The sun beat down on her back as she struggled to manipulate the surprisingly heavy base of the umbrella stand. She remembered Abe commenting that it was heavy but this was far heavier than she had ever imagined. She sat back on her heels, letting the run warm her face as she thought about how to maneuver the base so she could tighten everything down. Finally decided to try the dolly, she fetched it from the garage and carefully positioned it under the base.
“Now, just be slow and careful and just go for it,” she said trying to talk herself into it while giving herself a dose of verbal Dutch courage.
She went for it slowly but quickly enough that she couldn’t talk herself out of the challenge. Soon enough, the base was lifted up and Claudia slowly lowered the dolly to the ground under the shadow cast by the umbrella in the outside dining table, while saying a silent prayer that the plan was going to work.
As the dolly handles hit the ground, Claudia let out her breath that she hadn’t realized she had been holding. “Well, step one complete. Now time for step two and I pray Abe didn’t tighten any screws down so securely that a power tool is going to be required., s” She muttered as she took a long sip of her iced tea.
Grabbing the screwdriver and the chair cushion, she sat down and prepared to do battle with the umbrella base. The bottom had eight holes where she could just spy the head of a screw peaking out of each one. “No time like the present,” Claudia said and bravely began to unscrew the bottom of the base from the top of the base. Soon enough, all eight screws were loosened and one by one she released them from their holes. One screw was being stubborn and she had to wriggle it but eventually it too came loose.
Pausing, Claudia stood and dusted herself off. The sun was hot and she was sweaty. The ice had melted and she quickly drained the watered down iced tea. Heading back into the house for a fresh glass, she was hit by a blast of cold air as she opened the back door. Shivering slightly from the sudden change in temperature, she kicked off her gardening clogs and made her way into the kitchen. Pouring herself a fresh glass of tea, she added a mint sprig (slightly bruised of course). Before heading out back, Claudia grabbed her favorite straw hat and tucked her hair up into the brightly colored hat.
Hat, fresh tea, and sandals replacing gardening clogs Claudia headed back outside determined to tackle the remaining repair job. As soon as she settled herself back down in front of the umbrella base, she immediately noticed the trickle of sand that had seeped out. “Small problem easily remedied with a whisk broom and dust pan.” The base had cooled enough that she could handle it long enough to begin prying it from the top. Mind you, it was still hot but it no longer felt like lava pooling beneath her fingers. As she pried, more sand spilled out and soon the blazing hot sand was like a small fire pit in front of her. The two pieces separated and as they did, Claudia couldn’t believe the sight that was staring her in the face.
The treasure she had sought since that letter was sitting before her in all its amazing glory. Gold bars twinkling in the sunlight, reflecting the sun and sparkling like a princess cut diamond. Claudia’s first instinct was to back away from the treasure, afraid to believe it was real. her second instinct was to pinch herself. “Ouch, ok so I’m not dreaming.” She muttered. Afraid to leave the gold bars sitting out in the open for any longer than necessary, she looked around for something to put the gold bars in so she could take them inside. She spied an empty potting container and quickly determined to utilize it to carry the bars in the house.
Paying little attention to how the bricks were arranged, she quickly gathered them counting them as she did so.
“One, two, three … Twelve gold bricks.” Claudia’s voice was low but filled with amazement.