Dr. Maggie Murdoch smiled graciously at her applauding audience. The eager crowd of women had paid big bucks to attend her conference. They’d come to be inspired, instructed, and encouraged by her words of wisdom. Dr. Maggie was confident the ladies would indeed leave the weekend refreshed and better equipped to be effective wives and mothers.
"Thank you. Thank you," She said as she motioned for the ladies to have a seat. "I am so glad to be here with you in Houston this weekend." She adjusted her microphone before continuing. "We’re going to learn so much from each other. We’re going to laugh, we’re going to cry and we’re going to laugh some more. We’re mothers and employees and wives, and as such we give and give and give. This weekend, it’s your turn to receive."
An hour later, Dr. Maggie had made good on her promise. Nancy Carpenter was drained from the emotional roller coaster she’d just experienced. She turned to her friend. "Wow." It was all she could say, but she felt it summed up her feelings adequately.
Susie Kerns pulled out a mirror to wipe the black mascara that was smeared around her eyes. "Yea, wow. I want to call my kids right now and tell them I love them. When I got here today, I was discouraged and frustrated. Now I can’t wait to get home to try out Dr. Maggie’s ideas."
"Same here. I told you it was worth the price."
"You were right. She’s awesome. Her family is really blessed."
The friends were interrupted by Dr. Maggie’s assistant who was now standing at the vacated podium.
"Ladies, Dr. Maggie is taking a quick break. You can purchase any of her books in the back, and then wait in line at the blue table if you’d like her to autograph what you buy.
"Let’s go," Susie said.
"Which books are you getting?"
"I want them all, but for sure I’m getting Best Mom Now."
"I’ve got that one. It’s wonderful. I think I’m getting 10 Things Your Mom Never Told You."
"We’d better hurry before they sell out." Susie and Nancy hustled to the book tables. They made their purchases and then wove through the maze of women to wait for a chance to meet Dr. Maggie face to face and get her autograph.
Susie poked Nancy in the ribs and pointed toward the stage, "Look."
Dr. Maggie’s assistant was back at the podium. "Ladies, here’s Dr. Maggie, once more." The crowd erupted into applause. Nancy and Susie stretched their necks to get a glimpse, but they didn’t dare move from their places in line.
"She’s coming, she’s coming," Nancy squealed.
The two friends waited quietly in line, straining to hear each word Dr. Maggie shared with the ladies in front of them. When Susie and Nancy were next, Dr. Maggie’s assistant approached her.
"Dr. Maggie, a local reporter is here for a quick interview. They’re trying to get it on the 10 o’clock news, so can you spare a second?"
Dr. Maggie looked sympathetically at Susie and Nancy. She reached out and grasped their hands.
"Ladies, I don’t want to rush our time together. Can you be sweeties, and just hang tight for a sec? I’ll be right back."
Susie and Nancy were speechless, but they managed to nod their heads. They would wait. Anything for Dr. Maggie.
"Thanks so much. Be right back." With that Dr. Maggie stood up. She smoothed her skirt and fluffed her hair as she headed to where the reporter and cameraman were waiting.
Across town fifteen-year-old Kelsey finished up her homework while her father watched the news. When Maggie Murdoch appeared on the screen, Bob unintentionally let out a small gasp.
Kelsey looked up from her work and stared silently at the TV. The two listened as the reporter spoke. "Dr. Maggie Murdoch, successful author, speaker, and talk show host, is in town today. Hundreds of women have gathered at The Marriot to listen to Dr. Maggie’s inspiring and humorous words of wisdom. Dr. Maggie advises women on how to be better moms and wives..."
Bob clicked off the TV. There was a moment of reflective silence, then Kelsey spoke. "Did you know she was in town?"
"Do you think she’ll call?"
"She looks good."
"She always does." Bob reached for Kelsey’s hand. Father and daughter were doing fine, but it was still painful to see the wife and mother who had abandoned them.
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