Saturday, July 16, 2005

Stories From The Verandah

from Writer's Blog.

These past few weeks have been so sunny, I thought I'd share a story I found a while back that really makes me think of those days when it's too hot to do anything much but sit outside and sip cool home-made lemonade.

"It was one of those days when the heat shimmered up in waves from the main street only to settle in the air wrapped like a wet wool blanket over the town. A day where the only cool place was nowhere to be found.

Beth didn't mind, it gave her time to sit on the sagging verandah and listen to the old women telling stories of the days when they were fair as Summer roses and as bright eyed as any robin that sang in the early morn'.

Verna was prattling on as usual about all the old beaus, reliving her youth in minute detail, the memories hand tinted and retouched with the passing of time. But
nobody minded; it was just the way Verna was. Everything was bolder, brighter and became a better tale after she'd had time to mull things over, and at eighty-five there'd been plenty of time.

"Those were good times eh?" Mary Jane poked Verna sharp in the arm to gain her attention.

"What? What? Cried Verna, startled into leaning closer to Mary Jane to catch the drift of words missed the first time around. Beth watched them fondly, amusement dancing in her dark eyes.

"Those were good times I said. For heaven's sake Verna turn up your hearing aid." Mary Jane flashed an look of irritation at her sister. Beth shook with silent laughter. It wouldn't do to laugh out loud and hurt the poor biddies' feelings. Verna was so vain and the hearing aid was the bane of her existence.

"Do you mind the time, Mary Jane, when Aubrey and Stan came down to our place late one Saturday night with the Briscoe boys and they climbed in through the kitchen window instead of using the door like normal folks, thinking maybe they could sneak a visit in without Daddy knowin'. Do you mind that time?

Mary Jane chuckled, almost snorted..."And the look on Mother's face when Aubrey landed on the kitchen table smack dab in the middle of the tea and cherry pie she'd set out for Daddy when he got in from helpin' over at Bennett's, they had a sick cow. Remember Verna? Those poor lads they were as red as those cherries and Mother, scolding like a scalded chicken...Oh, I bet they ran for days before they thought it'd be safe to stop."

"And what about George Gran'ma?" Beth couldn't help herself from asking even though she already knew. The story was well and often visited.

"Oh, well now. That George didn't have much polish did he Verna, but he was as kind hearted as the day is long. Mind how his ears stuck out from his head? Daddy always said he looked like a two handled jug. Well, he wasn't pretty but...there wasn't a lot to choose from either."

Verna took up the tale. "He wanted to court your Gran'ma for a long time but just never could work up the nerve to ask Mother and Daddy if he could come callin'. But finally, one day, what ever came over him he just up and landed at the door askin' to come in and visit. Now Daddy wasn't blind, he knew this had been coming so he makes George ask him proper to come for Mary Jane and then sends him on his way. The next day..."

Mary Jane picked up the thread..."The next day Mother helped me get ready for the big event and I was looking as pretty as a peony by the time George arrived. I was all a bundle of nerves, being young and new to courting so I didn't really know what to expect but it sure wasn't George, all spit and polished in a clean shirt and his pants done up at the front with the biggest safety pin you ever saw..." Both the old girls went into gales of merriment at the memory and Beth, pretty as a picture with her cheeks pink from glee and the heat, left them to their girlish chatter and went inside to bring out the lemonade."


Anonymous said...

That's a neat story. : ) And I hope you are going to ignore that ignoramus - pappy by name, pappy by nature!

Mama Mouse said...

Ooooh Pappy sounds like he's not a very happy person!

I think the story was beautiful ... and speaks to me of my olden days and of the tales I heard spun by my mother and HER mother.

Tales to hear over and over and over again.

Thanks for sharing ... it made a tear come to my eye at the same time it made me smile!


Anonymous said...

Thank you to Story Charms for posting this, I'm so pleased you enjoyed it, and a special thanks to your readers who stopped by to share it and comment. Pappy, not every story pleases every reader, so thanks for your honesty :o)