Thursday, August 13, 2009

Passing The Torch!

My son called. He had just asked his girlfriend Kate to marry him and he didn't want me to read it on Facebook before he had a chance to share the good news with his family.

Welcome Kate, and your genealogy, to our family. We love you and know you're going to fit right in with the rest of the truly unique (read slightly off kilter) people on our family tree.

After the call I did what I'm sure most Mothers do in this situation. I sat back, put my feet up, had a cup of tea and reflected on the little boy I raised. Not the man he has become, rather the child who made every day an adventure.

Like the afternoon I came home from work and found Raymond and Ken (his best friend) waiting for me in the driveway. They swarmed the car before I could get my door open. They were talking over each other and so fast the only words I could make out were "dead body."

"Alright," I raised my voice. "Slow down. I can't understand a thing you're saying." I herded the excitement into the house and attempted to get to the bottom of what looked as if two twelve year olds were about to have a coronary.

They tried to sit still, but for the most part it didn't work. The story was punctuated by the two of them popping up and down like that annoying game at Chuck E. Cheese. The story, as they told it, was that they had found a dead body in a green garbage bag just over the hill. They wanted me to come look in the bag before we called the police. Just in case. To all mothers of sons I'm sure you know why I went to look in the bag before calling the police.

I changed into my best investigative jeans and loaded the car with the two not quite under control twelve year olds. We lived at the top of the mountain. The bag with the dead body was apparently hanging off the mountain just below our house on a dirt road. The boys directed me to the spot.

I parked the car at the side of the road, got out and walked to the edge. I leaned over and looked down. It was quite a drop, but there was the green garbage bag. Just where the boys had said it would be. A tree was jutting out from the side of the mountain and the bag was under one of the branches.

I told the boys to stay put while I slid down the hill to the tree. I climbed out on the tree branch and hung upside down over the bag. The smell was disgusting, disgusting! The boys and I were going to have a conversation when we got home as to what they were doing down the mountain and up a tree in the first place.

I ripped a hole in the bag and looked inside. There was a body in there. A decomposing body. I could see a section of the skull and other bones. But I couldn't tell if it was a human body, never having seen a decomposing human body before. And I was not going to take anything out of that bag. I was not going to touch the body or drag part of it out of the bag. This was long before CSI and the knowledge by the general public of destroying evidence. I wasn't going to touch it because it was disgusting not because I might destroy evidence!

I shinnied back down the branch, up the tree, and climbed the mountain to the waiting boys.

"Is it a dead body? Is it a dead body? Is it a dead body?" greeted me. "Yes, it's dead." I answered. "I just don't know what kind of body it is. We'll call Dad. He'll know a dead human body when he sees one. If it is one."

As this was BCP, before cell phones, we drove back to the house to get in touch with my husband. He was highly skeptical. While I was talking with Mr. Maven the boys had gotten two mixing spoons from the dishwasher and were practicing interviewing each other for the TV cameras.

Disappointment soon quelled the excitement when it was determined the dead body was a deer that had probably been poached, the carcass shoved in a green garbage bag, and the bag dumped over the little used dirt road down the mountain. (Only a twelve year old boy could be disappointed the dead body wasn't human.) This was followed by the appropriate discussions and admonitions regarding the boys' conduct.

So Kate, I hope the two of you are lucky enough to have a son just like Raymond. Every day will be an adventure and you strike me as the kind of woman who will slide down the mountain, up the tree, out on the branch, and open the bag. Even when you don't quite buy the story.


Blogger Thomas MacEntee said...

Congratulations fM! This is great news.

August 13, 2009 at 4:16 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth O'Neal said...


August 13, 2009 at 4:44 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

Congrats! I hope they get a boy just like him. I can't imagine my mother climbing anywhere to poke at the bag - she would have called the cops! You were an awfully brave mom. I can just picture the disappointed faces...was this before or after the movie "Stand by Me" came out?

What's Past is Prologue

August 13, 2009 at 5:00 PM  
Blogger Kathryn Doyle said...

Fantastic news! I know Kate appreciates what a wonderful mother-in-law she is getting. Congratulations to all of you. When's the wedding?!

August 13, 2009 at 6:05 PM  
Blogger Family Curator said...

A son in a million to call Mom before Facebook! Congratulations to all of you.

August 13, 2009 at 6:21 PM  
Blogger Greta Koehl said...

Congratulations. I love the story of the dead body. The kind of adventure my daughters would love to have had.

August 13, 2009 at 6:40 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Thank you all. As Raymond is my only son this will be my only daughter-in-law. I promise to stay out of their lives unless invited and even then I will be careful.

Mr. Maven sent our son an ahnentafel report showing Raymond his name as the end of the road. The only son of an only son. No pressure.

The wedding will be next year during a time when we can get over the four mountain passes between us. Snoqualmie, Fourth of July, Lookout, and Rye Grass.

Raymond and Ken had their adventure before "Stand By Me" and are certain they got their plot line from the two of them.

I am so very pleased!


August 13, 2009 at 7:31 PM  
Blogger Amanda E. Perrine said...

Congratulations! Enjoy helping plan the wedding!

August 13, 2009 at 8:36 PM  
Blogger Randy Seaver said...

Congratulations. You've done a good job. Enjoy the engagement and wedding.

Is that the only time that he went off on a tangent like that? Funny you should remember that story.

Hugs -- Randy

August 13, 2009 at 8:55 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Thank you Amanda, it will be a Montana marriage. I hope they'll ask, but if not I'll just enjoy the whole thing.

Thanks Randy! There are so many more stories about Raymond and Ken. This one is the most famous in our family. Hanging upside down in a tree staring at maggots and gagging is hard to forget.


August 13, 2009 at 9:07 PM  
Blogger Bill West said...

Congratulations to your whole family. I'm sure you'll be a
great mother in law!
And thanks for making me smile with that story!


August 14, 2009 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger Nikki - Notes of Life said...

What a story! Congratulations to your son and his wife-to-be, you must be over the moon :)

August 15, 2009 at 12:26 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


I'm glad it made you smile. Most people ask why I didn't just call the police, but little boys with vivid imaginations always give me pause.

I do hope I'm a great mother-in-law, I've never done it before.


August 15, 2009 at 9:10 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

For a daughter-in-law that is.

August 15, 2009 at 9:22 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


I am over the moon. Kate is lovely and Raymond is very lucky.


August 15, 2009 at 9:26 PM  
Blogger Mary said...

Congratulations on the new graft to your tree!

Do all parents wish children on their children that were "just like them"? I know I did, and I am enjoying watching my granddaughter confound her mother. It is one of the real rewards life grants us.

All the best!

August 16, 2009 at 4:20 AM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Hi Mary:

Yes we all wish and yes it is our reward!

I can't wait for mine.


August 16, 2009 at 3:42 PM  
Blogger Tracy said...

Congratulations to the newly engaged couple and their soon-to-be in-laws. I enjoyed this story greatly. I'm just sure my husband and your son would have gotten along just fine!

August 17, 2009 at 8:57 AM  

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