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Sunday, April 3, 2016

North of Austin - Chapter Eight



Keeping a Secret is Difficult
 
Franklin, my youngest brother started to come and visit me quite often and I couldn’t figure out why.  I asked Abby if she knew why he had all the sudden taken this big interest in us.

She started laughing at me and said; “Silly don’t you know?  It’s Junie.”  She is always here when he shows up and they sneak off to be alone.  She said, “I have known this since it first started. I have told her not to get carried away and let him get too familiar with her and she promised me she wouldn’t but I think you better set Franklin down and lay down the law to him.”

I must admit I felt a little stupid not to have figured that out.  It made me mad to think he was using his visits to have a romantic interlude under my roof instead of going to her house and court her there. If something happened as often does; I would be blamed for the whole thing.

I ranted to Abby about this and she said for me to settle down and show a little understanding about the whole thing. She said, “Just remember back not so long ago when you were coming on strong and how you felt. You were driven by desires you didn’t understand. He is just becoming a man with normal feelings and so far he has acting pretty much like he should at this stage of courting. You know how strong desires can be hard to control and she feels the same way as he does.  Instead of flying off the handle use what wisdom and experience you have and help the soon to be man through this difficult period. They are almost old enough to take the next step and get married so be a friend as well as a brother.”

That little talk from her, straighten out my thinking and I did understand.  When love and lust hook up, young people need a little help to get through that (using the words Abby did) period.

I sat Franklin down to have a good talk with him but he did most of the talking. He said, “June is old enough to get married but everyone thinks I should wait another year even though I’m a year older than she is.  I don’t think I can wait another year for I want to get married now.”

I listened to him for several minutes and finally told him there are several things to consider in addition to; “I want to.”

I told him it hasn’t been so long that I can’t remember what it is like when those feelings overpower our common sense.  Then I went through a whole list of things he needed to consider to have a successful long term marriage.

We discussed how many of the things on the list he had accomplished and found he had done almost none of them. Then I said, “She will be here a year from now and during that year you can prepare yourself to be a husband whether you believe it or not and she needs that time to prepare for being a wife instead of a woman to live with.”

We talked a long time and I promised to be available to answer any question that might come up.  He asked me one more thing to do which was to take Junie aside and talk to her like I did to him so she would understand why it was wise to wait.

I said I would and I did. I told them both that it would be easier to control their emotions if they both made a plan and stuck with it.

Happily they did as I suggested and are now man and wife. They have their own home near the family farm and I had Abner give him the: “How to please a woman” talk which I had found most helpful.

Later Franklin asked me why I didn’t tell him instead of Abner and I just told him Abner has had more experience and I was afraid I might leave out something. I could tell by his expression he was thrilled he had gained the knowledge Abner had imparted to him.

With Franklin getting married that left only Lester being a bachelor. He seemed to be content as he was. The rest of us boys were chomping at the bit to get us a woman but he wasn’t hurting for one like we were.

Some of the wives were asking us boys if something was wrong with him. I didn’t know how to answer their questions so I quieted them down by saying; “Ask him.”

This went on month after month with the interest heating up.  Lester would attend the dances but would just sit there unless some woman would ask him to dance after which he would just go and sit back down.

This was really getting to the wives and they were at the point of demanding that he get him a woman. For the life of me I couldn’t understand why this bothered them so. I asked Pa about it and he said; “There are some things that pertain to women. Things a man can never understand.”

After we sat there quietly he spoke and said; “Don’t concern yourself about them things.” That helped, I guess but I decided to ask Abner and he smiled and said; “At the next dance just watch and observe.”

Well that wasn’t much of an explanation but I determined to do as he said and watch.  I told Abby to watch with me and she said she would. I knew if there was anything to see she would spot it.

I waited and waited and watched and watched and all I saw was Lester had gone to the refreshment counter twice. While getting some punch a young widow also came to the counter and Lester gave her the glass he had filled for himself. Then they both went and sat down.

Later when Abby and I were dancing I noticed the widow had gone over and asked Lester to dance. There were several other women who did the same thing. The evening wore on and the last dance was called and the widow beat the rest of the single women to Lester and they had the last dance together.

After the dance he just turned and walked away as she did. I asked Abby if she figured anything out and she smiled and said, “Yep, I got it.”

I couldn’t believe she saw anything for I had concentrated on him all evening and saw nothing unusual.  Abby was almost laughing now at me and said, “Why don’t you follow the widow home at a distance and tell me what you see.”

I felt like a fool but agreed to do what she said.  As I was following her I was thinking that George my stepfather had followed numerous of people while working for Pinkerton’s.  When she got home she went in and then I saw someone enter the back door in the shadows.

When I arrived home Abby was looking expectantly and asked, “Did you figure it out yet?”

I chuckled and said; “Yes I got it.  He has been seeing the widow on the sly, the devil. With all of these people trying to make something out of him not dating he has them all fooled.”

I asked her if she knew how Abner figured it out and she said: “Just like I did.” Before I could ask how she figured it out she said it was the way he held her and looked into her eyes when they were dancing.  He didn’t hold the other women like that so it was the telltale moves that told off on him.

Later I asked Abner if he thought Lester was going to marry her and he said, “There are complications or they would have already been married.”  He said, “When her husband of four weeks found out he was dying and wouldn’t last but a few days he set up his will so if she got married before one year had passed or even was involved with a man she wouldn’t receive his large fortune.”

I asked him how he knew that and he said, “I inadvertently saw the will on his lawyer’s desk and read it.”

“You snooped on him?”

He said, “No the attorney left it so I could see it so I could warn Lester. There is only one more week left and in two more weeks the expectations of several single women and widows will be dashed for Lester and Missy will be man and wife. This will stop some of the gossip about Lester not needing a woman in his life.”

I had to ask why didn’t you tell me about what was going on and he said; “Do you know the best way to keep a secret?”
I answered and said; “Don’t tell it to anyone?” - -  He said, “Right.”

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Robert for sharing your story with us here at Tell me a Story. The widow was very smart and I am happy a wedding is in the near future for her and Lester.

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