Tadpole's Outdoor Blog

June 9, 2013


Filed under: Neal Murphy — Freddie Keel @ 5:53 am


Things were going quite well for our family back in 1964.  We were living on Evergreen Street in Bellaire, Texas, a suburb of Houston.  I was employed by Allstate Insurance Company in their new office in the Sharpstown area.  Clara was working for a doctor Cruce with offices located in the Heights area of Houston.  Our two children, Kay, age 5, and Doug, age 2, were a delight to both of us, most of the time.

While working for Dr. Cruce, Clara met a sweet lady who was a patient.  She lived in the third ward in Houston.  Her name was Mabel.  One day she told Clara that she needed a job as a maid. She convinced Clara that she could clean like a tornado, and cook like a chef.  Clara was interested.  After discussing the matter, we decided that we could give Mable a Saturday job, to see if we could afford her on a regular basis, and if she was really as good as she said.  Mable would ride the bus to our home on Saturday morning, but we would have to drive her back home in the afternoon.  The pact was made.

She lived up to her claims.  She cleaned and cooked quite well.  We were all happy.  One day our daughter, Kay, noticed that Mable was looking fondly at Clara’s lavender slip which she was folding.  She held it up to the light and noted the fancy lace around the bottom and top, but it seemed too small for her.  Our five-year-old asked Mabel if she wanted the slip, to which Mabel answered in the affirmative.  Kay then told Mabel that she could have her mom’s lavender slip.

A digression is needed here.  Clara’s mom had given her a beautiful lavender dress for mother’s day the year before.  It was rather expensive and sheer.  Clara decided that a lavender slip was needed to wear under the dress, which prompted her to purchase this one.  So, this item was in the top drawer of her dress-up things to wear.

So, Mable took the slinky lavender slip home with her that day, and Kay said nothing about the incident.  Clara did not miss the slip since she did not wear it very often, and probably would not have even know what had happened to her piece of clothing except for a twist of fate.

Several weeks after the slip incident, Mabel had an appointment with Dr. Cruce.   Clara took her back to an exam room and instructed her to disrobe so the doctor could examine her.  Suddenly she saw the slip – Mabel had worn it to her appointment.  She recognized it immediately….the lavender color….the fancy lace….the size 4….now being worn by a size 10 woman.

“Mabel”, Clara blurted out, “that looks just like my lavender slip!”  She picked it up and examined it’s now stretched size.  “How did you get my slip, Mabel?”  Poor Mable wanted to melt into a crack in the floor as she explained, “Miss Clara, Kay told me I could have it.”  “But, Mable, Kay is only five years old.  She can’t give you my clothes.”  Things were getting tense, but the time and place were not fitting for an altercation.

Clara stared at her lavender, slinky, slip, now soiled and stretched.  She would not be able to wear it now anyway.  “That’s ok, Mabel.  That’s ok.  You can keep the slip.  Just don’t ever let Kay give you anything without checking with me first.”  Mable was relieved and the tension subsided in the room.  Nothing further was said, that is, until she got home that evening and confronted Kay with her secret deed.

Kay had been learning in her Sunday School class about it being “…more blessed to give than receive”, so she thought she was doing a good deed…that God would be pleased with her, not realizing that her mom would not.  As I recall, Mable did not work for us much longer.  However, we did keep in touch with her for many years even after we moved away.  Finally the Christmas and birthday cards ceased coming from her and we concluded that Mabel had passed on to her reward, possibly wearing a lavender, frilly slip that someone had given her years before.


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