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Work Boots ‘n Dancin’ Shoes

Posted by Les Becker on January 16, 2008 in The Landlady |

Work Boots n Dancin' Shoes

Elle, from Maxwell the Tattooed Boy and Other Astounding Joys, wrote about her grandmother in a post yesterday. Her Grandma was a Flapper in the Roaring Twenties, a time that fascinates me (I’m in – okay, mostly out of, lately – the midst of a novelish-type project about those days).Suzi wondered in Elle’s comments what Ruby’s take on flappers might be. I have to say, I wondered, myself, once Suzi put the bug in my ear.

I didn’t even get the chance to ask, though, before Ruby started on about her Mom again…

My mother used to tell this story over and over, when I was a kid. She had us laughing every time she told it…

There was a dance every weekend when my mother was a girl, and that’s where all the young people went to socialize. There’d be fiddle-players and sometimes somebody would bring an
accordian, and everybody would square-dance. It was at these dances that all the girls “caught” their husbands, mind you, sometimes a girl had to keep fishing awhile before she caught the one that suited her.

There was always a hoity-toity girl in the bunch, too, that just enjoyed the fishing part. There was this one girl that was just too good for most all the boys, but that didn’t stop them from sniffing around. She always thought too high of herself, and always had her hair done just “so”, you see. Always dressed to the nines, and acting like she was better than the rest of them. The girls all hated her, except for the few that she buddied with, and they were a little uppity, too.

Me: What was her name?

I don’t think my mother ever said. If she did, I don’t remember.

Me (writing furiously, of course): Should I just call her“Diva”, then?

What’s that?

Me: Well, properly, I guess it’s an Opera singer… but people sometimes use it to refer to a woman who acts like that. You know, with like, a Prima Donna attitude?

You mean “uppity”?

Me (laughing): Yeah, I guess so.

“Diva” works, then. This girl was the most uppity little snit my mother’d ever met. She always brought her brother with her, just in case there wasn’t anybody there good enough to see her home. Just uppity.

And there was this fella my mother knew who was a little simple. Wasn’t stupid, mind you, just a little…. slow, I s’pose you’d say, but he was a real nice fella. He was at every dance, never missed a one, but he didn’t seem to have the sense to clean up much before hand. But he worked hard, and like I say, he was a real nice fella. That should have counted for him, not against him, my mother always thought. His name, I do remember – it was Joe.

Diva, now, wouldn’t have nothing to do with Joe at all, probably on account of his being a little grimey, but my mother always maintained it was on account of he had a lisp. She said every time he opened his mouth, the conversation got a little comical. You’d have a hard time keeping a straight face at a funeral, if Joe spoke to you, I guess.

Joe didn’t much like Diva, either, but somebody at the dance one night dared him to ask her to dance. Joe wouldn’t turn down a dare for anything, so he marched right up and asked her, “Would you take the nekth danth with me?”

Of course, Diva turned him down flat, and she wasn’t very polite about it, either. Joe took offense to that and smarted right back at her, “Well, fine! You can kith my ath, then!”. Right in front of all her friends! And then he marched away again.

Well! (Ruby claps her hands and laughs) Diva didn’t like that one bit! She went off to find her brother and told him Joe had just insulted her, and of course her brother hunted Joe out and told him off. He was a big guy, too, and when he told Joe he owed his sister an apology, well, Joe just agreed that he’d take care to apologize first chance he could. And he did, too.

(Pause while Ruby starts laughing again)

He went marching back up to Diva and her gaggle of friends and said to her, “Thay, Mith… You don’t have to do that there that I told ya… me and your brother made different arrangementh.”

Me (laughing): I wonder if he got beat up on the way home.

(Ruby – still laughing) I always kind of wondered that myself!

Random Song for the Day: “Rats” – Pearl Jam

 

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