Rocks, Shared Happiness, and an Honorable Mention

Expressing My Gratitude the Long Way

Heather Monroe


Desert Photograph/Heather Monroe

I want to give thanks for my honorable mention in the Medium Writers Challenge. But first, I want to tell you a story about rocks, gratitude, and shared happiness.

Edie and Me

I have a beautiful friend named Edie, and together we were the rocker chicks of Northern Arizona. We met through work, slinging tools in a familiar retail store we liked to call The Big Orange Box of Hades.

Edie noticed me on a day that I ran my big mouth, and the boss exiled me to babysit the folks in self-checkout. I stood at a cash register, ignoring customers with a rock in one hand and a toothpick in the other. She looked a little confused and mostly intrigued.

“Whatcha got there, sunshine?” she asked.

I didn’t look up from my palm-sized, mud-encrusted rock.

“You see that right there?” I pointed at a translucent flash of rootbeer-colored stone peaking up through the baked-on mud and tooled a pinch of it away. “Do you know what that is?”

Edie quickly donned the reading glasses that hung from a cord on her neck and examined my little treasure. “Huh. That’s pretty, isn’t it?”

“That is a fire agate, and wait until you see it clean!”

“Did you find this yourself?” Edie asked.

“Yep! I found it in the hills behind Oatman, way out in the desert.”

“Hey!” her eyes widened a little, “I live pretty close to there! I’ll come and see how clean you can get it on my next break!”

I don’t know what she was expecting. It is probably some form of what we rock hounds call “leaverite,” a dull specimen, but neat to the finder who should have left it behind. Instead, I showed her a freshly windexed rough specimen that, when wet, flashed hints of red, gold, and even purple. This stone is only found in portions of Arizona and Mexico, and I knew where to find it in pounds.

“That is gorg-e-ous! Next time, take me with you. I want to find some for myself!”




Heather Monroe

Welcome readers! Heather Monroe is a genealogist and writer who resides in California with her partner and their nine children. •True Crime• History• Memoir•