My Life a Bit South of Normal

My Life a Bit South of Normal

Thursday, April 19, 2018

It has to be at some place wonderfullll!

"Mama, we got married at the Church of the Seven Wells and Three Stones, and we are having our reception at Ivy Lane later today."

"You can't have a wedding at some church. It has be some place wonderfullllll," Her speech was getting worse. "Like this place," Dixie said as she turned quickly and almost fell down.

Again, in a loud voice, Dixie started,"I cannot believe you would do that to your own mother. I missed the wedding, after all the work I did for you."

By this time Jeb and Harrell had gathered around Kathleen and Dixie. Trying to mitigate the situation Harrell put his hands on Dixie's shoulders. "Honey, it is OK. They are happy and isn't that all that matters?"

"All that matters! I have all the elite of Mobile invited. This is very important to Kathleen."

"No, Dixie. This is very important to you."

Dixie was quiet for moment, then she asked in a loud voice,"The cake? What about Bryson? What about Bernie? He has made that grand cake for you."

"Mama, you can take Beŕnerd and his 'grand' cake and do whatever you want to with it!"

"But no one will see that cake. I wanted everyone," she paused to find some words. "Everyone in the whole wide world," with that Dixie spread her arms wide, as if to encompass the whole world, "to see the cake." She paused again and tried to take another sip from her champagne flute, which was empty. Dixie looked down at the flute, wondering what happened to her champagne. "And a reception, if you can call it that, at Ivy Lane. Pray tell what you will have, Spam sandwiches and pink punch?" Dixie smirked, "Whatever, but you won't have a fancy cake will you?"

"Mama, I don't want to hear another thing about that damn cake. If you do not calm down," Kathleen said in a very quiet voice, "you will also miss our wedding reception."

Harrell spoke up, "What's wrong with Spam sandwiches?"

"A lot," Dixie turned back to Kathleen. "Did you know, "she slurred her words, "that her mother runs a bordello. Ms Bunny . .  Ms whoever is a prostitute." Dixie was quiet a moment while she tried to maintain her balance. No doubt she was seeing 2 Kathleens standing in front of her. "You are going to have your wedding reception at the home of a prostitute?"

"Mama!" Kathleen said quietly, "Why don't you tell the world?"

Dixie turned to face the crowd, "Did y'all know my daughter is having her reception at the home of a prostitute." The fact that Dixie was confusing Bunny and Anna Belle was bad enough. But calling them prostitutes was beyond the pale.

Some people turned to see what Dixie was saying. Harrell smiled at the guests who were now paying attention, "She is just excited." Then quietly he told Dixie, "That's it. We need to leave."

"Are we going to that place, you know . . . that prostitute's house?"

Not willing to take any more, Kathleen looked at her mother. "Bunny is not a prostitute. She is one of the sweetest people I know. How dare you say things like that."

Jeb just shook his head. They all knew this would not be pretty. What they didn't count on were the many flutes of champagne Dixie had consumed. He looked at Kathleen. "Do we need to leave?"

"No, Jeb, we do not need to leave. Dixie is the only one leaving now." Kathleen looked at her father for help. Harrell put his arm around Dixie and guided her to the doors of the Chateau  - so, hopefully, they could leave without attracting any more attention.

Looking at his bride, Jeb pulled her closer to him. "Well, at least that is over. It could have been worse."

"How much worse than having a drunk mother yelling at me about prostitutes in the middle of Bunny's reception?"

"Your mother being sober and yelling at prostitutes in the middle of Bunny's reception."

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

I Told You We Were Late

Bunny felt like she was in a dream as she followed Vivian and Della from the Bride's room. Buzz was standing at the bottom of the steps watching her descend. "Bunny, you are the most beautiful bride I have ever seen." He gave her a warm hug. Della and Vivian also hugged Bunny. "I am so excited for you and Mike," said Vivian. She and Della left Bunny and walked toward the patio.

For the first time, Bunny noticed Wade standing there. He took a few steps toward her. "Bunny, you make a beautiful bride." He offered his arm, "It would be my pleasure if you would give me the honor of giving you away."

Unable to speak, Bunny just smiled.

Anna Belle gave her daughter a kiss on her cheek. "You know I love you." 

Still in a fog, Bunny could only nod her head.

"Let's get you seated," Buzz said as he offered Anna Belle his arm. He smiled as his mother took his arm. The 2 of them then walked through the hall onto the patio. 

As Bunny and Wade walked out onto the patio, it was empty. Then she saw everyone seated on the lawn in rows of white chairs. Suddenly Bunny stopped walking. She looked at Wade and in a hushed voice said, "Oh gosh, Wade, I can't get married today. Not now."

"Why not?" asked Wade. "Everyone's here. And I think Mike is going to pop wide open if I don't get you down this aisle."

"Wade, you don't understand. Kathleen and Jeb's reception is being held this afternoon at Ivy Lane. I've got to get back."

With a big smile, Wade looked at her, "Bunny, trust me. Kathleen and Jeb will understand." Bunny was still hesitant. "Bunny, do you trust me?"

"Of course."

"Then let's go." With that the music started. They made their way down the staircase to the lawn. There was a sudden swish of clothes and chairs, as the guest stood and turned to see the bride. It was then she saw Mike standing up front waiting for her. He, too, had changed and was wearing a sharp tuxedo. However, she was more surprised to see a third bridesmaid. Kathleen was standing with Della and Vivian in a matching purple dress.

Considering Bunny wasn't sure what to do, all went well and in a few minutes Mr. and Mrs. Michael Pace walked back down the aisle. As guests gathered around Bunny on the patio, she kept an eye out for Kathleen. Finally both Kathleen and Jeb walked up.

"What a beautiful bride." Kathleen said as both she and Jeb gave Bunny a hug.

"But, I'm not supposed to be the bride, you are."

"I am the bride and it is wonderful." Bunny was confused. Then Kathleen held out her hand. On her ring finger was a golden band along with her engagement ring.

"Where, when? What about your reception?" Nothing was making sense to Bunny.

Mike walked up and put his arm around Bunny's waist. He looked at Kathleen and Jeb. "They got married at the the church this morning."

"We're still going to have our reception at Ivy Lane," said Kathleen in a very excited voice. "Later this afternoon, just like we planned it." Kathleen paused, "That is, if it still suits you."

"But . . ." Bunny was totally addled.

Mike assured her it was all taken care of. "So, just enjoy this. Don't worry. "Mike kissed her lightly on the forward.

All Bunny could say was, "I'm so lucky to have you."

Across the patio, Dixie was trying to find Kathleen. "Harrell, I have to find her. It is time for us to leave."

Harrell just stood there and watched his wife work herself into a stew. Finally, Dixie saw Kathleen talking with some friends.

"Kathleen! We need to go."

Kathleen was very irritated now. Not only was she totally embarrassed by her mother at times like this, Dixie being three sheets to wind after many flutes of champagne, made it worse. She excused herself from the group and walked over to Dixie. "No, Mama, we do not need to go."

"Do you know what time it is? You're supposed to be at The Columns in an hour to get ready."

"Mama, I'm not going to The Columns to get married."

"But, it's your wedding day. Now you don't want to marry, get married?" Dixie was having some problems with her speech."To him, "she paused and pointed toward Jeb, "Jeff, Joe, or whatever his name is."

This was the moment Kathleen had been waiting for all day. "Mama, Jeb and I got married this morning before we came here."

Dixie started to say something, but stopped. "Married? Your, oh what's it called? wedding, your wedding is this afternoon."

"No, Mama, that is your wedding. The one you have planned for years is supposed to be at The Columns this afternoon."

"Did you get married there?" Dixie looked for Harrell, "What time is it any way?" Dixie paused, then she yelled, "Harrell we missed the wedding! We are late. I told you we were late."

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

You Can Discuss That Later

Just then Bunny saw her mother step forward. Anna Belle was up dressed in a nice but conservative gown. "Sweat heart, welcome to your wedding?" She gave Bunny a warm hug, one that was authentic. "But you don't have time to visit now, you need to go with Ms. Harbuck."

"Why . . .?" Bunny stuttered. "I thought it was the chairman's grandson's wedding." Anna Belle looked at Mike and they both laughed

Mike came up behind her. "It is. Walter Pace is my grandfather."

"But . . ." Bunny was totally addled.

Mike assured her it was all taken care of. "So, just enjoy this. Don't worry. "Mike kissed her lightly.

They heard a gentleman's voice behind them. "Mike was right, you are a beautiful bride."

Bunny turned to see a distinguished older man standing there. He offered his hand to Mike, who shook it. Mike turned to Bunny, "Bunny, this is Walter Pace, my grandfather." Bunny smiled. Mike continued,"Granddaddy basically raised me after my parents died."

"In Gallagher?"

Before Mike could answer, 'Miss' Ella and Rayanne walked up to congratulate the couple. Mike introduced them to his grandfather. Ella offered her hand, "Walter, it is so good to see you."

Now Bunny was even more baffled. Before she could ask, 'Miss' Ella turned to her. "Mike's family is from Mobile. His mother was a Loeffler."

Rayanne interjected, "She grew up on Government Street."

This was all lost on Bunny. She knew nothing about the names and streets in Mobile. But, since 'Miss' Ella said it, she knew it was true. Mike's mother must have been someone fancy. They were interrupted by more friends who wanted to congratulate them. It seemed to Bunny, everyone she knew was there.  Aunt Cordelia, Clark Butler and his wife, Mercer Magill and Iris, and Hollis and Colleen, among many. Even Ike was there, dressed in  nice conservative grey suit with a baby blue tie.

 "Mike, how did you do this? I'm still in shock."

"Well Pops insisted we have the wedding here. That eliminated a lot of issues on my end. I had no idea whether to have roses or daisies, hamburgers or steam ship round. That was where Ms. Harbuck was indispensable." He smiled, "Of course your total preoccupation with Kathleen and Jeb's reception helped - a lot."

Bunny gave him a quick kiss, "I'm so lucky to have you."

"You can discuss that later," Ms Harbuck said as she looked at Bunny's attire. "Certainly you don't want to get married in",  she caught herself. "What I am trying to say is that all brides should wear an appropriate gown. Follow me." Bunny and her mother followed Ms. Harbuck back into the grand hall and up the large stairway.  Ms. Harbuck opened a door and motioned for Bunny to enter. "This is our Bride's room."

The room was, what looked like a large bedroom, furnished with plush sofas and comfortable chairs. The back wall was mainly windows. The light from the morning sun lit up the room. Hanging on a large amour was a beautiful wedding gown. On the floor were a pair of silk covered heels. Bunny was still in shock. She looked at Anna Belle, "For me?" Bunny looked  back at the dress then asked, "Are you sure it will fit?"

"It should, it's your size." Anna Belle said as she stepped forward, "I hope you like it. I had some help choosing it."


"No, we helped your mother." Bunny recognized the voice. She turned to see Della and Vivian as they walked into the room.

"And, these, my dear, are your bridesmaids," Anna Belle said looking at Della and Vivian. Bunny saw that her best friends were wearing matching purple dresses.

"My favorite color," Bunny said almost squealing.

"Oh, girls, we can talk later. Let's get this bride ready." With that all the ladies started buzzing around. The Chateau's hair dresser came in to fix Bunny's hair and her makeup. The dress was a perfect fit.

Meanwhile outside on the patio, Dixie was having a fit. "Kathleen, I cannot believe you are here. And, dressed in that hideous purple dress."

"Why, Mama, doesn't this fit into your wedding 'palette'?" Kathleen said sarcastically. 

"This is your day. Why are you not home getting prepared for your wedding?" She shook her head in disgust. "Honestly, the idea that Bunny would plan her wedding on your day."

"Mama, just stop it. I'm fine and you will be also. Remember Bunny did not even know about her wedding until 10 minutes or so ago. I think Mike did an incredible job planning the wedding."

Harrell handed Dixie a glass of champagne - her third since they arrived. "Dear, you know even though Kathleen is my princess and her wedding day should be one of the best days of her life, I think she can share in someone elses happiness. I don't recall a voice coming from the heavens declaring, 'No other shall get married on Kathleen's day.'"

Kathleen gave her father a quick kiss, "I know Daddy, and I am so happy for Mike and Bunny." She took a sip of her champagne. "Mama, I must admit this is a beautiful venue. I can understand why you thought it would be great for my reception."

Dixie stopped drinking. "I know, it is beautiful. It just wasn't to be. "In fact", she smirked, "I'm surprised they were able to have their wedding here. The big wedding must be this afternoon."

Jeb looked at Dixie, "What 'big' wedding?"

"I told you, the only reason Kathleen could not have her wedding here was because the Chairman of the Board had reserved it for his granddaughter."

Kathleen looked at her mama,"I think you mean 'Grandson'. You realize who Mr. Pace's grandson is?"

Dixie ignored her daughter, as if she didn't hear what she was saying.

"Mike is Mr. Pace's grandson."

"Whatever," Dixie dismissed the comment. Suddenly, she looked shocked, then mad. "Wait, you are saying Mike is Mr. Pace's grandson?"

"The same."

"But, that cannot be. His only son married a Loeffler, one of Mobile's most prominent family."

"Yes, Mama. Mike's mother was a Loeffler."

Harrell could not resist adding, "Therefore, Mike's grandfather is Walter Pace."

Dixie was incensed. "And, his grandson is only a deputy sheriff?"

"Yes, a happy deputy sheriff,"Jeb laughed.

"Who would want to be a deputy sheriff?"

"Dixie, if you would get your nose out of the clouds, you would understand that some people are happy with their occupation - no matter what it is. Happiness is worth a lot."

"I guess so, if that is all you are capable of." Dixie took another sip of her champagne. "No wonder he is so happy with Bunny."

"You know," said Harrell, very irritated with his wife, "I think Bunny did fairly well. If Mike ever decides to give up his job, he has other things to fall on."

"Sure, his family's money or, better yet, his bride's money. The money she only has because a lonely man needed company then she lucked up when he died before he came to his senses."

"Seriously?" Kathleen looked at Jeb, "Sweetheart, there are some other people I would rather to visit with. Let's go find them."

With that, Kathleen turned on her heels and walked away. Before he followed, Jeb added, "If Mike were unhappy he could take advantage of his law degree or his PhD in history."  Jeb, then, turned and left to find Kathleen.

Before Dixie could say anything else, Harrell looked at her. "Don't say another word. I would like to know who died and made you a Vanderbilt." He, too, turned and walked away.

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Story Continues

Mike and Bunny could see people mingling on the patio where the music was coming from. "Look", said Bunny, "It looks like a wedding." She paused. "This is the kind of place I figured Kathleen and Jeb would get married."

"Maybe they are," Mike said with a smile.

"Oh, I hope not. If it is, I won't be back in time for the reception at Ivy Lane."

"Bunny, I was just kidding. They are getting married at the church."

"Wait," Bunny stopped walking. "Kathleen told me her mother had planned the wedding at some fancy place. I can't remember the name. Maybe it is here?" Bunny was very serious.

Mike put his arm through Bunny's. "You are way too worked up about Kathleen's wedding. Remember, there are folks at Ivy Lane taking care of everything. I'm sure we'll be back well before the reception." He paused, "Besides this is our time to celebrate."

Bunny was still concerned. Mike continued, "Sweetheart, I promise. I think you care more for Kathleen's reception than our engagement." Mike gave her a hurt look.

"Of course I'm excited about being engaged to you." She looked at the ring on her finger. "I'm just being silly. I know we'll be back in time."

"Now that's more like it." Together they walked up the wide stone staircase. Bunny had never seen such doors. They had to be, at least, 10 feet tall. Each one was intricately carved from dark wood and had a large stain glass window in it.   As they reached the stoop, the giant doors opened. Standing in the threshold, was a woman dressed in a very conservative suit.

"Mike, so glad to have you back." She turned to Bunny. "You must be Bunny. Welcome." With that, Margaret Harbuck stood aside so they could enter.

Bunny was so taken aback with grand hall that, 3 feet after she walked in, she couldn't move. She had never been in such a room. The grand hall was round with a double staircase facing the front door from across the room. Both sets of stairs gently curved as they followed the side of the wall. A 2nd story balcony encircled the room opening at the top of the stairs. Hanging down from the 35-40 foot ceiling, in the middle of the room, was the largest crystal chandelier Bunny had ever seen. She turned to Mike and whispered,"I bet that's real crystal, not just glass."

Mike replied in a whisper,"Probably so."

"And these look like real pictures, "Bunny said as she looked at the eclectic collection of art work on the walls.

"I would imagine, so."

Turning toward the patio, Bunny saw people all dressed up and walking around. She turned to Ms. Harbuck, "Oh, that looks so beautiful. Is it wedding?"

"It is," replied Ms. Harbuck with a smile.

"Who is getting married?" said Bunny still looking through the windows in large French doors.

" 'Mr.' Walter's grandson." Knowing that meant nothing to Bunny, she added,"Walter Pace is the Chairman of our Board of Trustees."

"Oh," was all Bunny could say as she and Mike followed Ms. Harbuck to one of the large French doors that opened to the patio. Ms. Harbuck swung the door open. Bunny walked up to the door to get a closer look at the event. Just then  . . .

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

The Bathing Costume

Today, I digress from Gallagher and Bunny. This describes the pain (and reality) of yesterday. Full disclosure, this was orginally posted several years ago, however the experience unfortunately has not changed.

The good news is that I am packing for a trip to Caymen. The bad news is that I have to once again face my nemesis - the bathing suit. Ah, the bathing suit, aka swimsuit aka bathing costume aka two piece; that cruel piece of clothing that causes middle age women like me to seek huge quantities of adult beverages and/or counseling.

I stood there yesterday staring at my two swimming costumes (another word according the thesaurus) hating my genes. Why was I not born to age like Christie Brinkley, who at the age of 60, is still courted by Sports Illustrated for their annual swimsuit issue? No, I was destined, or rather doomed, to age like the Pillsbury Dough Boy.

Ten years ago I set my mind to lose weight. And after several years managed to drop 80 something pounds and 12 dress sizes -18P down to 6P. (Isn't the size 18 petite an oxymoron? But I digress.) One of my daily thoughts during that long struggle of slowly losing pound by pound, was that at the end I was going to be able to play beach blanket bingo while proudly wearing a bathing suit for the first time with pride.

But not so fast. No one bothered to tell me that even losing that much weight and suffering years of denial of the good stuff would still not help me over come my battle with that piece of clothing. Oh, the cruel injustice.

So once again I stood there looking at pieces of cloth. I knew someone could do a better job designing one that made middle age women feel better when they donned it. Lands End does a good job, letting the shopper pick and choose from a myriad of different tops and bottoms to create a unique suit that the shopper feels best suits (no pun intended) her needs. Still that falls short.

Perhaps nothing short of something created by J.K. Rowling that doesn't change the suit itself, but creates an illusion in the mind of the wearer whom she, too, looks like Christie Brinkley when she dons the suit. In this case, I really think ignorance is bliss. I'm game. Perhaps the Empress can have new clothes after all.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Finally, The Day of the Wedding

The weather Saturday morning was perfect and the forecast promised the warm sun to continue into the afternoon.  So, the day of the wedding had finally arrived. Bunny was very nervous about the final details for the reception since it was at Ivy Lane. Mike walked around the house from the driveway.  She looked up, "Oh, thank God you are here. I am so scared that something will go wrong."

"What can go wrong? Lavinia is handling the flowers, Lue Ellen is making the cake, and the food is being catered by Hattie and the Tea Room."

"I guess it will all be OK."

"It will, I promise."

Bunny looked at Mike, "I am so excited."

"About what?"

"The wedding, I just love weddings." She laughed, "Of course those other than mine."

Mike just smiled. He could only imagine her as a bride.

"But we're not going there. Thank God that is behind me."

Mike just laughed. One never knew what Bunny would say. Then he got a bit serious. "You never told me exactly why you are hosting Kathleen and Jeb's reception."

As they walked across the lawn, Bunny shared the story of Kathleen's nightmare, going into details of some of the issues Kathleen had had with Dixie.

"Since the reception will not be until 4 this afternoon, let's go to brunch."

Bunny protested, "I can't leave this place. What if something happens?"

"Didn't we just discuss Lavinia, Hattie, and Lue Ellen handling the details? After all what can go wrong? We'll be back well before the reception."

"Do I need to change clothes?" Bunny asked looking down at her black "Galloping Gallagher Goats" sweat shirt and leopard leggings. And her hair was a mess."

Before she could protest, Mike took her hand, "Let's go. You don't want to be late getting back."

Bunny shook her head,"I guess it will be OK. Let me check with everyone here to see if they need me."

Everyone assured Bunny that the preparations were in order and she had nothing to worry about. Mike opened the passenger door of Bunny's Mercedes for her. Then he got behind the wheel and they drove down the long drive and turned right on the county road.

"So where are we going? What's the secret?"

Mike kept his eyes on the road, "No secret, it's just a great place for brunch." He looked at her, "When was the last time we had brunch out of town."

"Out of town? Mike you know I have to be back for the reception, and look at how I am dressed. You could have at least given me time to change my top. I just bought a great little black beaded one just to wear with these pants."

Mike had to laugh to himself. 'Pants?' He thought. 'More like something spray painted on. But, that was Bunny and that was one reason he loved her so much.'

The drive was shorter than Bunny feared. She was relieved since they could eat and she could be back in plenty of time. Mike turned off the  main road through large wrought iron gates that led to a tree lined drive.

"What is this?"

"Where we are having brunch - Chateau Belmont."

"I've never been here."

"Well, it's a special place to me. I spent a bunch of time here when I was growing up."

Suddenly Bunny was speechless. Before them was this beautiful castle. It looked like the pictures she remembered in her childhood fairy tale books.

Mike drove the car up to front entrance. A valet was quickly at Bunny's door, opening it for her. Mike spoke a few friendly words to the young man as he handed him the keys to the Mercedes.

Mike put his arm around Bunny's waist as she turned around to look at the landscaped grounds, then back at the castle. She turned to say something to Mike, but he was on one knee, holding a velvet box.

"Brunilda Vontese, will you marry me?"

Bunny was shocked. This was the last thing she expected. She didn't say a word.

"Bunny?" Mike asked, for the first time fearful that this was not a good idea.

"Oh, Mike, yes, yes, yes." Mike should have known his fears were totally unfounded. Then Bunny was so shocked, she was almost speechless.  However, the silence didn't last very long as Bunny started rattling. "Oh, a wedding! I get to plan a wedding. I want to get married in the fall, and at Ivy Lane. Ivy Lane is prettiest in the fall." She paused, "Oh, I know everyone thinks the spring is better . . ."

He put the ring on Bunny's finger. It was a lovely stone in an old fashion setting. She looked at it and thought, 'This is so much more beautiful that all the jewelry I have at home'.

Mike smiled, "Sweetheart, there is enough time to plan." Before she could get her feelings hurt, he added, "Besides, I'm hungry. Let's get brunch. Remember, you have Kathleen's reception this afternoon."

Suddenly Bunny remembered the reception at Ivy Lane. "How could I forget? We need to eat and get back."

Music floated from a large patio. Both Mike and Bunny turned and their eyes followed the music. 'This place is so romantic,' thought Bunny.

Friday, April 6, 2018

I Love the New Hairdo.

Having not seen the Eldridges for several days, Rayanne decided she needed to pay them a visit. She hoped they were not staying hold up in their house, despondent over shunning the Johnson brothers. Flora opened the door. Rayanne almost did not recognize her. She had never seen either one of the sisters with makeup on, much less their cut in a very stylish look. Both ladies were wearing nice looking casual clothes - a pretty pink sweater set and dress tan colored pants. Even their shoes were new. Rather than the usual athletic shoes, they were both wearing nice leather flats.

Rayanne quickly recovered. "Y'all look so nice. I love the new hairdo."

Sheepishly, Flora replied, "It's going to take getting used to."

Cora added, "Millie promised us it would be easy to care for. We'll see." She paused,"Well, come on in."

Rayanne stepped into the front room expecting the extensive, floor to ceiling, collection of gnomes and gnome paraphernalia. She was surprised, instead of the creepy little people, to see dozens of boxes.

Before she could say anything, Flora spoke,"Excuse the mess, we are packing."

"Please don't tell me you are moving," asked Rayanne. Certainly, she thought, this debacle with the Johnsons had not forced them to feel as if they need to leave town.

They both laughed. Flora answered, "Oh, no." She looked at Cora, as if she was asking for permission to go on. "We just decided we needed to make some changes." She laughed,"The first thing on the list was the little people."

Assuming she was referring to the gnomes, Rayanne said, "But, you have collected them for so long?"

"It is time to move on," said Flora dismissively.

Remembering the reason for her visit - to make sure they did not feel dejected, Rayanne changed the subject. "I just stopped by to make sure the 2 of you were doing OK. I can only imagine how this week has been," she paused. "You know, a bit unsettling."

"We do not need any sympathy. It was our mistake. We were simple fools to think we could find a set of twin men, our age, who would be interested in us." Cora stopped. "Life goes on and so should we."

"Is there anything I can do?"

"No, but we appreciate your concern."

This last statement was more frightening than their new clothes and hairstyles. These women never acted obliged to anyone for anything. Rayanne just smiled. "You know we are here, if we can do anything to help. After all, that is what makes Gallagher so special - we look after each other." The 3 women spoke for a while before Rayanne announced she needed to go.

Rayanne could not wait to call Ella on her way back. "You will not believe what I just saw." She went on to tell her all about her visit with the Eldridges.

Ella's reaction was just,"While I'll be!"

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

But,How Do They, You Know . . .

That evening Wade and Buzz found themselves together at Dot's. Wade told Ike he needed 'something the doctor ordered'. He looked at Buzz, "Make that 2." Ike pulled the bottle from beneath the bar and poured 2 glasses neat. Wade said with a broad smile, "Ike, you are a gentleman and a scholar." All 3 men laughed.

Not knowing what he had been served, Buzz just took a small sip. "Whoa! What the heck?" He turned to Wade, "Is this . . .?"

Wade finished his sentence, "Just what the doctor ordered." With that, he raised his glass in a toast and Buzz followed suit.

"I haven't seen much of you around these days. Wotcha doing with your time."

"Working", replied Buzz. "Business is crazy. Pearce Phinnigan has started sending his people in. I'm not sure what he is doing out there, but it must incredible." Buzz took another sip. "You can always tell the quality of the job based on the supplies they buy. He has artisans from allover working on the project. Heck, he even has 2 wrought iron specialist just to work on the railings and fencing. One guy, who came in just yesterday, is a plaster specialist just working on the ceilings. You ought to see the heavy intricate molding they have had us special order. The order was for several  hundred yards of  different kinds."

"If you have never been there, you should drive out and see it. It was a magnificent estate, by far the nicest one in these parts."

"That's saying something." Buzz said. "Given all the other beautiful places around here."

Wade asked Buzz for another round. He looked at Buzz, "You know the story of the place."

"Not really. I know Pearce is Irish and had heard the place had been abandoned for years."

Ike was drying glasses, listening to the 2 men. Wade asked him, "Ike, you tell him."

"No, sir," Ike smiled, "I think you can do it more justice."

With that Wade started telling the tale of the Fitzgerald family, the division of the wealth, and Faolan's unfortunate incident with Prince.

"Now, that's a story. Where does Pearce come in?"

"Oh, I'm not finished," Wade said as he started the story of Pearce's father coming in and sweeping Gwendolyn off her feet. He went on to tell of them moving to Ireland. Pearce, her only child, was born over there." He paused and took a sip of his drink. "As far as I know, she never returned to the states."

 Ike spoke up, "Now, Gwendolyn, his mother, was one of the prettiest young things to come out of here."

"That's the truth," replied Wade.

"So, he came back, bought the place and decided to restore it?" Buzz took another sip from his glass. "Where did his money come from? That is not a cheap project."

Wade chuckled, "Gwendolyn didn't give her money away to a Saudi prince."

"So, there's no other family?"

"Imogene and Parnell," Ike interjected.

"Really?" said Buzz surprised. "So their father was Faolan?"

"That's right."

"You know every time I think I know everything Gallagher, I learn something new," laughed Buzz as he lifted his glass. "By the way, what's the story of this?"

Wade and Ike traded looks, Wade said, "Just a special elixir, few know about." He paused,"And, for the record, you have never had any of it."

"Your secret is safe with me."

"I hope so," laughed Wade. "Otherwise I'll have to kill you."

Ike shook his head, laughed, and started filling the beer cooler.

"I'm kidding, you know?'

"I sure hope so," replied Buzz a with a large smile.

Kathleen and Jeb walked in. Everyone greeted them. After they spoke, Jed looked at Ike, "We are meeting Bunny and Mike, so we'll take a table."

"Your regular?"

"Yes, sir." With that Kathleen and Jeb found a table and sat down. 

It wasn't long before Bunny and Jeb walked in. They, too, spoke to Wade, Buzz, and Ike. On once again Ike smiled, "The regular?"

"Please sir." They made their way to the table Kathleen and Jeb were at. The 2 were in, what looked like, a fairly intense conversation. 

Jeb stood up and shook hands with Mike. As Mike pulled Bunny's chair out for her, he said, Sure we are not interrupting anything?"

Jeb laughed, "No, just wedding issues."

"Or, rather, Dixie issues," added Kathleen.

They all laughed. Bunny asked, "Oh, Kathleen, it cannot be that bad?"

"Oh, it is worse than bad." Kathleen shared with them what was going on with Dixie and the wedding.

When she finished, Bunny just smiled, "Just remember, you are going to have the wedding you want in the church with the reception at Ivy Lane."

By this time, Ike had brought their drinks and served each of them. Everyone thanked him.

Kathleen looked at Jeb,"And, that is what keeps me getting up each morning." She took a sip of her white wine. "But then my Mama is going to kill me when she learns what we have planned."

"That's bit drastic, isn't it. I mean, I can see her being angry, but homicide is a bit extreme," said Mike.

Jeb laughed, "I am sure it will cross her mind."

Kathleen and Bunny discussed plans for the reception while Jeb and Mike talked about sports. Kathleen smiled and said, "Bunny, you have no idea how much it means for you to offer Ivy Lane to us? I cannot think of a more lovely venue."

"Well, your mother cannot be too angry about the reception. After all, she inquired about using it also."

"True. But, damn, I wish she would just let me plan my own wedding." She took a sip of wine. Changing the subject from herself, Kathleen asked, "Bunny, when, "she looked over at Mike and back to Bunny, "you get married. I know you will want to be married at Ivy Lane."

Bunny smiled and sighed.

Kathleen reached across the table and put her hand on top of Bunny's. "I didn't mean to bring that up. I am sorry, that was insensitive of me."

"No, I want to get married at Ivy Lane, if I ever get married. I am sure that was where Harrison would have wanted our wedding to be." She paused, as if thinking about Harrison. "And, I know he would want me to get married there also. He was just that kind of man."

"Well, he was special, I'll give you that." Kathleen smiled and took her hand back. "Unlike his 2 awful daughters. Talk about the 2 evil step daughters."

"They weren't exactly step daughters. But, I guess you could say that was the closest I have come to being a step mother."

Jeb asked,"Do you ever see them?"

"No, I would be the last one they would want to see."

Jeb continued, "Didn't Belva divorce, what's his name?"

"I'm not sure they are divorced, but I know they are having problems."

Jeb laughed, "I guess so. I'd be a little peeved if I ever learned my spouse was cross dressing and hanging out at transsexual night clubs."

Kathleen, laughing as she tried to take a sip of her wine, added,"He never struck me as the feminine kind. I mean can you see him in a dress?"

Bunny just shook her head. "I don't understand why he would want to do that any way? Just for the fun of it?"

Mike looked at her and with a smile, calmly explained. "He is transsexual." He could tell, by Bunny's puzzled expression she didn't get it. "Some people feel more comfortable as the other sex." She still didn't quite understand. "It's a psychological issue. Even though he was born as a man, he feels more like a woman. He is more comfortable in women's clothes and make up and stuff."

Kathleen added, " Basically, he is a woman in a man's body."

"But," Bunny paused and blushed. "why did he married? How did they have children?"

Jeb looked at Bunny,"Because our societal norms dictate that if you are born a man, you should act like a man."

"I don't understand. Does that mean he doesn't love Belva?"

Mike smiled as he took a sip of his drink,"That's where it gets complicated. I imagine he still loves Belva, but more like a friend, than a wife."

"A girl friend," Bunny said, obviously having to wrap her head around this. "Not like a wife?"

"Probably. But I'm not trying to get into his head. In a way I feel sorry for him," said Mike.

"Why?" asked Bunny.

"Because, I truly believe that some people are born like that."

Kathleen added, "And, they don't get a fair shake."

Bunny sat there, then spoke,"So, if he falls in love, will it be with a man or a woman?"

Mike not wanting to go there, laughed,"Well, that's the conundrum. Can he find someone who will accept her as she is?"

"Or, maybe, just pull it off," added Jeb. Seeing Bunny's expression, he continued. "Bunny, he, or rather she, may fall in love with someone and not tell him who she really is."

"But, "Bunny paused, and looked at Mike, "How would they . . .  you know?"

"Bunny, there are some things, I just don't want to think about. In that case, I am not on a need to know basis."

Everyone at the table laughed. If nothing else, Bunny was entertaining. As the conversation continued, they could tell she was still thinking about this.

Kathleen filled them in with some humorous stories about her mother and the wedding. They were quite entertaining. Mike and Jeb both died laughing at the stories. Finally Kathleen stopped,"Yeah, it's funny to you. I'm the one who has to live the nightmare." 

Jeb reached over and kissed her. "But, just keep in mind, in a few weeks this will all be over."

They heard the door of the bar open and turned to see Haynes and Colleen walk in. Immediately, Mike stood up and invited them to sit at their table. They came over, exchanged pleasantries and had a seat.

Bunny could not help but admire what Colleen was wearing. 'She is the most fashionable person I think I have ever met.' She looked at Colleen and said, "I just want to tell you, that you are one the best dressed women I have ever seen. Why, you could be a model in one of those fancy clothes magazines." She paused, then added,"I know this sounds odd, but you are one of the most beautiful women, I have ever seen. What is your secret"

Colleen smiled and quietly said, "Thank you Bunny. You have no idea, how good that makes me feel."

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Ah, yes.

Rayanne  remembered fondly:
"I remember that argument well.  She had been seeing Dr. Smith for years and saw no reason to see anyone else. I failed to agree.
          'Mama, you really need to start seeing Dr. Brunson.' 
          ''But, I'm fine. Dr. Smith takes good care of me. He has for years.' 
          'I know, for something like 50 years. He must be in his 80's.'             'He is 81.' 
          'How are you seeing him any way, he closed his office years ago?' 
          'Oh, I see him in Sunday School. If I ever need him, he is always there.'
          'What happens if you need him any other day of the week?' " (The New Doctor)

Ella replied,  "All of this reminds me of a wedding I went to years ago. Actually it was the rehearsal that was memorable. The wedding was at a country church way back in the sticks. Most folks had shoes on for the rehearsal; however, several of the groomsmen came in coveralls wearing no shirts underneath, but they all had teeth. Almost everyone was drinking one type of alcoholic beverage or another they had in their car. We were drinking libations legally bottled and unlike most of the group, ours were not being served from a mason jar or some vessel that formerly contained mayonnaise." 

Visiting the home of the Mother of a Bride to see the gifts the couple had received was a tradition in the south when I got married.  In fact it was more of a social occasion. In some ways it was a competitive sport. There were two sides -offensive and defensive. Offensive was the Bride's Mother with the gifts on display somewhere between a dowry - the spoils of the game and a TV show prize bank. Defense was comprised of the individual guests and the gifts they sent. One was truly judged by their gift. And if you cared about such you better make sure you sent an appropriate gift, because the game was on.

          There was a hierarchy of gifts. A place setting in the Bride's formal china, a piece in her sterling silver pattern, or four (or more) pieces of stemware in her fine crystal were considered premium gifts. Depending on the competition in the above category, in close contention followed a place setting in the Bride's everyday china, a complete set of pots and pans (copper bottoms only), a linen table cloth and twelve matching napkins (white only), a pair of crystal candlesticks, a set of sheets, or an original piece of art. A casserole dish, a small appliance (such as an electric can opener or hand held mixer), single piece of everyday china, or place mats were placed on a separate table, displayed as if they were consolation gifts. (The Competitive Game of Gifts)

Then there was Della's comment:
"That's right - you heard it here. I don't fry chicken. I stopped trying a while back. I could never get it right. Didn't matter who tried to teach me, what cook book I was reading, what TV show I was watching (even when I was holding my nose right - as my aunt once told me you had to do). I never learned to fry chicken.

While I'm confessing, I might as well tell you I cannot make a good biscuit. I can make any kind of bread from scratch - yeast, sour dough, soda, it doesn't matter, but biscuits - can't do it. My grandmother made the best little biscuits in the world. So much so that when her kitchen things were divided up there was a major free-for-all among the five grandchildren over the holder she put the biscuits in to keep them warm. Anything, we thought that would help us replicate those delicate, delightful Redband (she only used Redband) flour biscuits. But thanks to Modern Marvels, Pillsbury has saved me (and possibly my marriage) with their frozen biscuits.

For years, I could not cook collards in a respectable manner. My mother told me I needed to cook them twice - and add sugar - that was the secret. My mother-in-law's cook, Clemmie,  told me that sugar was a "no no" and you just "throw them in a pot of water, bring them to a boil, lower the heat to simmer, and cook 'til done." (Please define "Done" - I need some help here.) Finally, I found a recipe that worked for collards (that's humilating to admit). I bet I'm the only southern women who uses a recipe to cook my collards. "Season to taste and cook 'til done" just didn't cut it with me when it came to collards. When you are dealing with one of the trinity of southern cooking, one cannot take a chance.

I am about as southern as the best of them but I was beginning to think this was some special club and no one was showing me the secret handshake. You are telling me I can make a souflee to die for, a flan that will make one swoon, cajun chili chicken with lime that will seduce your taste buds, but I cannot dredge a simple piece of chicken in flour and cook it in hot oil. Come on now, I'm from "good family". . . and I never wear white shoes after labor day. What other proof do you need?" (I don't Fry Chicken)

Greatest fools are the most often satisfied. - Happy April Fools Day!!