Thursday, May 10, 2018

It was Most Unfortunate

Dixie decided the best thing she could do was call Luigi and schedule a session that morning. After that, she would go to the Tea Room for lunch. It was so popular, there were always friends there she could  lunch with. Knowing full well that most people at the reception Saturday night saw her unfortunate 'melt down'. Although she knew comments would be made, one advantage about living in a small community was in the end, everyone seemed to understand and would offer support.

Her workout with Luigi was just what she needed. Afterwards, she felt better about herself and was energized. She reflected on Saturday night and realized she never listened to what Kathleen wanted. Dixie was so focused on making sure the wedding was just the best one she could plan. What she remembered of seeing Kathleen's wedding gown at the reception was that it was simply gorgeous. Maybe she should be proud that her daughter was willing to find a gorgeous designer gown for such a low price.

Now that she thought about it, a church wedding could have been just as pretty. And, she had to admit the reception at Ivy Lane was about everything she wanted her daughter to have. But, that was all water under the bridge. All she could do was move forward. Dixie made a mental note to write Bunny, thank her for sharing Ivy Lane, and complimenting her on the party. 

When she entered the Tea Room, there seemed to be a hush. Dixie thought, no doubt, that was due to everyone wanting to ask her about Kathleen and the wedding. She stood at the reception desk, talking with Blanche. Certainly one of her friends would motion for her to join them. There were several tables of friends. But no one did. Even though everyone watched as she walked in the door, no one was giving her eye contact now. Realizing it was worse just standing there, she asked Blanche to seat her at a small table by the window.

Grice brought her a cup of her favorite tea and a small menu of the daily offerings. Dixie thanked her and busied herself adding sugar and lemon to her tea. Now, she just wished she had never come. Several minutes later Caroline walked over to her table. "Good afternoon Dixie, may I join you?"

"Certainly. I haven't seen you in a while, how are things going?"

"Things are okay." She smiled, "I just wanted you to know that Blanche and I are very supportive of you. You'll get through this. The idea that it was published on the front page, above the fold, was most unfortunate."

No wanting to deny anything, Dixie sincerely thanked her.

Caroline looked around the room which she could see from the table without moving her head, "Don't worry about how everyone is acting. I think they just don't know what to say."

"Maybe so," Dixie, not looking up at Caroline as she buttered her biscuit. "I just hoped no one here would have seen the Afternoon Daily Press. It has never been a popular paper."

"Nor one most folks take seriously."

"Caroline, I haven't even seen the paper. I just got a call last night from a friend in Mobile. Her description of the photo was bad enough."

"Dixie," she laughed, "I can assure you that there is not one lady in this room who has not found themselves in some embarrassing situation and done something she regretted. Something that brought her some humiliation. And, you had an excuse, what mother would not be furious and hurt to learn that she was not told about their daughter's wedding and missed it. And, there was a significant amount of champagne involved."

Dixie smiled, "I guess so, but there is still no excuse."

"Trust me, the only difference is that the little dalliance or embarrassing moment wasn't published on the front page of the paper." She paused and placed her hand on top of Dixie's. "Did you know that Millie had too much to drink one night. She had a knock down drag out fight with her husband. Millie was so mad that she ran out of the house wearing a very revealing negligee. The neighbors had heard the ruckus and were all heading toward the house, when they ran into Millie running down the street. One neighbor had called the Sheriff and before anyone could do a thing, the Sheriff arrived.

Thankfully Sheriff Quinton is a good man. He helped Millie's husband get her back into the house. He politely asked the neighbors not to make a lot about it. Things happen."

"I never heard that one."

"I'm not spreading rumors, I just want you to understand this is not the end of the world."

"There was a more humorous incident, well humorous for everyone but Blanche Jackson. Blanche had been playing tennis. She invited the other ladies to join her at her home for afternoon drinks." Caroline shook her head. "However, Beau did not know she was coming home and was having some 'afternoon delight' with a debutante from Mobile."

Dixie was shocked, "Really. But, surely none of her friends would have said something."

"No, they didn't. But later, the young lady was out drinking with her friends and told them about it. Seems one of the friends shared it with her mother, who happened to be known as the 'Gossiper' of Mobile. She felt the need to share, much to Blanche's embarrassment."

"Oh my," was all Dixie could say.

"Then poor Adair Butler learned at one of the lawn parties at Holly Hocks, that Clark was seeing someone else. Millie, of all people, was upset with Adair over something minor. She decided to seek revenge, so she announced Clark's extra curricular activities to everyone as they sat down for dinner."

"What in the world did Adair do?"

"Being the southern lady we all know Adair is, she ignored the remark and carried on the rest of the evening as if nothing was wrong."

"But did any of their friends ignore them? I doubt it."

"Well each one of them found themselves walking around town for a week or two, with no one making eye contact with her. And groups scattering when she approached." Caroline smiled, "Trust me, at worse, if everyone is going to be an ass about it, there will always be another scandal that will turn their attention elsewhere."

"I can only hope. My worst fear is that Kathleen will never forgive me."

"Don't worry about that. Kathleen is a fine young lady who loves you dearly. I cannot see this as a permanent riff between the 2 of you."

"I hope so."

Just then they heard the bell on the door jingle as another guest came in. It was Iris Barker. She spoke with Blanche and then headed toward Dixie and Caroline's table.

"Oh, Dixie is there anything I can do? I, of all people, feel your pain. But it did not take long after I was rescued from the Sanatorium, to be welcomed into this town. And, I have read nothing about you being paranoid or possessed. Nor did I hear anything like your pointing a gun toward a Deputy Sheriff." Iris laughed, "Think about that. And, we all have our secrets to hide, just some are hidden better than others. Life is too short to let this ruin you."

"You have no idea how much I appreciate your support. I feel as if both you and Caroline have saved me."

"That's what friends are for," smiled Caroline.

"Have you had lunch yet? I'm famished," Iris asked.

With that, Caroline excused herself to help Blanche as the restaurant began to fill. Iris and Dixie had an enjoyable life. Dixie could not help but appreciate that she did not know Iris very much before today, and yet Iris had reached out to her in this most terrible time. What a lesson Dixie had learned from all this.

Meanwhile at the Rental Company, Della and Vivian spent the first hour or 2 that morning, doing nothing but talking with Bunny about Saturday. They only stopped when they were interrupted by 'Miss' Ella.

Without even saying 'Hello', 'Miss' Ella walked in. "Oh, dear this is terrible." She was holding a copy of the Afternoon Daily Press. "Have you seen this?"

Everyone said they had not. 'Miss' Ella unfolded the newspaper on Della's desk. There was an audible 'Oh. my!' from the girls. 

"Who took this picture? How did it get in the paper?"

"I must have already left before this happened, 'Miss Ella' said.

"Is was most unfortunate," said Vivian as she looked closely at the photo. "I was hoping this would just go away and everyone would realize Dixie was drunk and beside herself about the change of Kathleen's wedding."

"Oh, I agree, everyone should understand that. But this is not what shocked me." With that, 'Miss' Ella turned the page to the third page of the paper. As she did, everyone gasped. 'Miss' Ella just shook her head in dismay, "I found this unimaginable."

Vivian was the first to react, "Oh, no."

Della was stunned and speechless as she read the text.

Bunny just stood there.

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