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The Honeymooners 

This was her story. Took some liquor and even more time to get it, and it wasn't even sought. But it came spilling out anyhow, and everybody within hearing distance got splashed.

Her father was the kind of man who, when 12 years old and after encouraging his older and slower-witted brother, stole two crop-duster planes during the intermission of an air show in a small town in Depression Mississippi.

Once the gusty bandits were airborne and had been having a good time for 10 minutes, it dawned on them that they were in big trouble. Still thinking to avoid detection, the instigator waved his brother toward the next Mississippi town, 10 miles away.

Unluckily, everybody from his home town was already there, even his father, when they set the crop-dusters down in a sandy and hilly field owned by a stiff-necked farmer. There were two parallel wire fences at the far end of the field, and her dad tore a wing off the plane while plowing through both of them. He climbed grinning from the cockpit.

That's the kind of man her father was, and a man capable of such nonsense knew nonsense when he saw it. But he married her mother anyway, even though it was the most nonsensical thing he could have done. She had a ridiculously small amount of nonsense in her, coming from a family ruled by maiden aunts.

Whenever the subject of sex surfaced in her father's drunken talk, her mother would flash her a someday-you'll-have-to-put-up-with-it-too look. How her mother and father had ever gotten to that point themselves was never explained to her. Her father, who talked of everything, wouldn't discuss it. He mother simply added it to a long list of things she wouldn't discuss.

Father and mother, each for their own reasons, spoiled her badly, and she grew up to do everything she was supposed to do at precisely the age she was supposed to do it. Class treasurer, senior cheerleader, frosh sweetheart for an agricultural school fraternity and, finally, at the proper time, bride-to-be.

This is how her mother talked about the coming wedding: "There was a Clark Gable movie -- I think it was named Adventure -- where Greer Garson says, 'A girl can never win; she can only hope to hold the score down.' Please remember."

Her father just sat in his easy chair with a glass of Old Forester nearby, twisting the high school senior ring that he never took off round and round. Finally, he just said, "I hope you're picking better than your momma did."

But her fiance stayed in their home town while she was away at college, and then she was dating the fraternity vice president without letting him know she was engaged.

The fraternity vice president turned up unexpectedly at her parents' home one weekend. Her father astutely explained the situation to the vice president, a nice boy. Her mother astutely explained the situation to her, saying that she had either get married or get employed. She would not be permitted conduct that would in the tiniest way upset the maiden aunts who ruled the maternal side of her family.

So she married the hometown boy. Loving her father and irritating her mother, still a virgin. At the wedding altar, she looked around at all the serious faces. Clergyman, bridesmaids, her new legal mate most especially. She looked at all those serious faces and began to giggle. The more she giggled, the more serious all the faces became. She giggled throughout the whole ceremony.

That night at the honeymoon suite, she locked herself in the bathroom and started to unpack. Her honeymoon bedclothes, layers and layers of frilled and lacy things, were gone from her valise. Mischief-minded bridesmaids has swapped them for a pair of red panties with a black heart sewn on the front.

She sat on the toilet with her chin in one hand. The new groom eventually knocked on the door. She did not answer. From time to time, she would lift the valise, thinking that the missing bedclothes would now show themselves, and she and her husband would be chuckling at this wonderful wedding hoax.

The new groom was terribly patient and indecisive. He didn't try to break the door down, but he periodically and politely knocked on the bathroom door and called her name. Every time she heard the knock on the door, she would shut her eyes tightly and draw her knees up. Once, against the inside of her shut-tight eyes, she saw her father sitting in his easy chair. He had a tumbler of Old Forester in his hand and his shoulders were shaking, but she couldn't tell is he was crying or laughing.

The new groom knocked at the bathroom door for more than three hours before he got into bed and pretended to sleep. She waited another 30 minutes before she climbed into bed next to him and pretended to sleep.

She's been divorced for more than three years now, and she spends her nights promiscuously or she spends them alone.

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