My little sisters wanted to take me to lunch for my birthday, but it would have to be a day early due to scheduling conflicts. They took me to a seldom-visited place that was on a lake, with sand on the outer edges and rocks in the middle. We studied the rocks and found some quite interesting ones that we placed on a ledge with the plan to each take the most interesting one home for a memory keepsake.

I wasn’t sure it was allowed but I was perfectly willing to pay a dollar a rock if I had to. Considering how much our bill came to though, I should think we were covered. Then we hunted for skipping stones and did our best to make them sail across the water, but they sunk like an anchor every time.

Then it happened. A man came over and looked at our stash on the ledge and said, “Collecting rocks are we?”

I looked at his khaki shorts, white shirt and lanyard hanging around his neck and my heart sank. He must be the rock police. The last thing I needed was an arrest record. My first instinct was to befriend him but my brain stuttered as I tried to avoid lying. It came out something like, “Well, we…aren’t sure…we’re… just thinking…” and that’s all I had until I got the idea to dazzle him away from the stash by asking him if he knew how to skip rocks. Indeed he did.

He very eagerly hopped down off the ledge, scooped up some round ones and began his lessons. He actually had his feet (sandals and all) in the water while bending low and skimming them perfectly. One sister mastered it. I was not that sister. I was working my way back to the ledge to hide our stash but he came back over and sat there, chatting and typing things into his phone. What was he typing? How much trouble were we in?

I finally dared to read his lanyard, which contained his name and a number. I questioned what I was reading and he explained that he was in that town for a reunion. Duh. You’d think I would have relaxed but he continued to type into his phone. Was he texting 911 or was he stealing our identities, being as one of my sisters was a little too eager to share where we were from, what our names were and that it was almost my birthday. She also thought he was hitting on me but apparently I’m so old I missed the signals. Now I’m worried I led him on by encouraging him away from our possibly forbidden stash. Either way, he didn’t seem to want to leave.

So we did. We pocketed our rocks and hopped in the car. We’re able to laugh about it now — at least until the charge cards arrive and we find unfamiliar purchases. But we have his information, too. We know his name, occupation and the city and state he lives in. Plus, we can identify him in a lineup as long as they line the men up in front of water and tell them to skip rocks.

The next day I decided to low-key my actual birthday up in the sewing room. I came downstairs and all my favorite peeps were there, with food and presents. The hubby had thrown me a surprise party. First ever! I was so happy I didn’t know what to do with myself, especially since they were all doing the cooking.

Trish brought me a plant in an interesting pot and she seemed to be selling me on it even though I loved it. Later she admitted that it wasn’t a flowerpot. It had been a gnome cookie jar but she broke the top (which was his hat) while wrapping it. So she improvised.  

Jodie made an awesome chocolate cake that I just wanted to plop my face into. When I cut the cake I forgot to make a wish but I think that’s because I already had everything I needed right there. I had such a wonderful time and I can still hear the laughter echoing through the house each time I think back on the day.

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