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Kansas City MO 64131





Cindy Maddera

I was rummaging around in the front pocket of my purse looking for the charging adapter for my iPencil. Have you guys seen that thing? It's about the size of a Tic-Tac. I am amazed I haven't swallowed it. Any way, my fingers kept brushing across tiny things that could or could not have been my charging adapter. In order to get those things out of the way, I just pulled a handful of crap out of the pocket. Most of that crap turned out to be rocks; three of them to be specific. I held them in the palm of my hand trying to remember what beach I'd picked them up from. Last year I stood in the spot where the sun first touches the US in the mornings. I also stood in the last spot the sun touches before it goes down on the continental US. Those rocks could have come from New York, Maine, California or even Wisconsin. 

I bet the largest one came from Wisconsin. It is flat and smooth. It fits perfectly in the hollow of my palm. I am sure I picked it up with the intention of skipping it across Lake Superior. At the last minute I held onto it because I found the cool, smooth feel of the stone to be soothing to rub with my thumb. I took a picture of the rocks in the palm of my hand and my mother left a comment about how she still has pebbles in the pocket of her raincoat. She had picked them up off of Dingle Beach when we were in Ireland. Apparently my pebble collection is a genetically inherited trait. I am more likely to look down at the beach under my feet than out to sea. I will fill my pockets and the pockets of those walking with me with rocks and bits of shells. It has always been this way.

As a child, the discovery of an interesting rock was equivalent to discovering buried treasure. It didn't take much to determine a rock to be interesting either. A specific shape. A sparkly quality. A fleck of gold here or a fleck of silver there. Most rocks were special. Most rocks are special. I think one of our favorite family travel stories was the time we found a bucket of rocks at our campsite in Colorado. It was like we had discovered the Holy Grail and the Ark of the Covenant...IN A BUCKET! The rocks from that bucket later became decorative garden rocks, terrarium rocks, show-and-tell rocks and even pet rocks (googly eyes make all things funny). There are bags of rocks stashed in the toy cubbies now. I brought back rocks from the Dakotas for the Cabbage. I have brought back rocks from different places for Katrina. The best time I had at Deana Rose Children's Farm with the Cabbage was sifting through a bag of dirt for pretty stones. I think there's a large granite rock in the car right now. 

There is a moment, a line really, when all the kids are trick-or-treating in It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown where a kid looks into his treat bag and says "I got a rock." Except he says it in a disappointed, dejected way. It is probably my favorite line and some times I say it in reference to receiving something unexpected and slightly unwanted. Now that I think about it, now that I look at the rocks I carry around in my purse, maybe "I got a rock" is something I should say with joy.