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Monday, July 5, 2010

The Memorable Fourth . . .

Evelyn has been very mean to me.

That's one reason why I call her "Mean ol' Evelyn."

Take yesterday for example: It was about 4:30 or 5pm and I smelled a delicious aroma of something that had been freshly baked. I thought I smelled the scent of warm vanilla. Naturally, being the inquisitive sort, I wandered out to the kitchen.

What to my wondering eyes did appear but a cherry cobbler, with white cake mix and then walnuts and coconut on top. Freshly warm from the oven.

At that very moment Evelyn walked in from the garage (you know, that place where she hoards stuff and no one is allowed to see?). I go over, put my arms around her and say . . . "so you baked something special for the most wonderful man in your life! How marvelous! How thoughtful of you!"

She looked at me coolly and said, "Isn't for you. It's for the sorority picnic at Grape Day Park. You can't have any till then."

"Oh," sez me.

"Well, maybe I could have just a little piece now," I pleaded. "You know, just to be sure it tastes as good as it smells. Wouldn't want to disappoint the sorority girls and their hubbies now, would we."

"No," she said, rather firmly.

"But, what if I'm a really, really, good boy. Can I have a piece later? Maybe?"

"Maybe," she allowed. "We'll see."

Well she broke her promise and didn't give me even one tiny slice later. I had to wait until we got to Grape Day Park for the annual 4th of July show. And by then it was no longer nice and warm and not nearly as aromatic.

I shall remember this.

But, for the moment, I forgot . . . because I did get a healthy slice of the cherry cobbler. Someone else had also made a cherry cobbler, and being an equal opportunity diner, I took a slice of hers as well.

Then, Miss Becky, who just makes the bestest Fried Chicken in the entire world (about 10 times as good as The Colonel's) had brought a big batch of her world famous chicken. I told her if she really, really loved me she'd set aside a bit of her chicken for me. Well, I don't mean to suggest that Miss Becky has her eyes on me or anything, but she gave me two plates, one on top of the other to form a clamshell type thingie. Inside, wrapped in aluminum foil, was about eight pieces of delicious chicken! All for me! (I was gonna share that chicken with Miss Evelyn but, well . . . you see how mean she had been to me. I just decided it would be tit for tat. (You should excuse the expression "tat.").

We listened to some gal sing from the stage and she was actually quite good.
Then the stage was filled with mostly older fellas with garrison caps from, I think, WWI and WWII . . . and speaker after speaker began their litany of holiday pronouncements: "Mumble, mumble, mumble, Fourth of July, mumble, mumble, great country, mumble, mumble, celebrate her birthday, mumble, mumble, mumble. Thank you."

Then, the moment I always dread. Some older fella recites "The Tattered Old Flag." He does it every year at the 4th of July and at the Memorial Day Service. He would do it at gas station grand openings and even your birthday party if you let him. And he'd bring along his pal who plays a tired old harmonica in the background. The two together remind me of a very bad, old vaudeville act. They keep getting invited back every year but I haven't quite figured out why. Tradition, I guess.

Finally, the mumbling speeches had ended, the opening and closing prayers had been offered, and someone played taps. Then we just kinda sat around and talked.

I had erred in coming to the park in my Birkenstock sandals, my tennis shorts, and a light windbreaker jacket over a light polo shirt.

It got chilly.

A number of the sorority gals and their hubbies packed up to leave. They left because they had animals, mostly dogs, at home and they knew the animals would go nuts when they heard the fireworks go off.

"Saaaaaaay," I said to Mizz Evelyn . . "we have baby cats (they're no longer kittens) at home. This is the first 4th of July. I think it is probably our Christian duty to pack up and head home to comfort these lovely cats and leave this icy outdoor event."

"You ain't a Christian," Mizz Evelyn said.

"True," sez me, "but I still sees ma duty."

Ere long, she agreed, we packed up and came home. She watched the fireworks on tv, in the comfort of a nice, warm home.

I, as usual, adjourned to my office where I began to write really important stuff, the subjects of which escape me now.

But I was nice and warm, well fed and watered, and I had visited with some nice folks.

Not a bad 4th of July, I decided.

Before going to bed I ate two of Mizz Becky's fried chicken breasts. Yummy.
As a silent protest, I did not eat any more of Evelyn's cherry cobbler.

However, as I write this, it is almost 6am and breakfast time. I think poor Miss Evelyn has suffered enough. I shall now adjourn to the kitchen and have a big slice of her cherry cobbler for breakfast.

It's the least I could do.

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