Date:         Sun, 4 Dec 1994 10:51:10 EDT
From: gilbertsmith <gsmith@social.chass.ncsu.edu>
Subject:      Cadillacs and Diamonds I
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <words-l@uga.cc.uga.edu>

CADILLACS AND DIAMONDS I

So, last Thursday morning, the tc\sw came back from taking our
daughter Karla to school and woke me up and said, "The Cadillac is
gone."  I said, groggily, "What?"  She said, "Somebody stole the
Cadillac last night."  I looked out the back window and there, in the
back alley, was a big empty space where the car had been.  I
went out and stood in the empty space.  I got down on my hands and
knees and crawled around in the space where the car had been.  It was
gone (car) and it was empty (the space).  This was a very strange
sensation, feeling around where the car had sat for months and months
with no one driving it.

The tc\sw was very upset, because 1) this was the car given to her by
her mother after her step-father died; 2) this was the car that we
went to Las Vegas in 1986 to get and drive cross-country to get it
back to NC; 3) this was the car that had become a <relic> in the
family--long white El Dorado with red leather upholstery, beginning
to deteriorate from years of sitting forlornly in the alley, losing
its <charge>, then gaining a new lease on life with a battery charge;
4) this was the car that --ggs tried desperately to get her to sell,
to no avail.

Now it was gone, and somehow, it was *my* fault because I wanted it
out of there.

The police came, reports were made, and then, the following morning,
the tc\sw announced:  "I have lost one of my diamond earrings.....
Oh, what pain.  To lose my Cadillac and my diamonds in the space of
two days.  I want to die."

There is, however, *much* more to this story.
--ggs

Date:         Sun, 4 Dec 1994 11:03:01 EDT
From: gilbertsmith <gsmith@social.chass.ncsu.edu>
Subject:      Cadillacs and Diamonds II
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <words-l@uga.cc.uga.edu>

In 1986, I was in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria for five weeks, doing
research on *my* man, Benito Perez Galdos, planning my trip to Las
Vegas, which would take place upon my return.  The tc\sw went with
her two children to Las Vegas a week before I returned, to visit with
her recently widowed mother for a while before I arrived, on People's
Express, to drive the white El Dorado with red leather upholstery
back to North Carolina.

I arrived, paid my respects to the widowed mother-in-law, we packed
the car and left.  She failed to tell us that the indicator on the
gear shift lever did not work properly.  I agreed to drive on the
first <leg> of the trip, across the desert toward Utah.  We almost
made it to the border before we had to pull into a service station
because the car was overheated and beginning to smoke.  The attendant
opened the hood and the car burst into flames.  A fire extinguisher
took care of the fire and it was <discovered> that I had been driving
in medium-low rather than in drive.  No significant damage, but this
little adventure did allow us to spend one more night in Nevada.  In
other words, *somebody* had one last chance to play the slots before
moving into non-gambling territory.

The car had a history, and now, eight years later, on Thursday
morning, it was .... well,  it was *gone*.  Three days after I
charged the battery so it would run.  It had sat for four months,
undriven.  I charged the battery, got it running, so it was much
easier to steal.  I do what I can.
--ggs


Date:         Sun, 4 Dec 1994 11:15:49 EDT
From: gilbertsmith <gsmith@social.chass.ncsu.edu>
Subject:      Cadillacs and Diamonds III
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <words-l@uga.cc.uga.edu>

It is Christmas Eve 1989 and I am doing my shopping for the big event
that night--unwrapping the presents.  I spend several hours in the
downtown department store, the only store in town that looks like the
stores I shopped in when I was a kid, doing as I do every Christmas,
buying everything in one trip after everyone else has gone home and
there is almost nothing left to choose from.  Then, across the back
street, I check out the pawn shop, which is also the best place in
town to buy diamonds.  Ah hah!  Diamonds for the tc\sw.  *That*
should make her think I am a good guy.  So the tc\sw gets diamond
earrings, modest as they are, and she is very pleasantly surprised to
find these little baubles under the tree.

Years later, in May 1991, she announces that one of the earrings is
gone.  *Out* of her ear, so to speak.  Months later, sweeping the
floor (something seldom done in the tc\sw:ggs household) I find in
the dustpain a tiny sparkling <thing> and my mate is once again happy
with me, because I have found the lost earring.

Now it is *gone*.  The Cadillac and the diamond in the same day.
Gone.

But there is more to this story.
--ggs


Date:         Sun, 4 Dec 1994 11:33:06 EDT
From: gilbertsmith <gsmith@social.chass.ncsu.edu>
Subject:      Cadillacs and Diamonds IV
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <words-l@uga.cc.uga.edu>

Friday and Saturday are days that can be accurately be described only
as <nightmares>.  The insurance company says, no, sorry, it does not
matter that you recently spent $1000 to repair your Cadillac, it
still is not worth very much.  No, sorry, sentimental value does not
count.  No, sorry, that it only had 56,000 miles does not count.  And
yes, if we pay you a paltry sum for the car and *then* it is found,
it will belong to *us*, the insurance company, and it will be
auctioned.  You may, of course, go to the auction and buy it back if
you care to.  And Yes, you may wait several weeks before asking for
your money, just in case it is found.  Then it will still be yours,
whether it is in one piece or not.

So, the tc\sw phones her mother and her sister and her other sister
and her friends and tells them of the double tragedy: a Cadillac and
a diamond in the same day.  She has not, yet, revealed the tragedy to
the one who will be most upset, the son Nick at UNC-Chapel Hill,
whose car it ultimately was intended to *be* when the university, in
the future, would allow him to have it on the campus.

I, of course, keep an eye <peeled> for the diamond and the Cadillac,
sure that I will find either the one or the other lurking around the
house or around the city.  Then I will once again be the good guy.

We have a big party on Saturday night, with all the tc\sw's friends,
all of whom are very sympathetic at the story of the double tragedy,
and all of whom run to the window to check whether their respective
cars are still on the street and all of whom check their <lobes> to
be sure that their diamonds are still in place.

They begin to wander away in their own non-purloined cars shortly
after midnight, their jewels intact, and I check the empty space in
the alleyway one more time before retiring with my mate.

At 3 a.m., the phone rings, and rings... and rings.  It is .... yes,
it is the police.  Raleigh's finest.... well, almost.
--ggs


Date:         Sun, 4 Dec 1994 11:56:47 EDT
From: gilbertsmith <gsmith@social.chass.ncsu.edu>
Subject:      Cadillacs and Diamonds V
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <words-l@uga.cc.uga.edu>

Yes, it is the police.  Chapel Hill's finest:
CHP:  Mr. Hammer?
ME:   No, my name is Smith.
CHP:  Do you have a son, John Hammer.
ME:   Yes, that is my step-son.  Why?
CHP:   We have him in custody over here in Chapel Hill.  He has been
found to be in possession of a stolen car.
ME:   Oh.  Uh, would that perhaps be a white El Dorado with red
leather upholstery?
CHP:  Affirmative.  Registered in your name, I believe.  Do you want
this boy to spend the night in jail or do you want to come over and
post bail for him?
ME:   I think you should talk to this boy's mother.

So, this boy, this <fraternity> boy, actually, this son of the tc\sw,
has been fingerprinted, photographed, bound over for stealing a
Cadillac, and is now sitting in a cell in the Chapel Hill jail,
charged with grand larceny.  And his mother tries to explain what
happened, but the police are thinking something about this is <funny>
and they want to talk to the owner of the car, the husband of the
tc\sw who several years before had the car put in his name so it
wouldnt be on the same policy with an underage driver, the fraternity
boy rotting away in jail for having stolen what was, sort-of, his own
car.

ME:  Why don't you just let him go home?  This is a misunderstanding.
CHP:  What?  Are you saying this car wasnt stolen?  You reported this
as a stolen car.
ME:  *I* didnt report it as a stolen car.  His mother did.
CHP:  He has been charged with being in possession of a stolen car.
We can let him out on an unsecured bail, then you will have to appear
in court and explain to the judge that he didnt really steal the car.
Are you sure you dont want him to spend the night in jail?
ME:  I'm sure.  Let him go home.
CHP:  OK, he can go home.  But he has to pay the towing fee, because
we have the car impounded.   We cant just leave a stolen car on the
street.
ME:  It's not a stolen car.  Let him go home.  Please.

His mother and I have a <discussion> about this incident, in which it
is determined that:
  1) this would never have happened if this boy were not in a
fraternity;
  2) this would never have happened if somebody had not charged the
battery;
  3) this would never have happened if we didnt live in a dangerous
neighborhood;
  4) all <we> have to do now is find the missing diamond and god will
be in his heaven and all will be right with the world.

The boy, meanwhile, has not called, has not written, has not shown
his face.  His mother is <gunning> for him, in a matter of speaking.
--ggs


Date:         Tue, 4 Apr 1995 10:57:44 EDT
From: gilbertsmith <gsmith@social.chass.ncsu.edu>
Subject:      Cadillacs and Diamonds: Epilogue
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <words-l@uga.cc.uga.edu>

Sweeping the floor, on this Wednesday past, March 29, I found the
diamond which was lost on... uh...  according to the dates of the CAD
posts, December 1.  What does this say about how often the bedroom
floor is swept?
The tc\sw is very happy with my discovery.
--ggs

Date:         Tue, 4 Apr 1995 10:58:58 EDT
From: gilbertsmith <gsmith@social.chass.ncsu.edu>
Subject:      Cadillacs and Diamonds: Epilogue II
To: Multiple recipients of list WORDS-L <words-l@uga.cc.uga.edu>

Oh, forgot to mention.
The Cadillac is still sitting in the back alley, battery dead,
collecting insurance payments.
No one wants to steal it.
--ggs