it was fascinating. Larry and I both wrote notes on Bridget’s paper as a way to let Dr. Grunewald know that we knew what she was doing. It’ll be interesting to see what Dr. Grunewald says to Bridget.

Late on Friday evening, after we had enjoyed each other, Amy and I were lying in bed enjoying the afterglow of our tryst. Amy rolled over, looked at me, and said, “Tommy, I never thought that I could love someone as much as I do you. You are so special to me.”

“Lover.”, I said. “You’ll never know how happy I was that day I found you sitting on that bench. I still don’t know what drew me to the lake trail that day. But, I’m so glad that it did. I feel that if we hadn’t gotten back together that I’d still be single as no one could have ever replaced you. Amy or Ajie, I love you more than life itself.”

Amy moved around so that she could look at me, then she bent down, and we shared a long, deep kiss. When we broke the kiss, she cuddled close to me and went to sleep. I was asleep a short time later.

It was Saturday, two days before Christmas. Amy and I were up earlier than we were yesterday. And my mom was getting ready to leave for work when we walked into the kitchen, and she said, “Good morning kids. Sleep well?”

“Mom, we always sleep well when we’re here.”, Amy said. “Is there anything that we can do for you today?”

“Nothing. Unless you want to cook dinner tonight.”

“We’d be happy to.”

“There’s all kind of things in the refrigerator and freezer in the basement. So pick something that’s good. We’re going to Amy’s parents for Christmas dinner, so everything in the house is fair game to use for dinner.”

“We’ll put something good together.”

“I know you will. I’ll see you later.”

Mom left for work, and we put together our breakfast. Dad was around the house but spent a lot of time in his workshop or watching sports on TV.

As we ate breakfast, Amy said, “You know, we should get Bridget something for Christmas.”

“I was thinking that too.”, I replied. “But, what?”

“If we’d have known about her before we came home, we could have brought her something from New Mexico.”

“Well, I did get you something small.”

“Oh.”, Amy said. “I didn’t think we were getting each other anything.”

“I couldn’t resist. But, I don’t want to tell you what it is. It’s a surprise.”

“You’re sweet. But, it’s okay.”

“Well.”, I said. “When we were picking out the presents for our aunts, uncles, and Naainish, I saw something and thought of you.”

“And, you’re willing to give it to a stranger?”

“Not really. It was just an idea. And, is Bridget a stranger?”

“I guess she isn’t. You’re sweet to think of Bridget. What is it?”

“A pair of silver earrings?”

“Maybe a little too much to give Bridget?”

“Maybe. But, they’d look wonderful on you.”

“Now it’s not a surprise.”, Amy said.

“I’m sorry.”, I said. “But, you asked.”

“I know, and it’s okay. You always surprise me.”

“We’ll see if we can come up with something else.”

I won’t bore you with what happened the rest of today, other than to tell you that Amy and I put together a wonderful dinner for my parents.

For dinner we started with Texas black bean soup, then for the main course, it was chili-stuffed poblano peppers with a Southwest corn dish and cilantro-lime rice as sides. Then we surprised them with Mexican fried ice cream for dessert.

As we ate we filled them in on some other things that we had done in New Mexico. Like when the Eagles were shot at, going to the reservoir and finding the Eagle’s nest, hiking and seeing the bear, about Charlie and Jackie, and Quah Ah and the Governor.

My dad said, “You have more adventures in a few months then I do in a couple of years.”

“I know, dad.”, I said. “And, we’ve only been out there six months.”

“It seems like you’ve been gone six years.”, my mom said.

“We miss you guys too.”, Amy said. “When we get the house you’d better come out and visit us a lot.”

“The house!”, my dad said.

“We’ve been talking about it.”, I said. “We want out of the city so we can see the mountains and stars.”

“So, you’re planning on staying out there a while?”, my mom asked.

“Mom, we love it out there. The area, the people, and the wilderness that’s only an hour or two away, plus we’ll both be working on our degrees. And, I also have my research and teaching, and Amy has the hospital and her teaching.”

“I thought that you two might do something like this.”

“We couldn’t help it, mom.”, Amy said. “Things just happened. Besides with the house, it would give us room to have guests, and we expect to have them. Hint. Hint.”

“So, when is this going to happen?”, my dad asked.

“Probably not until after school is out for the year.”

“That’s good. You’re not rushing into it. Any idea of where out there?”

“We’d love to be close to the resort.”, Amy said. “But, it’s a long drive to the university from there. So, we’ll be looking for something that’s within an hour or less of campus.”

“That should give you a nice area to choose from.”

“Yes, it should.”

Sunday was a laid back day, and we had about six inches of snow, so we’ll have a white Christmas. But, Amy and I had to help dad clear the driveway.

After dinner, Amy and I got dressed up, yes the long skirts and fancy blouses, wrap moccasins with socks to keep our feet warm, and some of our silver jewelry, our hair in ponytails with fancy ponytail holders, and fancy earrings. We were going to church with my mom and dad for the Christmas Eve service. And, we met up with Amy’s parents, Billy, and Bridget at church.

When she saw us, Bridget said, “I love how the two of you are dressed. You look fantastic. And the jewelry is gorgeous!”

“Thank you.”, I replied. “My great-great-grandfather was a silversmith and made most of what we’re wearing. And, I love what you’re wearing.”

Bridget was dressed in a long plaid skirt with a matching sash over her shoulder, and that was held at her waist by a fancy pin. She also wore an elegant white blouse with lace at the cuffs, neck, and down the front.

Bridget said, “Thanks. It’s our clan tartan, and the pin is our clan crest.”

“What clan?”, Amy asked.

Bridget smiled, as she said, “Clan MacDonald.”

“I should have guessed.”

As we stood there talking, I noticed that we were being looked at by other parishioners. I noticed that in particular, the women were looking at us and in most cases, they were smiling at us. We even had one stop, and say, “Girls, your outfits are beautiful.”

Bridget, in her Scottish accent, replied, “Thank you, ma’am.”

After a nice Christmas Eve church service, the eight of us were standing around while our parents were talking to some other people including the minister. A group of teenagers walked by, and one of them said, “I didn’t know that this was a costume party, or I’d have dressed up.” A few of the other teenagers laughed.

I spun around, and said, “Excuse me! Do you have a problem?”

The boy and his friends stopped, turned, looked at me, and he said, “Well the two of you have Indian costumes on, and she’s dressed in some kind of a costume.”

I almost said that he should have dressed as a clown, but I didn’t.

This boy was at least six or eight inches taller than I am. But, I knew that Amy was standing to my right, and Bridget and Bill, all six-three of him, were on my left. And our parents were right behind us.

“Well.”, I said. “We happen to be American Indians, members of the Navajo Nation. And, she happens to be from Scotland. And, these aren’t costumes. They’re the typical dress for us at things like this.

“And, I’m sorry if you have problems with the way we’re dressed. You need to learn to accept people for who they are.”

Then we heard a woman say, “Phillip, what’s wrong.”

The boy, Phillip, replied, “Oh nothing mom.”

I said, “Wrong, Phillip! You were making fun of us and the way that we're dressed. It’s Christmas haven’t you heard the saying, peace on earth and good will to men?”

“Yeah, I guess I have.”, Phillip said.

“Phillip, were you making fun of these girls?”, the woman asked.

“Yes, he was Mrs. Maxwell!”, my mother said. “The one girl is from Scotland. And the other two are from New Mexico and are members of the Navajo Nation.”

Mrs. Maxwell then looked at our parents, and said, “Oh. … Hello, Mrs. Young, Mrs. Grant, Dr. Young, Mr. Grant. Oh, and Dr. Rodgers. I’m so sorry. Phillip, you had better apologize to the girls.”

“But, mom.”, Phillip said.

“But, nothing Phillip Maxwell. You’ve embarrassed me not only in front of the Youngs and the Grants, but in front of Dr. Rodgers, our minister. What you’ve done is wrong. So, you apologize.”

Phillip mumbled something that sounded like, “I’m sorry.”

So, I said, “I’m sorry, Phillip. But, we didn’t hear you, and that didn’t sound sincere.”

“Phillip!’, Mrs. Maxwell said.

“I’m … I’m sorry.”, Phillip said.

“Sorry for what Phillip?”, I asked.

“Sorry for … for making fun of you.”

“Do you mean it?”

“Yes. Yes, I do. I’m sorry for making fun of you.”

“Why are you sorry?”

“Because it wasn’t nice to make fun of the way that you're dressed.”

“Thank you, Phillip.”

“Phillip, go sit in the car.”, Mrs. Maxwell said.

“Yes, mother.”, Phillip said. And he walked away. Most of his friends went in a different direction.

“Girls.”, Mrs. Maxwell said. “I’m really sorry for the way that Phillip acted. He’s never done anything like this before.”

“Mrs. Maxwell.”. I said. “We’ve run into this before, and I’m more concerned for Bridget, then for us. She is a guest in this country, and she shouldn't have to witness this or be treated like this.”

“I’m so sorry. He wasn’t raised this way.”

“Maybe it’s who he hangs out with.”

“I don’t know. But, his father and I will talk with him.”

I just nodded. And, Mrs. Maxwell walked away.

“Miss.”, Dr. Rodgers, the minister, said, “I appreciate the way you handled that. It was done in a very good way.”

I turned and looked at the minister, and said, “Dr. Rodgers, unfortunately, we’ve seen too much of this sort of thing, and have learned how to handle people like him.”

“I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had to do that.”

“So are we, sir. And, I’m sorry that our friend from Scotland had to see it.”

“Oh! I am too, Miss.”

As we walked out into the parking lot, there was a light snow falling, and Bridget said. “Kai, you’ve had this sort of thing happen before. Haven’t you?”

“Yes.”, I replied. “Too many times. And, some of it was worse than just words.”

“You stand up for yourself, and others, in ways that I’d be afraid to.”

“Bridget. Honey. There are just times that you have to stand up for yourself. It can be hard at first. But, you learn not to get mad, but only to state your point of view in a way that they will hopefully understand.

“That boy picked on us because of peer pressure. And because he thought that girls would be an easy target. He had no idea that he'd be challenged the way he was.”

“Aren’t you afraid that it will turn physical?”

“It has.”

“Really?”

“Yes, and we’ll talk about that later. If that’s all right?”

“Yes, Kai, I understand, we’ll talk later.”

Then Amy said, “Bridget, Kai has learned to protect herself not with only words, but physically. And, so have I.”

We said goodnight and Merry Christmas to the Grants, and Bridget. Then as we got into the car, my mother said, “Kai, I’m proud of the way you stood up to the Maxwell boy. You didn’t make a scene, you weren’t confrontational, but just stated the facts.”

“Mom.”, I said. “It’s the way that we’ve learned to handle things like that.

“Words, then actions if necessary.”

On the way home, Amy said, “We wish we’d known about Bridget before we came home so that we could have gotten her a Christmas present.”

“You don’t have to get her anything, But if you want to, you could get her something here.”, my mother said.

“It’s Christmas Eve, and maybe a little late. Besides, it wouldn’t be special enough.”

“It needs to be special?”

“Kai thinks so. Don’t you honey.”

“Yes.”, I said. “There’s something between her and Billy. And, the way she stood with me when I confronted that boy.”

“Oh. So, you see something between Bridget and Billy?”

“Yes. And, I feel something too.”

“You know kids if you want to give her something special I may have something for you.”

“What’s that mom?”, I asked.

“The last time we were in Albuquerque, I saw and bought a beautiful set of native made silver earrings. And, I’ve never worn them. They’re still on the card.”

“You don’t want them, mom?”

“They’ve been sitting in my jewelry box since we came back. And, not only do I think that they’d look good on Bridget, and I know that she’ll love them.

“I’ll give them to you, but if it makes you feel better, you can pay me for them.”

“We’d talked about giving Bridget a pair of silver earring that I’d gotten for Amy. But, at that time, we thought that it might be too much to give her somethings like that. But, after tonight I think it might be a good thing.”

When we were home, mom went to her room and came back out with the earrings. She handed them to me, and Amy and I looked at them. They were beautiful, the posts were attached to a diamond shaped piece of silver, and that had a diamond-shaped piece of turquoise mounted on it. Hanging from each diamond shape piece of silver was a single silver feather that looked like an Eagle’s feather.

I looked at the back of one of the feathers, and there was a small ‘s’ and a maker’s mark. I said, “Mom these are sterling silver. Where did you get them?”

“In a shop in Old Town Albuquerque that‘s run by a couple of Navajo men.”, my mom replied.

I looked at Amy, and together we said, “Cousin Ahiga.” Then we laughed.

“Who is Cousin Ahiga?”, my mother asked.

“He’s Uncle Paul’s cousin.”

Then I looked at the back of the feather again, and said, “I thought that the maker’s mark was familiar. It is Cousin Ahiga’s work.”

“Is it special?”, mom asked.

“If it had Grandpa Nez’s maker’s mark on it, I’d say yes. But, Cousin Ahiga’s work is excellent, and in time it could be worth much more than what you paid. Are you sure you don’t want to keep it.”

“If it had been Grandpa Nez’s work, I’d keep it. But, if you’d like to give it to Bridget, you can have it.”

Later that evening, following a long time family tradition, we sat around the Christmas tree with a friendly fire burning in the fireplace, dressed in pajamas or nightgowns, drinking eggnog, and exchanging gifts, while the train slowly circled the tree. We had gotten my dad a western style shirt and a bolo tie with a slide made out of a silver dollar. No, it wasn’t one of the ones from the hidden compartment in Grandpa Nez’s toolbox. Those silver dollars were still in the display case in the hotel lobby.

We’d gotten my mother a fancy blouse. And, when she opened the box with the necklace, that was made with the gold dollar piece, in it, she said, “Kids, this is too much.”

“Mom.”, Amy said. “We felt that you needed something special that used to belong to Grandpa Nez. We found two one-dollar gold pieces in his toolbox and had Mr. Yazzie make necklaces for you and my mom.”

“Kids, this is precious. I love it.”

Amy opened a present from my parents, and it was a beautiful blouse with a matching long skirt. And, my mother said, “We thought that you could use this with all the teaching that you do.”

“It’s great, mom.”, Amy said. “I’ll be putting it to good use. Thank you?”

Then I opened a box that was to me, and it was also a long skirt and fancy blouse, and they were different than the set that Amy was given. And, I said, “Thank you, I can use all of these I can get. I wear them all the time.”

“So, I’ve heard.”, my mother said.

Then my dad handed me an envelope, and said, “We also thought that you kids could put this to good use.”

I looked at the envelope, and it had both of our names on it. I handed it to Amy, and said, “Here, honey, you open it.”

Amy took the envelope, carefully opened it, and took out the contents. It looked like a certificate of some kind. She opened it, and it was a stock certificate, a stock certificate for one-hundred shares of IBM stock.

I looked at my dad, and said, “Thank you. But, this is too much.”

“No.”, my dad said. “We figured that you could use this. Put part of it into the scholarship if you want, or hold on to it until you buy the house, or just put it away for a rainy day.”

“Mom and dad.”, Amy said. “Thank you so much. We’ll put this to good use. We promise you that.”

Amy and I got up and gave my parents big hugs.

Later as Amy and I lay in bed, she said, “I can’t believe your parents.”

“I know.”, I said. “A hundred shares of stock. We need to do something special with it. And, something for them.”

“I know. But, what?”

“We’ll figure something out.”

It was Christmas morning, and since we’d opened presents last night, we’d slept in. When we finally wandered into the kitchen, my parents were sitting there drinking coffee. My mother said, “What can I make you two for breakfast?”

With a grin, I said, “How about breakfast frybread tacos?”

“That’s a bit much. Don’t you think? We’re eating dinner at two at the Grants.”

“Okay. I guess a bowl of cereal will work.”

“Oatmeal?”

“That sounds good.”, Amy said. “I’ll help.”

Mom drove us crazy before we left for the Grant’s house. She was making a green bean casserole, a sweet potato casserole, and an apple pie to take over. And we had to smell them while they cooked.

We arrived at the Grants at about one-thirty and carried all the food in. The turkey had just come out of the oven, and the smells were wonderful. We helped set the table, and Amy's dad carved the turkey. And, we all sat down to a delicious dinner.

I noticed something on Bridget’s ring finger that wasn’t there yesterday. It wasn’t an engagement ring, but still, it was a fancy silver ring. I didn’t say anything but waited for Bridget’s to say something.

After dessert, we went into the den. The Grant’s had exchanged presents earlier, but there were other things under the tree. Amy and I placed four packages under the tree. Our parents had agreed years ago to not exchange presents.

We opened presents, Amy and I received some nice things. Mr. Grant was happy with his shirt and bolo tie. And, when Mrs. Grant saw her necklace, she was amazed. She was especially surprised when we told her the history behind it, and so was Bridget. Billy was also happy with what we’d gotten him.

There was still a package under the tree that I had snuck in there earlier. I had given Billy a heads up that we’d open that one last. Once everything else had been opened, I said, “Hey, Billy. There’s still a present under the tree.”

Billy went over to the tree, picked up the package, looked at the tag, and said, “Bridget, it for you.”

“For me? From who?”, Bridget asked.

As Billy handed Bridget the package, he said, “Here. Read the tag.”

She read out loud, “To: Bridget. A new special friend. From: Kai and Amy.”

Then Bridget looked at us, and said, “Kai and Amy, you didn’t have to get me anything. I did’t get anything for you.”

“Bridget.”, Amy said. “You did get us something. Your friendship. And, honey, we got you this because you are a new special friend.”

“What is it.”

“Open it and see.”

Bridget opened the present, took out the earrings, looked at them, and said, “They are so pretty.”

“Like them?”, I asked.

“No, I love them.”

“They were made by my uncle’s cousin who’s a silversmith. The stone is turquoise, and the metal is sterling silver.”

“I’ll cherish them forever.”

“They’ll go good with that ring on your finger.”, Amy said.

“Oh, that.”, Bridget said. She then took Billy’s arm, and said, “Bill gave it to me this morning. It’s a promise ring.”

“I thought it might be.”

I caught a smile on Amy’s mom’s face.

Bridget removed the earrings that she was wearing and put on the ones that Amy and I had given her.

Our parents went into the kitchen to get some coffee and left the four of us to talk. We chatted for a while, then Bridget asked, “You two always wear those identical necklaces. Where did you get them?”

“We were hiking in the mountains west of Taos, New Mexico, and found these stones on the ground.”, Amy told her. “Our friend, Naainish, the medicine man told us that they were meteorites and that they were special. And, that we should have them made into necklaces. We took them to a friend who’s a silversmith, and he made them into necklaces for us.”

“They are pretty. But, what makes them special?”

“Partially because of where we found the stones and that they are meteorites.”, I said. “The area where we found them is supposed to be a sacred place to the native people. And, I’ll tell you a secret that even Billy doesn’t know. I can’t wear Amy’s necklace, and she can’t wear mine.”

“Why?”, Bridget asked.

“We think it’s because the meteorites in Amy’s necklace are meant for her, and the ones in mine are meant for me.”

“So, I couldn’t wear either of them?”

“No.”

Amy took off here meteorite necklace and handed it to Bridget. Bridget tried to open the clasp to put it on, and it wouldn’t open. She gave the necklace back to Amy. Amy opened the clasp and put the necklace back on.

Bridget looked at Amy, and said, “Ay, that is strange.”

Billy asked, “Can I try?”

As I took my necklace off and handed it to Billy, I said, “Sure. Here.”

He tried to open the clasp, and couldn’t. Then he handed the necklace back to me, and I put it back on.

Then Bridget said, “And, you always wear them because they’re so special?”

“Yes. It’s something that we don’t understand yet. We may someday know, but right now we don’t. It may be a link to the Great Spirit.”, I said.

“The Great Spirit?”

“Yes, you believe in God, and the Native Americans feel the same way about the Great Spirit. We also believe that everything has spirits, even meteorites. Also, the hunters used to say a prayer to the spirit of the animal that they killed.”

“That is interesting, Kai.”, Bridget said.

“It is.”, Billy added. “I never knew that.”

I smiled, and said, “You learn something new every day.”

Then I said, “You both realize that if I didn’t feel good about either of you that we would have never told you anything about this sort of thing.”

“So, you feel good about us?”, Bridget asked.

“Yes, I’ve always felt good about Billy. And, as soon as I met you, I felt that you were a special person.”

“A special person?”

“Someone who is very good, and would understand the things that Amy and I have told you.”

“Thank you.”

I smiled and said, “You two just take care of each other.”

“I plan to do just that.”, Bill said.

“Any plans for the future?”, Amy asked.

Bill and Bridget looked at each other. Then Bill said, “We’ve talked about the future, and that’s one reason that I’m going to Scotland this summer. But, we also have decided to wait.”

I grinned, and said, “Just like we did.”

“No, we’re going to try and wait until we both graduate from college.”

I looked at Amy, and said, “Want to make a bet on it?”

“No.”, Amy said. “Besides I think we’d both bet on the same thing.”

“What’s that?”, Bridget asked.

“That you won’t make it until graduation.”

“We’re going to try.”

“So, did we. We made it till the summer between our freshman and sophomore years.”

“Yeah.”, Billy said. “But, you knew each other for a long time before that.”

“Did you forget that we were apart for the four years of high school.”, Amy said.

“I forgot about that.”

“I thought so.”

At about nine, our parents walked into the den, and my dad said, “Are you guys ready to call it a night? I have to go to work tomorrow.”

“Sure pop.”, I said.

“Kai! Please. Anything but pop.”

“Sorry. Sure dad, we can go anytime.

Then I said, “Mom and dad Grant, thank you for everything. That was a great meal, and the presents were wonderful.”

“You are more than welcome, honey.”, Amy’s mother said. “You’re here until the twenty-eighth aren’t you?”

“Yes, we fly out early Thursday morning.”

“Good we’ll get to see more of you, and we’ll try to be at the airport to see you off.”

On the way home, I asked, “Mom, what do you think of Bridget?”

“I think that she’s a very nice girl.”, my mom said.

“So, do we. And, I think that Kai and I met our future sister-in-law.”

“That’s what Amy’s mother told us too. They’re delighted with her, and love having her around. Kai, honey, how do you feel about Bridget?”

“Mom.”, I said. “I feel really good about her, or we wouldn’t have told her some of the things we have.”

“So, she knows about Kai?”

“Yes, the other night we told her the story of Tom, Tammy, and Kai.”

“And, she accepted it?”

“Without batting an eye.”

“Mom.”, Amy said. “When Kai feels good about someone, and we tell them about her there has never been any problem.”

“Just be careful.” my dad said. “There may be a first time that you’re wrong.”

“I know dad.”, I said. “I’d never come right out and tell anyone anything about me the first time I meet them. I feel them out first.”

“Okay. Just be careful.”

“We will dad.”, Amy said.

~o~O~o~

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