3 Precious stones

I used to love to polish precious stones when I was a little boy.
I had a tumbler kit that came with various grades of grit used in several phases to smooth and polish the rough stones to a glass-like shine.
From what I recall it took something like 6 years from start to finish to polish these bad boys.

Wait a minute.

Did I say 6 years?

I meant to say 6 days.

I guess maybe it felt like 6 years.

I did nothing interesting or creative with the stones afterwards except look at them.
At some point I’m sure I thought, jeez, this is kind of stupid.
They’re just shiny rocks.

The kit came with an assortment of hardware/metal settings to make jewelry; bracelets, pendants/necklaces and earrings—all you’d ever need to become a juvenile jeweler.
I decided that my mother needed a new pair of earrings and I was just the guy to make that happen.
Not any old pair, mind you, these suckers had to sing ‘Hallelujah’!
I picked out two of the best stones from the batch.
They were shiny as hell and had all kinds of wicked cool markings on them.

They were perfect.

Although it never occurred to me that they weighed in at approximately 4 ounces a piece.

What the hell if they were heavy . . . damn they were purrty.
I took my time and carefully placed the stones into the settings using the super duper hydraulic cement that came in this really cool tiny tube.
They came out abso-freeekin-lutely perfect.
I want to say I gave them to her on Mother’s Day of that year.

I was so excited because I knew she’d love them.
The fact that the weight of the shimmering boulders would stretch her ears into a ghastly inverted Vulcan shape was of no concern to me.
I made them with my own two hands, for cripes sake.

She opened the little box I’d put them in, the glistening jewels resting on a soft bed of cotton and looked at me and smiled.

“Oh, these are beautiful, Michael.”

I was beaming.

“But do you like them?” I asked.

“I do. I really do.”

“Put ‘em on.” I said.

“Now?” She asked.

I nodded my head in the affirmative.

“I’ll tell you what,” she said, “I’ll wear these Saturday night when I go out with your father. Ok?”

And she did wear them.
I can see her wearing them.


Many years later she told me they made it as far as the passenger seat of the car.
She said they were too painful and heavy to wear and that they hurt her neck.
I knew she was exaggerating but we had one hell of a laugh.
After all these years, it’s still hard to forget the kind of woman she was and the lengths she would go to make my sister and me happy.


When I was cleaning out their house before we sold it my wife found the earrings upstairs sitting silently in my mother’s dusty jewelry box.

“What the heck are these?” She asked, laughing.
{and she did say ‘heck’, my wife is an absolute angel}

“They’re earrings,” I said, “my mother’s favorite earrings.”

In my heart of hearts, I knew my answer was very close to the naked truth.
I’ve since gotten out of the jewelry business but I’m still working on
three precious stones.





17 thoughts on “3 Precious stones

  1. amazing the things parents do isn’t it? 🙂 i can remember my mum actually wearing (for a full day out) a macaroni necklace i made her in school when i was about 4 or 5….she wore it like it was made of the most precious diamonds in the world….
    i have no doubt you’ve done similar yourself at some point?

    My daughters never made me anything to wear.
    I think dad’s are a bit different in that area.
    Had they made something, sure, I would have worn it. {I think}


  2. I remember taking a pottery class when I was a kid. I made the most hideous looking ashtray complete with all the irregularities of my fingerprints. I gave it to my mom- She loved it!
    She wasn’t even a smoker-I think she put coins in it.
    It’s still around after all these years.
    Some things never get thrown out.
    I have several things that our girls have made that I will never throw away either.
    That’s just a “mom” thing, I guess.

    It is a ‘mom’ thing alright. I have some letters and notes from the girls that I’ve saved.
    One was from Hannah to Jenna that said, “Come to my room so we can dance.”
    I thought that was just wonderful.


  3. Michael,
    My youngest son many years ago made me a necklace for xmas,,,made from paper clips and each one wrapped in foil. His eyes glistened as he gave it to me. I put it on and within 5 minutes got a huge rash from the foil, whereby I took it off and put it on the kitchen counter as I cooked our xmas meal.

    When he noticed I wasn’t wearing it, he insisted I wear it, so I did, all day long, never mind the rash was so bad I had water blisters. That was 25 years ago and I still have the (torture device) I mean necklace.
    Those are the best gifts a mother can get, something lovingly made with their hands.
    Gifts from the heart.

    Why does this not surprise me about you, Matty? 😉
    Very cool that you wore it all day.
    That is true love.


  4. Nothing that pleases a parent more than a gift from the heart, not something bought but something made with a childs hands. I’m sure she treasured them m.. I’m sorry you didn’t hold on to them I could have used em… on a fishing trip…j/k 😉

    Yeah, you could have caught a few nice and fat striped bass with these ‘line weights’…8-)


  5. I love that she kept them forever. My kids make me things too. I wear them the same way…until they’re out of sight. 🙂 Whatever it takes to make them happy.

    ‘Keep them happy’

    It’s really the only way, isn’t it?


  6. Am I at the right place? It looks different over here. 😉
    That was a very sweet story.

    Oh, yes, it does look different.
    I like the red/black thing. At least for now.


  7. I wonder if I’ve just gotten to know you too well…by the third paragraph I started getting flashes of huge earrings being worn by a kind lady. LOL. What a dear woman. Sweet story, hon. Precious.

    You do know me well.
    Lord knows in many ways you knew my mother through me.
    Kind of cool, I think.
    And yeah, she was dear.


  8. love the new theme….looks good 🙂

    It almost reminded me of yours in some small way.
    I just thought I’d mix it up a bit.
    My wife isn’t too jazzed with the red/black thing but hey, she can get her own blog if she wants, right?
    {I’m going to pay for that last comment}


  9. i have a new theme coming once kel gets back…time for a change…and don’t feel too bad, i tell mark the same when he gives me grief about the nook and i pay too..perhpas we could have some jackets made for the club??? 🙂

    Or hats. . .


  10. Dito, dito and dito.
    On a reader’s note, just loved the setup of this post.
    And the last line,
    it’s perfect.

    Thanks, SP.
    The last line was really an afterthought.
    The post was written and being put into the computer when I decided to go that way.
    Glad you liked it.


  11. Mike,
    Bill read me the story about your mom when we talked tonight. I could hear your mom’s voice saying those” sweet mom words” to you and Maureen.
    I also remember making rock jewelry with my students…. and the 6 days of “rolling rock” music the machine made in the back of the classroom. It was all worth it when they got to take home those treasures for mom!
    Your mom was a special woman. I so often remember stopping by the house for a visit and always being so welcomed and cared for by mom’s cousin, Ginny!
    Thanks so much for sharing those touching moments. It’s amazing how many of those “little things” mean so much!

    Clare T.

    What a wonderful comment to wake up to!
    It’s so nice to hear from you Clare. It’s been years hasn’t it?
    It makes me happy that you can ‘hear’ my mother as you read this. I can too.
    Please, please, please stop by again. I love hearing from long time friends and family.
    Take care.


  12. *sniff* How sweet. I love being a mom for that very reason. I totally rocked a macaroni necklace that my daughter made me, I wore it for days, because she made it for ME.

    Macaroni necklaces rule. {adult comment removed} 😉


  13. Thats a beautiful story Michael..
    You would have loved the beach we were at the other day. No precious stones but some of the rocks and pebbles were simply gorgeous….

    Any pictures?


  14. that is a great story. it’s so cool that she kept them but of course she did!! my kids have made and given me all kinds of cool stuff and i keep it all!!

    It’s a Mom thing.
    I just know it and that is so incredibly cool.
    Thanks, Reg.


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