Friday morning when Bunny walked into her office, she was surprised to find her mother, Anna Belle, waiting for her.
Before she could say anything Anna Belle started, "Seriously Bunny, you really had no idea Parker Duiese is gay. Obviously you have never seen him dance. Just look at the way he dresses. And Bob Maybank can arrange flowers like no other."
Bunny was more concerned over the fact that her mother knew she had been at the bar with (or not) Parker than Parker and Bob's sexual orientation.
"Well since you have made a fool of yourself with Jeb. Did it ever dawn on you why he never took you to a local place to eat or drink. Or why he checked out every place you went before you entered? Everyone but you knew that Parker and Kathleen are a committed couple. That is unless she gets tired of his playing footsy when she is out of town."
"Mama, I thought at least you would be sympathetic. He used me. Yes, I am humiliated. How was I to know?"
"The same way everyone else in town does. And, now, let me guess you are stressed because you do not have a date for the Jaycees Auction tomorrow night?"
"That's not true. I'm going to ask Sam."
"Sam Peters? That train left the station honey. He is going with Della."
"I don't believe that because, first Della never dates, and second, she would never have enough nerve to ask him."
"She didn't. He asked her. Why don't you just go to the auction with us?"
"With you? That would be humiliating?"
"Sweet pea, I have a date and another I turned down. I have not made a fool of myself in a small town. Come go with me and Henry."
"Henry Jameson? Of course, why am I not surprised. He's 20 years your junior!"
Anna Belle smiled, "I know, and that makes him delightful," she paused, "in many ways."
"That's enough. Spare me the rest."
"If you had just listened to me when you were younger and married Thad, think of where you would be now."
"Mama, first he never asked and besides, he was fairly fast in junior high. And think of the lectures you gave me not to act like Lucinda Joe. God forbid you have a daughter with a 'reputation'. "
"Sometimes we have to make sacrifices for the things we really want."
"Stop. Just stop," Bunny said almost in tears.
"Honey I know things have been rough for you. All I'm saying is you got yourself into this and you need to find a way out. Look, you are nice looking, have taken fairly good care of yourself, what is the problem?"
"Well, that's damn by faint praise."
"A mother needs to be honest."
Bunny looked at her mother standing there, a good 5 foot 10, still wearing a size 8. Nice looking long legs, silvery blond hair that she wore tied back (that alone made her look 10 years younger). Thanks to years of using every wrinkle remover that was made, her face showed few lines and little age. To make things worse, she always had some man in tow, usually a good looking well to-do old money gentleman, 10 to 20 years her junior.
"Well, you haven't been a lot of help."
"Sweet heart that is hurtful."
"What mother who truly loved her daughter would have named her 'Brunilda'. Seriously? Thank God for Daddy, bless his soul, saving me from that life long humiliation. And speaking of Daddy, you trot around here like you don't even miss him."
"Oh Bunny dear, that is not true at all. Your father was my first love. Well, " she paused, "after Thomas, Davis, and Matt . . well he was my first real love. She paused and smiled to herself. Then continued, "I have tried my best to struggle on since his untimely death. How did I know a heart condition was going to take him so early?"
"Or leave you so well off, thanks to a very generous life insurance policy."
"Well you know William, he was always a good planner."
"Mama, what do you want?"
"I just want the best for you. I just want you to be happy, settled into a healthy relationship, and feeling good."
"What you are saying is that I should take more care of myself, be married to old money, and, by some miracle, heal my body. Tell me, is this best for me or Anna Belle?"
"Well, let's just say, it's a small town and people do talk." With that she kissed Bunny on the cheek and walked out.
Bunny just stood there. She sighed and thought, "Dear God, I hope everyone does not have to deal with a mama like mine.
By this time Della had come back from the Post Office. "Bunny, I've seen it all. Seems Mr. Wade asked Maisy Ruth to the auction tomorrow night. Who knew? "
Bunny just muttered to herself, "Apparently everyone but me."