George paced the waiting room floor. Every so often he would look at his watch. He wondered if the scientists at UT in Austin had studied the effect on time that having a baby caused. His watch insisted that only 15 minutes had passed, but he knew he had been here for hours. He stopped as the obstetrician stepped through the door.
"It's okay George." He held up his hands to prevent an onslaught of questions.
"Sarah is going to be another couple of hours. It's her first and they always take longer so I suggest that you go get a cup of coffee then come back, have a seat and relax."
"But ... but ... wait!"
The door swung shut and the doctor was gone. George slowly sat down in the most comfortable chair he could find. The coffee sounded good but he would get some in a minute, he thought. He rested his head on the wall behind his chair and went to sleep.
"George, George, your daughter is here."
With a grunt George came to his feet wide awake, "What"?
"Wow, George, that was some wake up. Your daughter is here. Come let us go see her." He followed the doctor from the waiting room.
George turned off the main road and drove the car down the gravel road to their ranch. Sarah, sitting next to the baby carryall, gazed with wonder at their little daughter. She looked like she was grinning. From the nurses and doctor she knew that gas was making her look that way, but she sure looked like she was grinning to her. As they drove into the ranch yard, she sighed with pleasure. Home! She really loved this place.
Marie rushed out to see the baby. "Mi Niña!" Sarah sat there, half in their car, a big grin on her face. Cassie's eyes opened as Marie flooded her little ears with Spanish. Then Marie tried to help Sarah out of the car.
"Marie, I'm not sick. I just had a baby and that was five days ago. I can walk into the house." With that she pulled herself out of the car and headed to the house. George grabbed the baby's carryall and looked like he just came off a ten day drunk.
"Marie, watch George, he might drop the baby." With that Marie forgot about her and stood guard next to George. Sarah fought the grin that tried to rise once more on her face.
Sarah sat in the breakfast nook sipping on her first decent cup of coffee since she had gotten pregnant. "Humm, the true nectar of the gods, a great cup of coffee."
"Senora you want some cake or pie? I made one of each just for you."
"I think a piece of pie would be great."
George entered the room sorting a hand full of mail. Sitting down, he placed the items one at a time in front of her; an envelope, a magazine and one package.
A saucer with a piece of pecan pie appeared next to her coffee. She ignored the mail that George had set down in front of her. The pie was delicious, sweet with a nutty taste. The fresh aroma of a baked pecan pie tingled her nose.
"What's this George?"
"Mail for you, got your name on them so must be for you. The package is for Cassie care of you."
"Cassie? How? I only made my decision on her name the day before yesterday!"
"That's what I thought. This package was mailed three days ago in Dallas."
"Let me see that."
"Humm, it has no return address. Who do we know in Dallas that would send a package for a baby?"
"Nobody we know in Dallas would know what we named the baby."
"To: Cassandra 'Cassie' Howly Howard
Care of Sarah Howly Howard
Sonora, TX 76950"
"Well, there's no mistake, everything is correct."
Sarah picked up a table knife and sliced away the tape and wrapping from the package. Inside was a box and taped to the box was an envelope. She picked it up and read the return address on the envelope.
"Oh my, it's from my great-great aunt Cassandra Alanson; she is who I named Cassie after. All I remember of her when I was a child was she told me 'To be myself. Don't try to be what others want'. My mother heard her and did not like it. We never saw her again."
"What does she say?"
"Oh ... I don't believe it ... Oh my God!"
"Sarah what's wrong I don't like the way you just turned white."
Looking at George, Sarah was gulping like a fish.
"George – she says that she sent a birthday present for Cassie but we are not to give it to her till after she is twelve. It's in the box, wrapped and labeled.
George, she says that by the time we get it she will have passed on. George, she names you, 'George Howard' but I have never contacted her. How did she know about you? She has appointed you as Executor of her will. She is leaving everything she now owns to Cassie. She has set up trust funds to pay for all the taxes, maintenance and upkeep on her properties until Cassie reaches twenty one or is declared an adult. What does she mean? Mother said that she lived on her family charity! Here she has a detailed list of assets." Sarah handed George a couple of the sheets of papers.
They sat there, exchanging papers and each of them reading the things they found interesting. Every so often George made a startled sound. Finally both laid down the papers they had been reading.
"George, what do you make of it?"
"Well honey, I'm not sure. But if your Aunt Cassandra is only half right about these assets she was very rich and was not living off any charity. First thing tomorrow I will contact the firm your Aunt lists as her lawyers in this letter. I'll also see how much is involved in the executorships."
"I wish I had kept up with her after I left home. I could have found her; seen to it that she was okay."
"Darling, she knew about you. She could have contacted you anytime like she did now. You were only a child. Remember she told you to live your own life."
"George, you're so good. Thanks, Oh, I better put this away," she said pulling a small wrapped present out of the box.