tagRomanceJewel, The Family Gem

Jewel, The Family Gem


Hi, there. How are you? How's the family you ask? Well, a while back, I was quite surprised when I got a visit from a pretty young lady. It was my stepsister, cousin Jewel Price. What the Hell, she's just like one of the family. At least, that's the way I thought of her. I hadn't seen her in quite a while.

She brought the news that she had gotten a divorce from her husband, Tom. It seems that he had been an utter failure, quit working and just hung around the house, doing nothing, so she sued. Just dropped him like a day old turkey sushi roll. Happily, I was informed that she got the single-wide, the '92 Ford pickup, both hound dogs and the 12 guage. She really came out ahead on that deal! Jewel is not only a woman of means now, but she truly is "Priceless".

She always was a favorite of mine and we got along very well together as we grew up. Even though she was quite a bit younger than me, she was never a pest, bothering me for things. Always a quick learner, she was never a problem after I tied her up to a tree a few times. I think the last time, in the spring, when I tied her to a tree, mussed up her hair and left her while the birds took about half of her hair to make nests, was the turning point. A good brushing pretty well covered the bald spot until it grew back. My stepmother, aunt Carla, unlike most stepmothers, treated me as though I was her own son and my life, growing up, was good. The beating scars disappeared in a few years.

Previously, I never had many playmates as we lived at the edge of town, with few neighbors, so when I had a new stepsister, I looked forward to having a companion and playmate. Jewel filled that bill very well. As we got older, it was interesting to see her fill jeans and bras, too.

Jewel was very much a tomboy as she tended to copy whatever I did, so if I climbed a tree, she would try, too. She never seemed to have too many thoughts about the softer side of feminine life until she got to high school. There, she discovered boys and her world changed forever. A beautiful child, Jewel became even prettier as she matured.

Then she met Tom Price and it was as though she was hit by a brick. He was IT! She was 20 and he was 23 at the time, with a promising future ahead of him, it seemed. Most everyone in the family liked him and thought his career plan was a good one. There were other factors in his favor, too. They got married. And BEFORE having a baby. Not necessarily a commanding requisite in families around here. We all were sure those were a couple of big pluses.

He had spent a lot of time thinking things out and decided on a firm plan. This country was going more and more into metric, in accordance with past pacts with the rest of the industrialized world which was on the metric system. Small things, such as nuts and bolts were already well into the process of going metric, necessitating the purchase of metric wrenches. Tom thought bigger. Much bigger.

He pictured in his mind of trees being cut down and made into metric lumber. He had already seen pipes, of all sizes, manufactured with many dimensions. Tom was nothing if not a visionary. He knew that if you were going to put a metric bolt through something, it had to have a metric hole. That was already covered by many manufacturers. However, if one were to lay some metric drainage pipes, one would need a metric sized trench. It was a surety that you would have to have a metric shovel to dig a metric trench for the metric pipe. Wow, a whole new world dawned.

If you cut a tree down to make metric lumber, you would need metric axes and metric saws to do the job right. And what about further along in the job? As you assembled the framework of a house or other project, wouldn't you need a metric hammer to drive the metric nails into the metric lumber? Of course! The list was endless.

In wiring up a metric house, wouldn't you need metric wire cutters to cut the wire to the proper length? Then there's a need for metric screwdrivers to install, or remove, metric screws. Again, of course! As all this boundless discovery sank into his mind, he was eager to get started and what better way to proceed than with a bright helpmeet.

Jewel came into his mind immediately and he began to woo her with all his might. Well, as you already know, he succeeded. They were duly married in a nice ceremony by a cluster of Elvi in Las Vegas. It was a memorable happening with the usual events. Her mother cried, her stepfather, my dad, happily slapped the groom on his back and I didn't snitch about her past. A handkerchief took care of her mother, an emergency room took care of the shoulder dislocation and I took care of the wedding bill. As I said, a good time was had by all. Now they could start out to set the manufacturing world on fire.

Tom drew up a comprehensive list of all the tools he perceived people would need when the counrty made a complete switch to metric. It seemed endless. He calculated that when the change was complete, even the dust created by manufacturing would be metric and would require a metric broom, and dust pan, to sweep it up. Oh, my! To the best of his knowledge, many of these things had never been thought of, even in Europe, which had been metric since almost the beginning. One would have to make notes with a metric pencil on metric paper. Great Jehosephat! What a windfall.

Tom put every dime he owned into having proper plans drawn up for the tools he was sure the world would need. He traveled the country looking for a manufacturer for his products, far and wide, up and down, east and west, north and south. Thoroughly. Very thoroughly. To no avail. All he received for his troubles was laughter. A lot of giggles, guffaws and outright laughs.

The utter collapse of his dreams killed his spirit and all he could was mope, sulk and hang the about the house, the neat, cozy aforementioned single-wide house trailer they had purchased when they were married. He no longer had an interest in the tasty food Jewel would cook for him. He even lost interest in grits, his all-time favorite food. Then when all seemed blackest, Jewel divorced him and had him evicted. Tom was pushed out into the world with little more than a pair of worn jeans and a pair of well used suspenders. This finally forced him into the working world where he later became an average used car salesman at the peak of his talent.

Jewel, however, blossomed with her newfound freedom and became the best known lady bondsman in eastern West Virginia. She even achieved fame in an article and front page picture, in the Jailbird News, an important periodical in the law enforcment circles. She sent copies to all the family members and we are quite proud of her. I, personnaly, always knew she would do well when she grew up, it was in her 501s. Another one of our many family success stories.

Jewel, however, felt unfulfilled. Certainly unfilled as it was lonely up there at the top. She missed having a man in the house. She missed having a man to talk with. What the Hell, she missed a man in the bedroom.

Unfortunately, most of the men she encountered were ones who had been arrested for various crimes, from stealing chickens to stealing fortunes. She just wanted one that would steal her heart. That wasn't even a misdemeanor, let alone a felony.

Then she met Bill. Well really, he wasn't Just Plain Bill, he was Bill Hersher, the elected sheriff of Huckleberry County. Technically, in our part of the country, he was the "High Sheriff", one of a little over a hundred in our state. One for every county, you know. All sheriffs, pretty much everywhere are the highest elected police official in the state in which they reside. Except for a couple of counties in Georgia that is, where there is still a "Boss Hogg" type of county government, a la the old TV series.

But I digress. Although Bill was over a thousand miles from the West, he wore cowboy boots, jeans and a tan ten-gallon hat with a wide brim. As a kid, growing up, he had watched a lot of B grade Westerns and had absorbed the dress as well as the moral codes of the various sheriff good guys depicted. It became his goal in life to be one.

He was a little taller than average at 5'11", slender, tanned and muscled. He was invariably polite and soft talking, after all he was a politician as well as a law enforcer. Smooth and hard. He and his deputies arrested people, attorneys prosecuted and defended and judges adjudicated as well as presided over the court proceedings. All as it should be.

After the arrest there is an arraignment before a judge to see if the defendant could be released, perhaps on a bond, or held for the main trial held later. That's where Jewel came in. She would put up a bond, for a fee, so that the accused could go home, be with their family and work for a living until the trial. In spite of her misjudgment of a husband, she knew most everyone for several counties around and so knew who she could trust and who might try to skip bond and attempt to avoid the trial. That fee is what made her well-to-do and retaliation if someone tried to skip is what made her feared. She was even known to hunt the latter down using the hounds and the 12 gauge. Fearsome. Awesome, even, since she was a very pretty, average sized blonde knockout. When she set a goal, she stayed focused until that goal was met.

Speaking of meeting, she often met sheriff Hersher in the course of her work. She was 28. He was 32. She was single. So was he, having been divorced several years ago because he was working long hours as a deputy solving crimes sorta ignoring the little lady at home. Truth be, she was no longer "the little lady". Too many RCs and Moon Pies following fried everything for meals had rendered her corpulent. Some even pondered the idea that if rendered, she would possibly yield a hundred pounds of lard. Sheriff Bill went on a diet and lost several hundred pounds of ugly fat- he divorced Maybelle Hersher and never looked back.

He did look twice at my stepsister, cousin Jewel. Every time she came by to interview a prisoner or to present a judges release at the jail to let a prisoner out temporarily, he never missed a chance to see her. If he could think up an excuse, he would exchange small talk with her. As times went on, the talks became more personal until he asked her to accompany him to a Democratic rally and barbeque. Those are big deals in our part of the country. Not a formal affair, but important none the less. An excellent chance to meet folks and press the flesh, or shake hands with the constituents whose votes kept him in office.

In reality, all he wanted was to press the flesh of Jewel. After a few exploratory presses, it turned out that she liked the idea, too. It had seemed a long, wrinkledy dry spell since the aforementioned Price and she needed pressing, indeed. He asked if she wanted to get married, or something. She coyly replied that they would get married or nothing. With that reward held out there, Bill proposed.

It was a big wedding, held at the United Church of the Perpetual Handout in Hollers Grove and the reception was catered by Sue's Sip and Sup Café. The bride not only gave me a kiss, she let me surreptitiously cop a feel. After all, we had grown up together and had been close, once....or twice, but who's counting.

For the honeymoon, they went to the Motel 7.50 in Grinders Switch in Moonrake county. They didn't set foot out of there for two weeks. A truly marathon honeymoon. I later learned they had stashed several cases of MREs in the room before the wedding ceremony so they wouldn't have to come up for air, as it were. The first birth came 9 months later, twins, a redheaded boy and a blonde girl. When I arrived at the hospital, a few hours later, they were discussing names. Pete and Repete seemed to be winning.

It's time for me to go home and get some sleep, as I have to get up early tomorrow morning. I'll see you later and bring you up to date on my favorite relative, my stepsister, cousin Jewel.

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