Sunday, October 09, 2005

Inez Poovey

I hate to write an' tell y'all bad things in this letter.  I usually try to lift your little ol' hearts with the warmth an' humor of my home town of Beloved, Kentucky.  I have spent several hours today after church meetin' an' quite a while on Saturday mornin' at the Henny Penny cornered in a booth with Inez Poovey tryin' to eat my ham an' biscuits with three eggs over easy while she carried on with wailin' an' gnashin' of teeth.

Now, if you remember who is kin to who, y'all will remember that Inez is Birdie Sue Poovey's Aunt, that is to say she is Percival Poovey's sister.  I do remember folks sayin' Inez is older than Percy.  He is 67 but Inez claims to be somewhere in her 50s.  I think that's a road she has been lost on for a right smart while, if you get the meanin' of that.

Anyways, Inez is a spinster woman.  She never got married but devoted her life to the Carnegie Library in downtown Beloved.  Years ago she told Percival, her brother she was havin' a hard time readin' the books in the library an' he suggested she needed glasses.  He first tried a couple bottles of his Dr. Ironbeard's Tincture of Papyrus.  (yes, I may have given away a family secret.  Percival Poovey is none other than the world famous Dr. Ironbeard, purveyor of potent potables an' medicine man to the Crown Heads of Europe.  'Least that's what his medicine wagon says on the side)

Well, Inez never did get no relief with the Tincture, so she talked about gettin' glasses. Her brother saw a big outlay of cash comin' in someone's direction, so he thought fast.  He got him a couple of them little ol' coke bottles, broke the bottoms off an' used his stone wheel to smooth the edges.  He mounted the bottle bottoms in an ol' pair of sun-glass frames - you know, them little plastic ones youngin's wear at the beach an took 'em over to Inez.

When he got to the library he also turned on all the lights.  Seems Inez never turned 'em on before.  She was afraid the electric waves would alter her genetic makeup an' change her into some alien thing or a were-librarian or some such.  When Percival put them glasses on her, an' suggested some librarians looked over the tops of their glasses to actually read, Inez was just plum beside herself.  She could see!

Well, when she looked over the tops of them glasses she could read because the lights were finally on, but her sorry ol' brother weren't gonna tell her that.

So, for years she has bumbled around town, knockin' into folks an' solid objects while tryin' to see through them coke bottle glasses.

About a year ago a brand spankin' new McDonald's came into Manchester, the county seat of Clay County.  Inez took to drivin' over to McDonald's an' gettin' one of them Happy Meals.  Since she was so short anyways, an' wore them children's sunglasses, the folks in McDonald's felt sorry for her an' sold kid's meals to her.

She would sit an' eat her Happy Meal, play with the toy inside the box an' go home to add the toy to her ever growin' collection.  Ever' Saturday afternoon she would drive slowly in her big ol' 1957 Chevy BelAire convertible - the one with the metal whiskers on each side to keep Inez from goin' over too far to either side, all the way to Manchester an' to the McDonald's.

Last April she decided to sit outside an' enjoy the spring air.  She sat on a bench an' ate quietly, as was her habit.  After a while, she noticed a quiet gentleman sittin' on the other end of the bench.  She smiled an' glanced at him through her glasses.  He didn't move away, so she took that as a good sign.

All through April an' into May she sat in the sun an' ate on that bench ever Saturday afternoon.  Y'all won't believe this, but that quiet gentleman joined her time after time.  She took to talkin' to him, tellin' him her life story eventually.  She told him things no one else knew of her, her hopes, dreams, ambitions to be a world class yodeler an' all such things.  He always listened politely an' eventually the conversations got more serious.  He was there ever' time Inez showed up, just waitin' for her.

A woman could have her head turned with that kind of quiet, gentlemanly attention.

Then, when Inez got serious, started talkin' about a future with the feller, he clammed up.  Wouldn't say a word about Inez's new dress, her dye job on her hair, or even how nice the day was.  When she talked of marriage he was silent, unwillin' to make any kind of commitment.

Finally, it was more than Inez could take.  She went one more time to McDonald's, bought her a Happy Meal an' went out to the bench.  There HE was, sittin' quiet like, just waitin' for her.

Inez couldn't take it anymore.  She lit into him an' told him he was not the man for her.  He was too quiet.  A woman needs a little conversation, not just comfort.  She plain ol' read him the riot act.  After she finished, he just sat there, not knowin' what to say, she reckoned.  Inez left, swearin' never to return to McDonald's, for it was no longer a happy place for her.

That's where I came in.  I was there in the Henny Penny eatin' an' sort of flirtin' with Bessie Bowlin', the prettiest gal in Beloved, when Inez came in.  She cornered me, tellin' me the whole story.  Somehow, as I tried to console her, I ended up promisin' to go over on Saturday afternoon an' have a talk with her gentleman friend... if he would show up.  She felt that as heartbroken as he had to be, he would surely be there.

So, I drove over to Manchester an through the McDonald's lookin' for her bench an' her gentleman friend.  She had given me a good description, or as good as it got with Inez, considerin' her bottle bottom glasses.  I drove through the parkin' lot twice before I spied the bench behind some rhodedendrons's in the front.

I parked an' got out, already goin' over what I would say.  I got me a coke an' went out front to find this feller who broke Inez's heart.  I walked to the' was sure taken aback when I got there.

No, they weren't no other woman.  Inez's gentleman friend was sittin' there on the end of the bench.  I knew him from her description.  I actually had seen him many times before.  Her description was pretty dang good, considerin'.

You see, sittin at the end of that bench was a life size fiberglass Ronald McDonald, made right into the bench for youngin's to come an' sit beside for photos an' all.  Sure enough, Inez had described hime well, "red headed, a little pale skinned, like he didn't get out much.  Maybe he drinks a little, his nose had the bright red appearance of a closet drinker.  He has lost weight cause his clothes are Lord love him, he has the biggest feet I ever did see on a man."

I sat for a few minutes thinkin'.  I looked over to Ronald, but he had little to say.  I could see why Inez took to him.  Celebrity is attractive.

I am the one who had to go back an' tell her she was a courtin' a fiberglass statue.  She didn't believe me at first, so I suggested she look over the rim of her bottle bottom glasses at the place-mat I brought home.  There on the place mat was Ronald in all his redhead glory.

Inez demanded I take her over to Manchester an' show her the statue, which I did.  She was just all torn up.  Said she would never trust a man with her feelin's again.

I didn't know she actually did the first time.  Well, she went home to grieve an' I went by a cousin of mine's home for a visit.  I stopped by Cap Hollen's for a cup of coffee an some punkin pie from his wife, Ruthie.  We talked for a while an' Cap agreed with me... first thing he was gonna do on Monday was to move that scarecrow further into his field.

Y'see, Inez walks righ past that field ever' day on her way to work.  We're hopin' she don't notice the scarecrow if it is in the middle of his truck patch.  She don't need no more romance just now.