Anna Belle ran into Tula, someone she had not seen in years, at the market Thursday afternoon. Not thrilled to see her, but being polite, Anna Belle said,"Good afternoon Tula."
"Oh Anna Belle, I haven't seen you in ages. In fact it may have been since we were in Georgia. And that was what, 40 something years ago. How did all that work out any way?"
Anna Belle said quietly,"For the best Tula, for the best."
"Oh, I'm so sorry Anna Belle, I guess you would rather not talk about it."
"No, I would rather not."
"I understand you have a daughter, Bunny, is she married?
"I do, she is not married, but she does well for herself."
"That's nice to know."
They said their pleasantries and went their separate ways. What in the Hell brought her back to town, Anna Belle asked herself. She is nothing but trouble. Maybe she'll get hit by a bus. Anna Belle finished her shopping and went home.
Meanwhile Bunny was looking forward to the birthday party. What fun. She would get to meet Harrison's family. Hopefully they would like her. No doubt they were as nice as he was. His late wife, Mary, was a dear.
By Thursday she still had not gotten the invitation. That evening when Harrison called, she mentioned it to him. "Well you are invited, invitation or not."
"I wasn't questioning that. I just wanted to make sure I knew what time to come and what kind of party it would be."
"Last time I spoke with Belva, I think the party was at 1:30 and it was going to be a "lawn party".
"A lawn party for 6 year old?"
"Well that's what we have always called a party outside. I'm sure she'll have some fancy cake with a fireman or Superman or some character on top of it, that I've never heard of."
Bunny laughed,"I'm looking forward to it and meeting your family."
"They are going to love you. Especially when they see how happy you make me. However, I'm afraid I cannot do anything tomorrow night. Since the girls will be here and I never get to see them, I promised we would just stay home."
"Harrison, I totally understand. I'll see you Saturday afternoon."
They said good night and hung up.
When the invitation did not come on Friday, Bunny was still worried but less so since she had talked to Harrison. It was very quiet in the office and she was sitting in front of at Della's desk. "Della, Harrison has invited me to his grandson's birthday party. I don't have a clue what to wear?"
"Is there a theme, usually there is for a child's party? How old is he?
"If there is a theme Harrison doesn't know it. Wells will be 6. Belva, his daughter was going to send me an invitation so I would have all the information about it, but it never came. I wonder if Harrison gave her the wrong address?" Bunny looked perplexed. "He did say it was an outside party on the lawn. I guess it would have to be outside for a little boy's party."
"Well if that's the case, given this weather I'd wear something comfortable."
"I'm not going over in short pants."
"No, I'm not saying that. What about a sun dress, that about covers any occasion outside this time of year."
"No, the last thing I want to do is show up over dressed. I need to make a good impression. After all it is the first time I will be meeting his family," she paused. "I know what I will wear - that new pair of blue cropped pants and a floral cotton top." And she would wear her sneakers since she would be outside and any other shoes might get messed up.
Saturday morning Bunny got up, wrapped Wells' gift, a Superman action figure. She could not imagine a little boy not liking Superman. At 1:15 she left her house for Ivy Lane. She decided to park on the street to spare herself any embarrassment about her car. She walked up the drive and around to the front of the house.
There were a fair number of people standing around tables and chairs. As she got closer, she saw silver warming trays, and a small bar to the side with a bar tender very busy serving wine and cocktails. There were flowers on all the linen covered tables and ribbons tied on all the white chairs sitting around.
She stopped short when she saw what all the guests were wearing. The women were in very dressy sun dresses, dripping in pearls and other jewelry, most wearing smart hats, and matching sandals. There she was in cropped pants, a floral cotton blouse, no jewelry, and sneakers. She wanted to fade into lovely box woods that encircled the house.
Before she could turn and run Harrison was there, "Bunny, there you are. I was afraid you were not coming. Let me introduce you around. I am so glad are here." With that he took her arm and moved toward the crowd that by this time had turned to see who Harrison was escorting.
"Belva, this is Bunny, the lady I have been telling you so much about. She is here after all."
"I see, but a little late," Belva said as she looked Bunny over head to toe. "I guess now we can eat."
Bunny put her hand out to shake Belva's hand, but Belva just ignored it. Trying to explain her tardiness, Bunny added "Well your father said the party was at 1:30."
"I'm pretty sure the invitation said 1:00. everyone has been waiting to be seated until you arrived."
"Well it may have, but I did not receive an invitation."
Harrison looked at Belva, "What she is saying is that she did not receive the paper invitation you sent all the guests. She was definitely invited, you knew that."
"Well," Belva said in a condescending voice, "perhaps that explains why you did not RSVP."
Harrison gave Belva a not-so-proud-father look, "Well, let's find Liza."
All Bunny was able to say, "It was nice meeting you."
Liza was a bit warmer but only because her father was standing there. Then Bunny and Harrison moved on to their seats, as everyone was seating themselves at the party. Bunny asked quietly, "This is a child's birthday party?"
"Well yes. Look over there," Harrison said pointing to a group of happy kids gathered around a clown doing tricks and a table of hot dogs and ice cream situated much further over. "It is, we just usually eat separately from the melee. Everyone is happier that way."
After lunch everyone got a fresh beverage and mingled. Tula, who happened to be invited since she was Harrison's cousin, was talking to Belva. "And you say that is Bunny Vontese, Anna Belle Vontese's only child."
"Tula, what do you know? Do tell?" said Belva very excitedly.
"Well it was about 48 years ago," she stopped. "Maybe I should not go on," Tula said hoping Belva would beg.
"Now you started, you have to finish. I knew she was trash when I saw her."
"That's not exactly the case. I do not know much about Bunny at all. I'm talking about her mother, Anna Belle."