"Ella, you're one to talk. I don't think black tea with lemon and 2 scones is very adventuresome."
"You can't fool me."
"Don't try to revise history. You know good and darn well that Ernie Baxter never gave you the time of day. He had planned to ask me to the dance for weeks."
"Well, he hadn't done it yet, had he?" Rayanne said as she added sugar to her tea.
"I never understood 'calling cards'. No one had used them since the beginning of the 20th century, must less when we were in school."
"Oh, I think we should still use them," Ella took a sip of her tea. "Think how nice it would be to just leave your card instead of having to visit everyone you were calling on."
"Well first, why would you be 'calling' on someone, when you never planned to see them." She paused and added, "Besides, how many people have service these days to answer the door and take the cards."
"Oh, Rayanne, it's very simple. If you wanted to congratulate one, the left upper corner would be folded. It would also indicate a visit in person (as opposed to being sent by a servant)."
"When was the last time you had 'servants'? And, no, Fanny, your family domestic does not count."
"Well, archaic or not, it was the proper way to call on someone." She paused and gently wiped her lips with the corner of her napkin. "The only reason Ernie was paying attention to you was the amount of champagne punch you had had." She paused again, "He felt sorry for you. He carried you back the dorm to keep from embarrassing yourself. Then you told everyone he had asked you to the cotillion."
"Do you remember how you got home?"
"Certainly not. That many years ago? You can't imagine I would remember that?"
"Well, what would expect, she always was a silly biddie."
"The truth is that I was trying to keep you from making a fool of yourself." Ella took another bite of her scone. "Besides, Matthew Murray asked you to the dance."
"What difference does that make?"
"Oh, come on, that was your first date with him."
"But I still was furious with you over Ernie."
Now that they had that 45 year old tift settled, they carried on with news and gossip. "Oh, Ella, at Colleen's funeral, you should have seen all her friends from Mobile. They were quite a crew."
"I imagine they were good friends, especially to come all the way from Mobile."
Rayanne buttered another biscuit. "I say wearing black - one had this wide magenta sash." She laughed, "And one had this chartreuse bow attached to the back of her black dress that trailed down to the floor."
"I'm really sorry I missed the show."
"Show? It was a funeral."
"Of course but anywhere these 'ladies' go, it is a show."
"What? I don't understand."
"Rayanne, those were drag queens."
"Drag queens? What are you talking about?"
"My guess is, those were Colleen's best friends -they are transvestites?"
"Trans - what?"
"Those were not ladies. Those were men dressed as ladies. I imagine some of them live like women. They were there to support Colleen."
"Colleen was once a man. Surely you knew that?"
Rayanne started to say something, but Ella stopped her, "That was between the 2 of them."
"Oh, of course, certainly not . . " Rayanne said very hesitantly. "I just wondered . . . ?"
"Well, haven't you ever wondered . . ."
"That is living on the edge!"