Monday, August 13, 2018
It seemed everyone was at Dot's that night. Even Pearce had come into town. Sam and Della were sitting at a table with Bunny and Mike. Vivian and Terse came in a bit later. More chairs were added the table to include them. The Sheriff and Pearce were chatting with Ike at the bar. Conversation around the whole room was animated and loud.
The door opened, Bunny looked over to see Jeb and Kathleen walk in. She motioned for them to come over and join them. Mike and Sam got up and pulled a table over to join the one they were sitting at. "I haven't seen you in a coon's age," Bunny said as she gave Kathleen a big hug.
The conversation and laughter continued. Finally, Kathleen said, "Is anyone else hungry?"
Several folks chimed in. Sam suggested,"Let's have another round then all go to Ed's for burgers." There was agreement from the group.
Mike stood up, "Drinks for everyone." He turned toward the bar, "Ike, put this round on my tab."
Annabelle and Walter had come in earlier and were sitting at the bar with Rascal and Pearce. Ike was pouring the last round for the big table. Pearce, seeing the line of glasses on the bar, spoke up, "Ike, hand me a tray and I'll help you serve those." Ike thanked him and handed him a small tray holding several drinks. Pearce headed toward the table with Ike following behind with another tray.
While they were gone, Rascal found himself sitting next to Anna Belle. Walter was on his phone. "Annabelle," asked Rascal, "Can I ask you something?"
"Certainly Wade. I'll tell you anything as long as it isn't something I don't want to."
Wade laughed, "Annabelle, they broke the mold when you were born." He smiled, "Seriously, I need some help."
"I'm listening," said Annabelle as she sipped her wine.
"Do you have a young lady at the Club named 'Sara'?"
"That's an interesting question. You know how I like to keep things private."
"Look, this is just between you and me. You know you can trust me."
Anna Belle was quiet for a moment. Rascal had always been more than fair with her. They had an unspoken agreement - as long as everything ran smoothly at the Club, he had no reason to question her business. "I do," she took another sip of her wine.
"You trust me? Or do you have a young lady named 'Sarah'?"
"How much do you know about her background?"
Not comfortable as to where this was going she was coy, "Not much more than I know about any of my girls. I stay out of their personal lives and backgrounds. As long as they are friendly, polite, and keep our members happy, I don't think it is any of my business."
"You're not helping me here."
"Why are you asking?"
"Let's put it this way - if any of them were married, you would know, right?"
"What do you think?" She paused, "Rascal, why are you interested in Sara?"
"I'm not. We just had an incident that may involve her. Let me rephrase that, she's kind of a side bar - an innocent non knowing participate."
"Okay, now you've got my attention." She was quiet waiting for him to speak.
"Apparently Buck Beaver has been 'peeping' in your windows."
Anna Belle shook her head. "I always thought he was a deviant. That said, even this surprises me." She took a sip of her wine. "Rascal, I hope you are taking care of this."
"Oh, I am. He won't do it again. I thought it best not to make a big deal of it."
"Well, I appreciate that. So what does Sara have to do with this?"
"She doesn't. Maybe her husband does."
"Oh, dear God. Tell me what is going on."
"Let's just say, Buck and Colonel Wadsworth got into it."
Anna Belle put her wine glass down, "Over what?" she said slowly.
"He was defending his wife's honor. But, there was some confusion, because everyone knows the Colonel's wife's name is 'Winfred'." He paused for affect. "However Buck kept referring to a lady named 'Sara'. Said he saw her in a compromising situation with one of your members, and approached the Colonel to tell him about the evils of his wife."
"Through the window?"
"Yep." Rascal took a sip of his beer.
"Perhaps we have a case of mistaken identity?"
"Maybe we have someone living a double life?" Rascal felt for Anna Belle. He realized she was known for her discretion and she cared for her girls. "Look Anna Belle, this is just between me and you. I just want you to know what was going on."
"Should I mention this to Sara?"
"That's up to you."
Walter put his phone down and turned around.
"Problems?" asked Anna Belle.
"No, Ms, Harbuck was just letting me know that the wedding at Chateau Belmond went through all the wine they had planned on using. She was going to get more from the cellar."
"Certainly, she didn't need to call you about that?" Anna Belle laughed. "Ms. Harbuck can run that place better than you."
"Not only can, but does - quite well I may add. However, when the father of the bride wanted a few bottles of my prized Caymus Suisun, she knew she better check with me."
"That doesn't sound cheap?"
"Oh, it's not."
They all laughed.
"Well, I'll that depends on how bottles you are purchasing. A bottle of Caymus Suisun Grand Durif, Petite Sirah from Suisun Valley, is only $60 or so a bottle, however when you want to serve it as your dinner wine for the meat course at a sit down meal for 75 of your good friends, that can get a little pricey." He took a sip of his Scotch. "Now what were you 2 talking so seriously about?" He laughed.
"Just catching up. Seems like I never get to visit with Anna Belle."
"Well, she's married to her work," Walter smiled. "That is until a better offer comes along."
Rascal smiled, "I know better than to go there. Great seeing y'all." He looked toward the end of the bar where Ike was filling the beer cooler. "Ike, you got this on my tab?"
"Yes sir, have a good night."
"You too." With that Rascal left the bar.
The group was settling their tabs with Ike before they made their way to Ed's. Bunny walked up to Anna Belle and kissed her on her cheek. "I can't believe you are away from the club?" Bunny looked at Walter, "And, on a date."
Their conversation was interrupted by some commotion behind them. They turned to see Kathleen on the floor with Jeb and Mike kneeling beside her.
Friday, August 10, 2018
Della just smiled, thinking of the green velvet corseted dress Bunny had just described, 'Only Bunny would be thrilled with that get up'. "And all the bridesmaids wore them?"
"We did, but that didn't work out so good."
Vivian laughed, "Were the corsets too tight?"
"No, it wasn't that. Jon Bo didn't show up for the wedding."
"Her groom. Well, his mama named him Jonas Buchanan, but we all called him 'Jon Bo'."
"So he stood her up?"
"No, he wouldn't have done that. Come to find out later he was in the hospital. So we only got to wear the dresses for an hour or so."
"It sure was - those dresses cost a lot"
"But, the bride didn't know?" asked Vivian.
"Oh, she knew, but her mama ordered them and sent us bill before Princetta knew anything about it."
"No, not the dresses, Princetta didn't know what had happened to Jon Bo?"
"No one did, well except his best friend Ned. They finally found him stark naked, passed out behind the A&P."
Bunny's story was interrupted when the office phone rang. Della answered it. Bunny turned to go into her office.
Vivian followed her, "So what happened to Jon Bo?"
"Oh, he had been shot in the rear end at his bachelor's party." Bunny was quiet as she thumbed through the mail Della had handed her. The other ladies were waiting to hear more. Finally Bunny looked up and realized she hadn't finished the story. "They were drunk as skunks and those crazy boys decided to play Russian Roulette with a shot gun. Took them over an hour to get that buckshot out of his tail - couldn't sit down for 2 weeks."
"Oh, that is horrible," said Della.
Vivian was shocked,"No, that's not 'horrible', that is insane."
"Not with those boys. They were crazy as Hell. I don't think Princetta wanted to marry Jon Bo any how. She always had a thing for Ned. But he was dating Calista. Of course, Calista broke up with Ned that day after news got out about the boys."
"I guess so, shooting the groom," laughed Della.
"No, the shootin' didn't bother her. He had done worse things than that before. Calista's mama put a stop to that relationship. She was more pissed than a boiled owl. Said finding that boy stark naked in public was the final straw. Anyway, didn't bother Calista much, 'cause she and Jon Bo eloped the next day. Had Preacher Rick do it at the hospital."
"Poor Princetta," said Della trying to imagine this scenario.
"Bet she was upset?"
"Probably so, but I think she was more concerned about trying to get her money back from the Elks Lodge where they had planned the reception."
Della was laughing, "Bunny, no offense to your cousin, but that's the funniest wedding story I've ever heard."
Before Bunny could say anything else, Wade stuck his head into Bunny's office. " 'Gotta minute? I need to show you something."
Bunny didn't reply, just grabbed her bag and followed Wade out of the office. As soon as the door closed, Vivian said, "This is better than any soap opera."
Thursday, August 9, 2018
Over lunch at the Cafe, Della and Sam were working on the wedding plans. They figured the church could seat 250 at most, so they were only going to send out 125 invitations. "Do you think your mother will be okay with, maybe, 50 of those?" asked Della.
"50 for Texas? Oh no. Let's give her 25 at most. Trust me if she wants more, she'll ask. Then we can started dickering."
"25 it is. Will you let her know?"
Mike looked at Della, "Are you trying to avoid her?
"No, not at all. I would just rather stay clear of the 'invitation' issue."
"Fair enough, I'll add that to my list."
"Thanks sweet heart. Now, I want Luellen to bake the wedding cake. I've already discussed some ideas with her."
"Luellen? Don't you want Bernerd to create one of his masterpieces for you?"
"Are you serious?" Della said with a smile, "Ah . . . no. I have no intentions of spending 90% of my wedding budget on the cake." She continued. "Lavenia can do the flowers. I'm going to let Mama handle that. That'll keep her busy." She looked down at her list. "I have decided that I am going to ask Vivian, Bunny, and my cousin, Quintrelle, to be my bridesmaids."
"Quintrelle? Do I know her?"
"Nope, but you'll love her. Everybody does. She's something special."
They went over a few more issues - what the men were going to wear, time of the service, etc. Della looked at her watch. "I've got to get back to the office." She gathered her lists and spreadsheets.
When she reached over to kiss Sam, he reminded her, "Dot's tonight at 5:30."
"I'll be there." With that she left the cafe and headed back to the office.
Later that afternoon, she formally asked Vivian and Bunny to be in the wedding. "Just us 2?" asked Vivian.
"Oh, no. I've asked my cousin Quintrelle also."
"Quintrelle," Bunny said, "Oh, she is much fun." She turned to Vivian, "If you haven't met Quintrelle, don't worry, she is a scream. Truth is I don't know anyone else like her!"
Della took a few minutes to discuss the details she and Sam had covered at lunch. "The thought of this was daunting. But, once I got organized, it hasn't been that bad."
"What about Sam's people?"
"Thank God, he talked with his mama and explained that we wanted to get married here. I think she was a bit disappointed, but she got over it. Now, his sister, Bryson Lee, is a whole 'nuther ballgame. No doubt, she will think she is visiting a 3rd world country when she gets here."
"Can't be that bad," said Bunny as she handed Della some contracts that needed to be sent out. "I wish Mike had a sister."
"Hey, you've got me," Vivian said as she went through the mail on Della's desk.
"Oh, I know and I couldn't be prouder," Bunny said as she gave Vivian a hug.
"What about our dresses - for the wedding? Have you picked them out yet?" asked Vivian, handing Bunny her mail.
"Oh, y'all just wear whatever you want to. The wedding is going to be at 7, so whatever you choose will be formal."
"Are, you sure?" asked Bunny. "I've never been to a wedding where the bridesmaids didn't wear matching dresses. How does that work."
"Just wear something that suits you. I just thought that would be easier for everybody." Della paused, "Besides, finding something that suits Quintrelle is almost impossible."
"If that's the way you want it, I've got some bridesmaid dresses from other weddings. One is my favorite. It's bright pink and made out of some shiny material." Bunny was getting excited thinking about it. "It has those big puffy sleeves, a big skirt with crinoline, and sequins down the front of it. You know real pretty ones that look like all different colors." She thought for a moment. "Then there is that green dress, I wore in my cousin, Princetta's, wedding. She paused, tapping her finger on her lips."No, on second thought that is not such a good idea."
Out of curiosity, Della asked, "Why not?"
"It's a winter dress. It's made out of green velvet with a white corset at the top. You know, one that laces up." No one else said anything, No doubt each trying to imagine this dress in their minds. Bunny continued, "And we wore these precious bonnets that tied under our chins with a big bow on the side."
Vivian giggled,"Sounds like something Little Bo-Peep would wear."
"Exactly, that is what it looked like. But we didn't carry one of those stick things she always had." Della and Vivian had to laugh.