Summary:Dotty remember's Amanda's father.
Rating:G + T(might need 1 tissue)
Time Frame: Most likely between 'Vigilante Mothers', and 'A Lovely Little Affair '- but it doesn't really matter.
Disclaimer:The characters of the below story belong to Warner Brothers and Shoot the Moon Enterprises. I only borrowed them so I could share my thoughts with my smk friends. The story belongs to the author.
"Mother! Help!" Amanda cried out urgently, as she stretched up on tiptoes, using both hands to keep a heavy trunk from falling on top of her. "Mother! Hurry!"
"For goodness sake, Amanda. ," exclaimed Dotty quickly entering the garage in response to the cry for help. " What's going on?"
"Oh, Mother, thank God. This thing is gonna fall in a moment. Help me!" Trying to keep her balance, Amanda turned her head toward her mother. "I was trying to get the tent down for the boys camping trip and the shelf shifted. Hurry, this thing is really heavy."
Surveying the situation, Dotty quickly moved to her daughter's side. "Let's see if we can get it down to the floor without getting squished. It has to come down anyway to fix the shelf." Lifting her hands above her head underneath the box. She turned to Amanda. "Okay, on three, let it start to come down . . . gently. Be careful. I don't think either one of us needs a concussion right now. Ready . . . one . . . two . . . three!"
Trying to maintain her tenuous balance, Amanda loosened the pressure of her hands against the box. Letting it slide forward a bit. Moving back slightly, she allowed it to slide even further. Dotty's hands could now support her end of the box from underneath. Sliding her hands down, Amanda also supported the trunk underneath as they lifted it the rest of the way off the shelf. The weight of it hit their arms, and caused them to lower the box more quickly than they had anticipated. They barely managed to get their fingers out from underneath it before it hit the ground with a thud. "What's in this thing?" Amanda wanted to know. She gave a breathless laugh as she surveyed the old trunk. "It looks vaguely familiar."
Dusting off her hands Dotty also surveyed the trunk, a smile of remembrance lighting her face "It's your dads old fishing locker," she informed Amanda.. "You know, the one he kept up at the lake to stow all his old gear in." Dotty shook her head in wonder, enjoying seeing something left from her days with her husband. Kneeling down on the floor, she began working the latches on the trunk.
" Frank Dunklin found it when they sold the cottage several years back and dropped it off. Things were so hectic back then, what with your divorce and everything, that I had him store it in here and completely forgot about it, until now."
Slowly lifting the lid, Dotty couldn't stop her eyes from becoming a bit misty. It had been so long since Carl had died and yet here was another small piece of reminder of him sitting on the floor in front of her. She still missed him sometimes. She ran her hand gently around the edge of the box. "This was one of his favorite things." she told Amanda, her voice thick with emotion. "It was his foot locker during the war. He thought it befitting that it should be filled with fishing gear, said he would have rather been fishing than fighting any day." She laughed gently at the memory, as if she could still hear the voice of her late husband speaking and see the twinkle in his eyes.
Amanda knelt beside her mother with a warm smile on her face and together they looked into the trunk.
It was piled full, mostly with old clothes, wading boots, nets and fishing rods that had been broken down so they would fit in the box. "These were his favorite ones." Dotty spoke almost to herself as she picked up the rods and laid them on the floor beside her. "He always said they were lucky. I'll bet Philip and Jamie would like to have these," she finished, glancing up at Amanda.
"I'm sure they would," agreed Amanda, knowing that her sons would treasure anything of their grandfather's. She smiled gently seeing the emotions shining in her mother's eyes. One of her most treasured legacies from her parents had been their tremendous love for each other. Her childhood had been filled with love and laughter and warm hugs as their incredible enjoyment for life and in each other had spilled over onto her. Shaking off the vividness of the memories and allowing them to slide softly down into her soul, she turned back to the trunk. A couple of paperback books were thrown haphazardly to one side. Amanda reached down and carefully picked up one of them. "Zane Grey." She spoke the words with her own fond memories warming her voice. Picking up the other, she looked at the author's name. "Louis Amour," she shook her head with nostalgia. "Boy do these bring back memories."
Taking one of the books, Dotty ran her hands lovingly over it. "Your father couldn't read enough of these." She told Amanda, with a tiny laugh. "I think he had one or two tucked away in every room of the house."
They continued picking carefully through the trunk, sharing memories aloud as they carefully folded each article of clothing and brushed off each pair of boots. As they neared the bottom of the trunk, something caught Amanda's eye.
"What's this?" Amanda asked reaching down into the corner and pulling out a small paper bag that had been meticulously folded in half. It looked like it had something in it that had been tucked carefully away for safe keeping.
Looking up curiously, Dotty reached over and accepted the bag from Amanda's outstretched hand, only then reading the name of the store imprinted on the front. She smiled at some past memory. "I always wondered what happened to this. I must have searched the entire house looking for it." Glancing up at the ceiling, she spoke aloud as if speaking to her husband. "Boy, when you hide something, you really hide it!" She spoke the words with a touch of soft laughter tinging her voice, seemingly far away, her eyes misted over, love glowing from her face.
Watching her mother tenderly finger the bag, Amanda felt a wealth of love and admiration flow through her, along with a large amount of protectiveness. Her mother really was a very special person. She had come through so very much in her own life and yet she was always there, doing whatever she could to make life better for others. She had been Amanda's rock for so long.
"What's in it?" Amanda asked with quiet curiosity, staring down at the bag so lovingly held in Dotty's hands.
"What?" Dotty looked up, obviously struggling to emerge from her beautiful memories. "Oh! Your dad picked this up on that last trip we took to New York." She informed her daughter with a gentle knowing look. Lifting the package in her hands, she held it out toward Amanda. "Here."
Amanda, reached for the bag, sending her mother another inquisitive look. Opening it carefully, she reached in and pulled out a card with a small gift wrapped package attached to it. After briefly glancing at what she held in her hands, she lifted her eyes to her mothers, a disbelieving question shining there. Dotty had tears in her eyes now, but a warm smile filled them and tilted up the corners of her mouth. "Go ahead." She encouraged Amanda, nodding her head toward the package.
Amanda looked down at what she held, still not quite believing what she was seeing. Her eyes once again looked over into her mother's eyes, hesitant and unsure. Dotty was enjoying her reaction. "Go ahead, Amanda. It won't bite." She informed her daughter amused.
Looking back down at the package, Amanda carefully pulled the two items apart, feeling her own eyes mist over as she saw again, her fathers handwriting scrawled across the envelope. "Panda" Laying the gift gently on her lap, she carefully opened the card. It was a sweet- sixteen birthday card. The last card her father had ever bought for her. He had died three months before her sixteenth birthday.
Reading the verses about daddy's precious little girl turning sweet-sixteen, Amanda smiled gently. She could almost see her father standing there beside her, his eyes filled with warmth and amusement. How she missed him at that moment, almost as much as she had missed him when she had turned sixteen and he hadn't been there to share it.
She looked at what he had written in his own hand, at the bottom of the card, running her finger over the words. "Love Daddy. May your every dream come true." She didn't even try to stop the tear that escaped from her eye to slid silently down her cheek. Looking up at her mother, she noticed that Dotty also had tears in her eyes.
Quietly, she handed her mother the card. Reaching down, she picked up the gift with shaking hands and slowly, oh so carefully began to unwrap it. She carefully smoothed out the paper and folded it in half as if it were the most precious piece of paper in the world. She glanced up at her mother again, still hesitating.
Dotty tilted her head encouragingly toward the small box. Amanda gave her a slight, small smile and then swallowing, she slowly opened the box. Inside, nestled against a bed of velvet lay a platinum heart-shaped necklace, set with small diamonds. It sparkled up at her, making her catch her breath at the delicate beauty of it. She raised a tear streaked face toward Dotty. Her mother tears were also now freely running down her cheeks, but her smile was warm and understanding.
"He wanted you to have something really special for your sixteenth birthday." Dotty voice was almost a whisper, as emotion and memories clogged her throat. "He loved you so much and was so very proud of you. It was hard for him watching his little girl grow up. He picked that out himself. He knew that soon you'd be all grown up and he'd have to let you go, but he wanted you to have a piece of his heart to take with you."
With trembling fingers, Amanda lifted the pendant from the box, carefully unfolding the chain.
Dotty watched her daughter, all the love she held for her shining in her eyes. "He wanted to put that on you himself." She quietly informed her daughter. Amanda glanced up at her mother, noticing that she was struggling with her emotions. Holding out the necklace to Dotty, she smiled up at her with tear drenched eyes.
"Will you do it for him?" Amanda asked quietly.
Dotty took the necklace from Amanda's outstretched hands and opened the clasp. The two women moved toward each other, Amanda turning slightly so Dotty could place the necklace around her neck and fasten it. She felt the weight of the pendant as it settled against the hollow of her throat and reached up to caress it carefully, looking down as if she would be able to see it.
Dotty removed her hands and Amanda turned to once again look at her mother, who had eyes only for the pendant laying so snugly and beautifully against her daughter's skin.
Reaching out, she too gently traced the pattern of the heart, before meeting Amanda's eyes. "It looks beautiful on you" she voiced tenderly. "Your father knew it would. Just seeing you wear it brings back so many good memories. Your father was such a special part of my life and he loved you so very much."
Dotty allowed her eyes to roam over her daughter, starting at the necklace and then moving up to her eyes, then back down again. "Actually, I don't need to see that necklace to remember what a good heart he had," she smiled gently, with complete sincerity. "I see it shining out of your eyes every day."
Amanda reached over and wrapped her arms around her mother
and they gave each other a giant hug, filled with all the love and admiration
they felt not only for each other, but for the man who had been such an
important part of their lives.