As I will be away from home all day tomorrow, I guess I had better join the ranks of the early birds this week. I'm sure it's Thursday somewhere!
This week's theme was suggested by - me. (bowing) For more Theme Thursday posts, click here.
I have a story to tell you. It's a story about my sister Gracie - the one I went to visit in Wyoming a couple of months ago.
The story takes place many, many years ago. I flew to Wyoming on that occasion. I arrived on a Monday afternoon. My sister Pam was there, as well. We were all together to celebrate Gracie's fortieth birthday. Back then, we were all so young that we thought forty constituted "over the hill". Little did we know that at forty, we were just starting the climb.
Gracie and Pam picked me up at the airport and took me home to Gracie's house. When we got there, we saw that somebody had propped a 4x8 piece of plywood in the front yard. On the plywood were written the words
"Happy 40th, Gracie!"
in huge letters.
Gracie was not amused. She knew who had posted the sign. It was Barry. Barry lived three doors down. He was a realtor at a time when Wyoming was experiencing a real estate boom, so he suffered from an excess of self-confidence. He had played practical jokes on Gracie before. It wasn't that she didn't like him. He was actually a friend, and his wife, Judy, was a very good friend. What Gracie didn't like was having the fact of her precipitous descent into old age broadcast for the amusement of the whole neighbourhood.
Pam and I pulled my luggage out of the trunk and followed Gracie into the house. She went straight to the telephone and dialed Barry's number. She got his answering machine. She left a short message. "Thank you so much, Barry. I just want to remind you that I don't get mad; I get even." Then she hung up.
Over the next 24 hours, Gracie might be in the middle of cooking breakfast or chatting, and suddenly she would stop and smile; then she would go on about her business. Finally, when she had thought it through, she told us about her plan to get even with Barry.
It seems Gracie was not the only one having a birthday that week. Thursday, she told us, was Barry's 35th birthday. According to Judy, he would be taking part in a realtors' conference at the Ramada. Everybody who was anybody in the rarefied world of Wyoming real estate would be there. With Judy's help, we were going to crash the party.
On Thursday morning, Gracie disappeared into her room, and when she came out, she was wearing a blonde wig reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe. Her face was heavily made up, and high on one cheekbone was a beauty mark that she had applied with black eye liner. She wore a tight, sleeveless metallic dress, fishnet stockings, and those transparent plastic high-heeled evening shoes that were all the rage. She had shoved a throw pillow up inside her dress so that she looked to be about six months pregnant. She was smiling broadly.
We hurried out to the car so that Gracie could get inside without showing herself to the neighbours. Then we drove three doors down and picked up Judy. Together, the four of us drove to the Ramada and found the conference room where the gods were gathered for their mutual admiration luncheon.
From her carryall, Judy pulled a cupcake and a candle. It was one of those candles that won't go out, no matter how hard you blow on them. She struck a match, lit the candle, and opened the door. Gracie walked into the conference room. Judy and Pam and I poked our heads inside just enough to see what was going on. We (particularly the Judy part of we) didn't want to be caught taking part in this caper.
Have I mentioned that Gracie sings? Of course I have. She had a country & western band at one time, and she had performed in public many times. She knew just what to do. She walked slowly across the room, which had gone strangely silent. As she approached him, Barry realized that this apparition was heading his way, and he started sinking into his chair. His torso got shorter and shorter. His head nearly disappeared under the table. He moaned "No, oh please. No." Gracie had no mercy. She sidled up to him, set the cupcake down in front of him, and began to sing. And this is what she sang:
When she had finished singing, Gracie kissed Barry on the cheek (no mean feat, as he had almost entirely disappeared under the table by then) and walked out of the room. We opened the door for her, and she made a slinkily impressive exit. Then we ran for it. We found out later that it wasn't until she started singing that Barry knew who the intruder was. He just knew he was in big trouble.
That evening, Barry called. "Please, Gracie," he said. "I will mow your lawn in the summertime. I will shovel the snow from your driveway in the winter. I'll do anything you like. But please - never do that to me again."
Over the hill? Gracie? Not likely! She was peaking. Come to think of it, I think she still is.
Cupcake clipart courtesy of Designed to a T