Word Count 476
Not in This House
By Sally Madison
Mavis was in the den tending her sewing when Johnny came crashing into the room. “Mama, have there been any King Johnnys, afor? George is talkin’ at school that we’re related to King George, just ‘cause his name is George.”
“I don’t recall a King John, but there were several Pope Johns. We are not related to King George, nor any Pope, but we do have royalty in our blood. My mama told me that her great great grandmamma was a countess. In fact I have something here that once belonged to her.” She reached into the secret compartment of her sewing stool and pulled out the treasure. “This is truly special,” she explained. “Someday, I will be giving it to Baby Emily,” as she rocked the cradle at her feet, with her toe.
“What’s so special about a marble bag with beads on it?” Johnny said unimpressed, as George entered the room. “Mama says that Pope John is more impor’ant than King George.”
“I’ll show you who’s more impor’ant,” said George, with fists poised for a boxing match.
“Boys, stop that this minute. I won’t have brother fightin’ brother in this house. There is enough blood shed outside of this house. In this family we settle our difference with a game of checkers. Sit right down here, and do your battling on the checker board,” she insisted.
A few minutes later they heard thundering foot steps on the porch. “Pa’s home!” the boys exclaimed running to the door, as their father reached the den. “What happened, Pa?’ as they backed up, studying his bloody broken face. “I tell you Mavis, it’s bad out there. All ove’ the Kansas Territory, battles are being fought in the streets. This business about the Union telling us what to do with our property is wrong. The fellas were talking, so I tried to explain my position and b’fore I knew it, there was fighting everywhere. I won’t be surprised if this country doesn’t split right in two, maybe even a war.”
“If there is to be a war, Pa, then we want to be soldiers too,” the boys insisted.
“Well boys, if there is to be a war around her’, then you best be prepared. Let’s go out to the barn and we’ll figure out what we should do,” taking the boys away from Mavis who was clearly getting upset.
Mavis gently fingered the delicate bag in her hand. She gazed inside at the jewels that her mother had left her, keepsakes from the clandestine Morgan family business. They were as beautiful, as well as, precious and priceless. One of the black pearls had come loose. She turned the fragile bag inside out and added a stitch or two, to make it secure, then, she tucked bag with the jewels back into her sewing stool, as safe as ever.