The Original SavvyPage 2 of 3
In those early days, all of the streams that snaked and twisted through the Midwest were sprinkled with gold squirreled away thousands of years before by slow-moving glaciers. As Eva Mae trundled and twirled through the currents of those waters, gold dust clung to her hide and hair. Knobby golden nuggets clustered to her from her bonnet to her boots. And while three years inside a muddy river might make any other person into nothing more remarkable than a grubby, grimy, wrinkled-up prune of flesh, or the floating remains of a driftwood-dead skeleton, Eva Mae stepped out of those waters like a vision of radiant sunshine.
Eva Mae's three-year baptism in the bloodstream of the young nation's landscape left her changed, mixing its blood with her own, and hers with it, as those turbid waters soaked deep into her every part and pore. Ever after, Eva Mae could charm that precious gold from rock or ridge, from gully or gutter, from puddle or pasture or prairie soil. She became known as the Golden Girl, the Midas Maiden of the Midwest, and men-folk flocked to her like crows to a shiny, shimmering thing. But though Eva Mae married one after another-a trapper, a trader, an explorer, a baker, a mighty Sioux warrior, a farmer, a painter-each found his own untimely and unlucky death, and Eva Mae feared she was ill-fated.
Eva knew she had a power to her like no one else. She knew she had a deep-keen understanding of the nature of gold and where it liked to live and to sleep and to shine, and not knowing what else to call it, she named that shrewd sense and cleverness of hers her savvy. But as her husbands passed and passed and passed, and her babies were born under shimmering blue moons, Eva Mae found herself ever on the run from every outlaw, banker, bandit, and ne'er-do-well who'd caught wind of her talents and longed to use her gifts for their own gain.
Slowly, the Midas Maid's intelligence of the nature of gold grew deeper still, and she began to recognize something new about those bright and burnished bits and pieces, something that had more to do with the sadness of want and the sometimes soft and pliable metal of men and women than of the element itself. She began to understand the character of greed.