“You’ll never get me to tell you where the gold is hidden!”
I watched Patrick chase his young sister Mary through the garden with their foam swords held high. Playing pirates had been a favorite pastime for several days now, and frankly, I was getting tired of the “ahoy matey” language that permeated every conversation with them.
Mary ran into the house and through the kitchen with Patrick close behind her. He stopped near the sink where I was filling my watering can and threw his sword on the floor. He put his arms around my hips and laid his head against my side.
“Mom, Mary hid our pirate gold and she won’t tell me where it is!”
“What pirate gold? Where did you get pirate gold?” I had no recollection of buying them any toy gold coins, just the foam swords. Patrick looked up at me sheepishly.
“We…..we found it. By some rocks near the cove. We never told you because we wanted them and we was afraid you’d made us find the owner and give them back.”
“Yes, you should have found the little boy or little girl who lost their toys! What if someone found your toy and took it for themselves! How would you feel?”
“No, mom, it’s some real pirate gold! Really!”
“Now I know you didn’t find real gold, sweetie. Don’t lie to momma, it isn’t nice.”
“I’m not lying! MARY!!! MARY!!!!”
At her brother’s yelling Mary came bounding into the room singing “I have it I have it I have it.”
“Hey mom doesn’t think the gold is real. Tell her it’s real, then tell me where it is!”
“WE WEREN’T GONNA TELL!!!!”
“If you hadn’t hid it, I wouldn’t have to tell!”
Mary turned her bright blue eyes at me and said, “It IS real and I don’t have to tell him where it is. He teased me, so I hid it. It’s mine now.”
“Now BOTH of you are lying! Mary Elizabeth tell me where the toy coins are.”
“Nuh huh! I’m not lying! They’re in my room! I’ll show you!”
She ran out of the room and up the staircase leading to their bedrooms. I was stoking Patrick’s hair and wondering how I was going to find who the toy coins belonged to so my children will learn the lesson that you just can’t take things that do not belong to you. Suddenly, I heard the clatter of something spilling down the staircase. I went to make sure Mary hadn’t fallen also, and saw hundreds of gold coins laid haphazardly down the steps as Mary sat on the top stair nearly in tears holding a dirty burlap bag with a large hole ripped in the side.
“See mom? I didn’t lie! Sorry my bag broke. I’ll pick them up.”
My kids didn’t lie. I picked up a coin that was heavier than plastic and had strange triangle markings on it. There were real gold pieces lying at my feet and strewn across my steps. I felt ashamed for not listening to my children, and tried to make amends with them by saying, “I can’t believe I didn’t see that coming.”