Take a small town in southern Alabama, and a young lady, just slightly out of step. Add gnarly family trees, entrenched traditions, and everyone living with skeletons in their closets - welcome to Gallagher. There one will find an extraordinary cast of insane characters. And, it could only happen in the South.
Thursday, January 11, 2018
Wallpaper, Crystal, Cordials, and Wine
"Rascal, Solly here," the Baldwin County Sheriff said,"the saga continues."
"Somehow, I'm not surprised."
"I think you better come see this."
Filled with curiosity, Rascal told Solly he would be there later that afternoon. They rang off.
The Sheriff walked into Mary Lou's office, put his hat on his head, and announced, "Sheriff Smythe says he has something for me to see. I'm going over. No telli'n when I'll be back."
"I'll hold the fort down," Della said, not even looking up from her computer.
The Sheriff walked out of the station.
Meanwhile at Duiese and Maybank, Parker picked up his phone to hear his father's (Haynes Duiese) voice. "How you doing?"
"Just fine and you. What's up?"
"Have you and Bob checked out the Tea Room?"
"No, not yet. We've talked about it but just haven't gotten there."
"Well, why don't the 3 of us meet there for lunch today, my treat?"
"Sounds good, we'll meet you there, say noon?"
"Great. Don't you want to ask Bob first?" "Don't have to, he would cancel any plans he had to have lunch with you."
Haynes laughed, "See y'all there at noon." They rang off.
At the rental company Bunny insisted that Della go to lunch with her and Vivian. "Della, you cannot just mourn about like a sick puppy. We all miss Sam. You know he is crazy over you."
Vivian spoke up,"You know we're here for you. We will do anything for you that will help."
Vivian added,"Well, almost anything."
Haynes walked into the front door of the Tea Room at noon. Caroline greeted him, "Why Haynes, aren't you being brave?"
Haynes gave her a kiss on the cheek. "I figure my money is as green as anyone else's."
"Don't get me wrong, everyone is welcome here."
"The boys are meeting me, so I need a table for 3."
"We can do that." Carolina picked up 3 menus and said,"This way." She led Haynes to table in the middle of the room. "Let me know if I can do anything for you. Grice will take good care of you."
In less than 5 minutes Parker and Bob walked in, saw Haynes, and made their way to his table. Haynes stood up and shook the hands of both gentleman.
As Parker sat, put his napkin in his lap, and looked around,"Wow, they have out done themselves."
Bob added, "Oh, I agree beautiful, but not over the top, fancy but tasteful, formal, yet still comfortable." Bob continued to take in the decorations. "Parker, isn't that wallpaper Fifth and Foster?"
"It looks like it, but that's something you would know more about that I do."Parker picked up his water goblet," But this is definitely Waterford."
"Sorry to disappoint you, that is Massena by Baccarat,"Bob picked up his goblet, "Hold on, I may be wrong. It could Jupiter. I always get those 2 patterns confused. No, it's Massena."
Haynes just laughed and shook his head. "All, I know is that it is fancy glass, and I would assume it was some crystal pattern versus some jelly bar brand." They all laughed.
Haynes added,"How in the world would you know the difference between Waterford and Baccarat?"
Bob smiled,"Well, I thought if I ever got married, I would register for a Baccarat crystal pattern. Waterford is so de rigueur."
Haynes laughed,"Figures you would know. Blair had Waterford crystal and we have a few Baccarat vases around the house."
Parker laughed,"I'm surprised you would know."
"I don't always live under a rock."
Parker raised his water goblet. "A toast to Dad!"
Bob smiled, "If only we had wine."
Just as he said that, they looked up to see Grice at their table. "Well, you know that we do serve a selection of cordials and wine every afternoon between 4:30 and 6:30."
"Really?" said Parker, "Well that is good to know, considering our office is only 3 doors down. We can come here for our first drink after work."
They ordered a selection of sandwiches, scones, and tea. Their conversation continued. Haynes had always been close to his son. After his wife, Blair, died, they became even closer. He treated Bob like another son. Haynes dated a bit, but it was more escorts for social occasions than official 'Dates'. Parker just wanted his father to be happy whether that was single, dating, or remarried.
Caroline checked on them. "Doing OK?"
Bob smiled,"Better than OK, you didn't tell us you had a 'Happy Hour'?"
"Well, it's not exactly a 'Happy Hour'. We call it our 'Apres High Tea Hour'. It is was a request from some of our regulars."
Haynes laughed,"Caroline, I'm not sure whether these boys are more enthused about the wall paper, the Baccarat crystal, or the cordials and wine."
"Well, I hate to disappoint you, but you will not always have Baccarat. Blanche spent some time and as well as least money as possible, scouring Ebay and estate sales gathering a selection fine crystal as well as China for the Tea Room before we opened. You will see that each table is set and served with an eclectic assortment of crystal, China, and sterling."
Caroline picked up Bob's goblet,"This is Massena by Baccarat." She pointed to Parker's goblet, "While Parker has Jupiter and Haynes, you have Marquis by Waterford."
Before Parker could say anything Bob spoke up,"I was only talking about the pattern of my goblet."
"Sure you were," said Parker.
Everyone laughed. Caroline added,"Well, in Bob's defense, those 3 patterns are very similar."
Grice showed up with their meal. As she placed the plates at each of their places, Caroline thanked the gentlemen and stepped away.
They were finishing their last cup of coffee when a tall, very attractive lady walked in. She wore a dupioni silk sheath that looked as if it was made just for her with a coordinating leather clutch in her hand. Her brunette hair was swept up in a perfect bob. She wore nice, but conservative jewelry. The 3 of them watched her as she was seated several tables over.
Grice came with the bill, which Haynes paid. Both Bob and Parker thanked him. As they walked out, Haynes caught Blanche's eye. She walked over. "I didn't see you over there. You know I would have come and at least spoke."
Haynes said,"No problem. The meal was fantastic. We will be back." He kissed her on her cheek. Then he smiled, "But there is one way you can make-up your social faux pas of ignoring us."
Blanche smiled,"Of course."
"Who is the lady who just walked in wearing the green dress?"
"She has been in here once. Think she just moved to Gallagher. Pretty sure her name is 'Colleen Cantrell'. I don't know anything else about her. But, she is striking isn't she?"
"Striking? I would say mesmerizing." Haynes smiled. "If there is anyway you can get her phone number I would appreciate it."
"I'll do what I can." They said their goodbyes and Haynes, Bob, and Parker walked out.
"Good move Dad," Parker said with a smile. "I agree, she is mesmerizing."
Bob added,"And that sheath, that green dupioni silk - she has good taste."
Parker looked at Bob,"Seriously!"
"Well she does," said Bob with no apology.
Parker and Bob thanked Haynes again for lunch. They shook hands. Haynes left for home and Bob and Parker left for their office.