"If that man was a beach towel, I would get sand all over him."

Janet was the epitome of a “Southern Woman”. We all heard about the legend or mystique of southern women. I didn’t understand it in the beginning, but I was curious. I learned “southern woman” was more aptly defined as ANY woman, who lives in ANY region of the world, from ANY walk of life/color/culture, but a woman who is confident and comfortable in her own skin, can laugh and learn from mistakes, takes pride in her home, blindly defends her children or friends, and most of all, LOVES her man. So, it could really be any woman, describing what most thought were ideal virtues of a woman, it’s just that people in the south were describing such a woman. Ahhh, I get it, now. Sooooo, my girlfriend in upstate NY, or my girlfriend in Idaho, are both…. perfect examples of “southern women”. Got it?
Being a friend to Janet was a joy. I looked up to her, she was about 10 years older than me. I wanted to be like her, and she taught me everything…. about southern womanhood…. she could tell a dirty joke better than a sailor, smoke a cigar, but laugh like a little girl with a contagious lilt in her voice.  Janet was about 5’2″, a size 6, fine looking woman, with short blond hair and and blue eyes. She wore dark blue contacts to make her eyes pop. She collected great estate quality jewelry and was a terrific cook. After going through a brutal divorce, with her kids grown and now in college, Janet became a pharmaceutical rep. She started her life over again and had nothing left to prove. This time, she meant to have fun.
Janet lived at least 100 miles south of us but her sales territory included our B&B. Janet started as a guest. She arrived for the first time, in August. With temps in the upper 90’s and humidity to match, she was desperate for air conditioning and a crowbar to peel off her pantyhose. I showed her to her room and returned to the kitchen.
Mother-in-law arrived, as usual, carrying a clear plastic insulated mug, filled with a triple gin martini with a dozen olives swirling in the ice like alien eyeballs. Cocktail hour had begun. I was making dinner, not drinking, because I still had guests to check-in. Mother-in-law prattled on but I wasn’t paying attention to her questions when Janet breezed through the kitchen door with a question about where to go for dinner. Mother-in-law rounded the corner, fresh from the bar, after making her second (triple) martini. “Would that be a fine gin you might need help carrying?”, said Janet to MIL. Sensing a drinking buddy, MIL and Janet went back to the bar. Janet emerged with a scant single martini and parked herself on the kitchen stool. She was “in”.
Like “death and taxes” there are unwritten rules at our house. Once a guest wanders into the kitchen and parks themselves on the stool…….. they never really leave. They become part of the house….., part of the family….., fall under the protection of the house…., and unconditionally loved…. despite warts or frailties. The kitchen stool was stolen from Grandma Della’s house. Della was only 4’11” and had to have a stool to reach anything. The steps were black plastic and the seat pad was covered in orange/avocado daisy-print, straight out of the early 70’s. I used the stool because our ceilings were so tall. Over the next hour, I checked other guests in, and finally, poured myself a glass of Zinfandel. Janet also switched to Zin. Mother-in-law left, but Janet remained and helped me make dinner, completely comfortable in my kitchen. With dinner in the oven and a luscious antipasto platter in hand, Janet and I retired to the side porch to wait on my husband to come home for dinner. Of course, Janet stayed for dinner.
Over the next year or so, Janet became a regular; our side porch was our perfect perch to people watch and swap stories. The side porch was unusual but represented exceptional architectural planning. The house is surrounded by large oak trees and the side porch is on the southeast corner, protected from strong sun and the heat of Mississippi summers. Husband rigged up some heavy chains from the beams and I hung enormous Boston Ferns. We outfitted the side porch with loads of interesting plants and tidbits. I bought a cheap little fountain and a side fan. The side porch was a mini-oasis and because of all the greenery, no one on the street could tell anyone was sitting there.
Janet often stopped to say hello, even when she wasn’t staying. As we became closer, we often catered lunches and presentation style dinners for her pharma. One year, MIL made 26 scratch coconut cakes for Janet to deliver to her doctor clients.
Janet stopped one day, after making rounds in town, to change clothes before going home. We were on the side porch, sharing a glass of wine, when Ron (another guest) “came home” (to the B&B) from work. Janet spotted him rounding the corner and watched him walk. She narrowed her eyes and said, “If that man was a beach towel, I would get sand all over him.” and then, “He’d have to shake me off.
I put down my wine, and took a long look at my girlfriend. She had never spoken about a man in such a way. He definitely had her attention. Of course, I had to find a way to get the two of them together. “Who was that?”, she asked. I explained……
……. Ron and his daughter were living with us, for about three months, on and off while he closed up his other house. He was “transferring” to our town. We helped him with realtors, furniture, and his Gothic, pink-haired, 16yr old daughter. Ron fought for and won custody of his daughter. The ex-wife was a mess. I continued……..
…… Ron was the new division President of a local plant and looked like a walking advertisement for Brooks Brothers. He was shy and private. Yes, he was handsome, had a razor sharp wit, and at odd times, could be unbelievably charming. Grandma Della was here, knew Ron, and opened the door for him one day. He hugged her, and she commented about how good he smelled. Ron slid his arm around her again, grabbed her close, looked deep into her eyes, and said, “Are you kidding? If I was 75yrs old, I would be chasing you.” Grandma Della’s knees buckled a little bit. Ron made my grandmother blush. From that moment on, Ron could do no wrong according to Grandma Della. And Janet could do no wrong with Mother-In-Law.
They were a match made in heaven. It was meant to be.
Janet grinned like a Cheshire Cat. A man who was kind to Grandma Della, and needed help raising a daughter, was exactly the kind of man for her. Janet made her decision. She wanted him. We needed a plan and a little bit of help from above.
Because Ron and his daughter went back and forth and Janet was not always here, getting them together took a few weeks. One week, Ron came back by himself, I called Janet, and she was close by. The two met, briefly. Instant fireworks. The next morning, Ron asked about her. I said, “Oh, I don’t know Ron. You’re going to have to chase that one. She’s a thoroughbred.” I let my voice trail off and slinked back to the kitchen. Naturally, that just peaked his interest.
Couple weeks later, someone sent Ron a 25lb box of giant Alaskan Crab Claws. Ron had it shipped to our house, and called me to tell me it was coming. He invited husband and I to partake, if I would cook. He suggested we had “Soooo much” it might be nice to share…., and maybe I should call Janet. Oh, you betcha, I called Janet.
We ate on the side porch, on newspapers, with our hands, with fresh asparagus and scratch Hollandaise, crusty bread with a pound of melted butter. What a meal! There was obviously a LOT going on between the two of them, but Janet did not stay that night… too awkward and a good call.
Week or so later, Janet came in, super-late and had to leave super-early. I was making breakfast and she slipped down the back stairs to see me. She was having problems with a back zipper and needed “girl” help. I gave her a “hang on” sign. Same time, Ron barged into the kitchen, looking for early coffee. Ron didn’t know Janet was here and Janet didn’t know Ron was here. It wasn’t even 6:30am, yet. I winked at Janet….
…. I looked at Ron, shrugged my shoulders, and asked him to do me a favor, please. “My hands are all dirty, and she’s all clean and pretty, would you please….. ZIP HER UP.”
He froze. Three-four steps across the kitchen floor, Janet turned around and presented her back to Ron. I watched him. He held his breath. He zipped her up, then, he hooked the eye at the top. She turned, said, “Thank you very much.”, and out the back door she went. I watched him exhale. His hands were shaking a little. That poor boy hadn’t touched a woman in at least five years. He was smitten.
A few weeks later, the DA in the next county was having his annual house party. His wife was young and spectacularly beautiful, ……which meant other women in town didn’t like her……, which made me stick up for her. She was a wonderful woman. I told Ron about the party and said it might be good for him to go, get familiar with the locals. He asked me if we could invite Janet. We did and it was their first date. My husband teased Ron that he needed a chaperone. The two men got along beautifully.
In the game room at the DA’s house, Janet picked up a pool cue, “I always wanted to learn to play pool.” What????? Janet and I played pool; she was a shark. Of course, Ron offered to help her learn to hold the cue, etc. It was sweet. She sank the ball and let out a 12 syllable long, “Daaaahhhhaammmmnnnn, how did I do that?” Ron’s knees gave way and he whimpered a little. He was a strong and commanding man at the peak of his career. When it came to Janet, he was cooked. Put a fork in him.
The two spent the night but Janet left before breakfast. What I don’t know won’t hurt me. None of my business. BUT – all afternoon, Ron sat at the head of the dining room table, writing Christmas cards. He was staring out the windows. Distracted. Thinking. Finally, I walked into the other end of the dining room and asked him if he was okay. He looked at me and set his jaw, “I’m going to marry that woman. I can’t imagine my life without her.”…. and she adored him.
As a bonus, Ron asked for my help to pick out Janet’s ring, which was perfect for Janet because our tastes were so similar. I called our diamond broker and he came to the house. We picked out the perfect ring. They were married in front of our fireplace. Husband and I stood up for them and they’ve been married 20yrs.
End.
 
 
 
 
 

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GA/FL

A super-sweet love story…..
This came to mind…..
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjsO7V24PqY

Jan Phillips

But GA/FL, in Ron and Janet’s case it might be more like June and Johnny’s “We Got Married in a Fever…Jackson!!”

Jan Phillips

Daughn, I LOVE it!!!!! Sitting and waiting for my hubby after a week of him being gone – I just melted at the story!!! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

pgroup

Every time my darling wife gets together with one (or more) of her galpals, it’s both quiet time and anxiety time.
Quiet time while they’re gone and anxiety time wondering what they will do that’s outrageous.

GA/FL

Just be glad you haven’t had to post bail…. I hope!

Cuppa Covfefe

Just have a look at Moms’ night out 🙂
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q2gnLXW7X-0

itswoot

As always, another great story. Thank you.
“One more thing,” Jack added. “The only piece of advice an old codger like me can give you—learn something new every day, or that day’s a failure.”
– The man with the four-barreled rifle

Gil

Thats the kind on romance story that keeps people going.sniff.comment image

Cuppa Covfefe

Reminds me of my “Ludwig von Blumen” that I had when I was young. He was a dog with a human personality.
He was a miniature Dachshund who loved the HUGE Milk-Bone dog biscuits (which stuck Wayyyyy out the side of his mouth), and also love corn-on-the-cob (same thing). Funny to watch him eat it. Never had or saw a dog with such a sense of humour. Not yappy or difficult at all…
He’d sing (OK, howl), but only to two songs, both from “My Fair Lady”: “I’ve Grown Accustomed To Your Face”, and “On The Street Where You Live”. Anything else, no matter what musical, concerto, or accompianment I was working on, wouldn’t merit his “vocal” efforts 🙂
Man’s best friend. Indeed!
My son wants a dog now, but since we have open stairs, we’d need a dog that could fly. Being an OCD neat freak who wouldn’t mind vacuuming once or twice a week wouldn’t be bad either 🙂
Are there any flying Terriers?

Gil

You need a wire hair or something along those lines. I had wiener dogs as a kid then graduated to beagles. Hounds are a lot of work but full of personality. 😊

redlegleader68

God knows I really love your stories … being Southern born I so relate to them. My grandmothers/fathers, great aunts, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.etc. seem to always show up in your stories.
Don’t stop writing, please! — oh, and I’m still waiting for my apple pie! 😉

trumpismine

Another do the heart good story dw24/7. Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing indeed.

Cuppa Covfefe

Great and happy story, Daughn. You have a great talent of not just painting a picture, but creating a mood and an atmosphere, and describing people in just a few words. A rare ability indeed.
You say you’re not originally a “Southern Gal”, but your storytelling ability (and your hospitality) seems to say otherwise 🙂
And “Would that be a fine gin you might need help carrying?” Geesh. Now I need a G&T. STAT.
Darn, don’t have any Tanqueray to hand… Gynnan Tonnix all round then (H/T Douglas Adams)…
Fascinating all the different talents and people in the Q-Treehouse. Thank you Wolf for creating this place!

cthulhu

So, what are the chances that Ron is going to read this and go…..”WTF?!?!?”

cthulhu

I concur with many other commenters here — you need to write a book.

Gail Combs

daughn
WRITE!!!! Do not work about organization. That can come later. JUST WRITE!!!
I suggest you take a look at “All Creatures Great and Small” by British veterinary surgeon Alf Wight, aka James Herriot for the type of book your stories would easily fit into.
Each chapter is a short story all by itself. It makes a great book for getting kids interested in reading since you can read a chapter a night (and leave the last paragraph… page for them to read.).
>>>>>>
“…The steps were black plastic and the seat pad was covered in orange/avocado daisy-print, straight out of the early 70’s….”
Dang if I don’t have a stool like that sitting in my kitchen only mine is non-discript tan in color. It is a VERY useful stool.

Sylvia Avery

I just read down below someone suggesting your style is kind of like Herriot’s.
When I suggested Maeve Binchy, what I recall of her novels is that they were like vignettes of various characters who revolved around something central like a village or a restaurant or a catering business or a school. All of these characters interacted in ways either minor or profound.
Daughn, you are obviously a very busy woman but you also obviously love to write as well as having a true gift for it. God intends such gifts to be used. Maybe writing a book is not for you for some reason. But I bet you could assemble a bunch of your “short stories” like the one about the pearls and this one and the boy who worked for you and went to school next door and loosely assemble them into an interwoven story.
You could probably send these short stories to an agent with a proposal. I cannot imagine how it wouldn’t be successful.
But for now, I just appreciate being able to them here!
XOXO and three cheers for your belief in love and romance.

Sylvia Avery

No, I don’t find it odd in the least although I am sorry for your hubby. He obviously had a topic that he felt he had something worth talking about. Frustrating to not be able to quite get it there.
I like your conversational, story telling style. Very entertaining.
And BTW I had to smile about the kitchen stool. I spent many hours perched on one like that in a relative’s kitchen when I was a youngster.

Sylvia Avery

Daughn, you do have a gift. I love your writing style. You could write books if you wanted. You could learn how.
Have you ever read anything by Maeve Binchy? Your style reminds me of hers. Lots of stories about lots of different characters.

pgroup

Off-topic but yowzer! Bill Barr is a killer. He just killed catch-and-release.
https://dailycaller.com/2019/04/16/attorney-general-bill-barr-asylum-bond/

sunnydaysall

As a southern born lady, raised in the south of Mississippi, this story is just plain down-home fun with a wonderful down-home happy ending! Thank you so much Daughn! Had a crappy day today but this story makes it “all better”! 🙂comment image

Gail Combs

“…and nothing better than a fried pie.”
OH My! A local gas station used to sell them. I would stop to buy one even if I didn’t need gas…
And the other gas station on the other side of home, had Grandma’s cookin’. OH the fried catfish! I do not like fish but that CATFISH…. DROOL.
>>>>>>
Unfortunately neither gas station has Grandma’s cookin’ any more whimper…
And then there was Dixie Belle BBQ Davis Dr Apex NC which unfortunately was sold to some Mexicans who ran it into the ground. There wasn’t a dish they served I didn’t like. Fish, Chicken, Pork…. it was all mouthwatering.
After Boston cooking, boiled an extra week in honor of the queen, I LOVE southern cooking.

Alison

Daughn, that’s the best “beach” Chick Lit story I’ve read in a long time 😊
Did you ever tell Ron what Janet said when she first laid eyes on him?
I just love a happily-ever-after story. 💖💖

cthulhu

I’m currently in Silicon Valley. I was born and raised in California and have had a couple of successful careers here. God willin’, I’ll be a citizen of North Carolina in July.
A lot of the people I know are talking about reacting to stereotypes and buying into narratives promoted by TV shows. [This one comes up a lot — did you know it had words? — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg51H-46qAc ].
But it’s actually something quite different.
Years ago, I ran into someone who taught me wisdom. He said, “every profession runs through a regular cycle based on their self-regard and popular esteem. At first, they think they are poor, and so does everyone else; the second step is where they still think they are poor, but people respect them. The third step, when they get wind of this popular respect, is when they think they are on top of the world and everyone adores them; this, inevitably, leads to a period where they think they are beyond reproach but people begin to think they don’t serve a useful purpose but merely milk their reputation. Once their fees dry up and their respect burns to ashes, they find themselves at step one again.”
I’m a CPA. In the 80s, the profession was transitioning from step one to step two — it was a good time to be an accountant. It’s now at step four. But the same cycle also applies to regions. California was transitioning from step one to step two in the 70s — aerospace and military was moving away, but a lot of the assets and technology launched Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley is now at step four.
Large parts of North Carolina are at step one. The Thomasville furniture plant at the heart of Thomasville is eerie — abandoned and chained-up, with silent railroad sidings. I took a couple of wrong turns in Winston-Salem and ended-up in a weird area surrounded by immense tobacco warehouses with giant rail docks and empty parking lots, all quiet. Asheboro is almost a ghost town. Furniture, textiles, tobacco — all got clobbered by globalism and NAFTA. But there’s nothing wrong with these places.
Some places in the South have already hitched a ride on the rocket — Atlanta and Nashville come to mind. They will prosper over the next decade, and rightfully so. But places like the NC Triad, where I hope to be in a few short months, have opportunities that will yield decades of success.
And for people who live there, start paying attention to the boxes that say, “NOT FOR SALE IN CALIFORNIA”. Those are the businesses you can start with no competition.

singingsoul

Daughn sweet love story 🙂
Thank you for sharing!

Gail Combs

“…I miss American made, solid wood, high quality furniture….”
Daughn, we do a Christmas gig for Davis Furniture THEY ARE EXPANDING! 🤣
There are also a group of old guys who set-up at the flea Market who make and sell ‘old fashion’ over stuffed sofas and chairs.

nikkichico7

I LURVE your stories … you’re a regular modern day Jane Austin … whoo-hoo girl 😉👍❤️‼️‼️
……. keep ‘em coming sweetie … 🤫 … 😛 …. 😬🤫

nikkichico7

Ohhhhhhhhhh nice ☺️👍❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️‼️‼️

GA/FL

I grew up mostly in S GA, but summers were spent with my Daddy’s folks on the Bayou LaFourche, Thibodaux, LA – so I had the best of both worlds re: Southern cooking! I was a child before cake mixes, frozen french fries and TV dinners.
Family reunions in Georgia were amazing! Homemade and home grown everything Fried Chicken, Deviled Eggs, butter beans, lady peas, okra and tomatoes, fried okra, on and on about a mile on tables outside.
In Louisiana, there was Gumbo, Jambalaya, Corn and/or Crab bisque and Grandma Mimmy’s homemade French Market donuts that she would cut in the shape of animals just for us!
My mother made Fresh coconut cake and Ambrosia for Christmas every year. It took a day to prepare the coconut, pierce, drain the milk, crack, peel and grind it in the meat grinder. She made a yellow cake and white meringue frosting. Oh it was soooo good.
Memories! Grandma’s corn pones, pole beans with new potatoes and baby onions…. I could go on and on.

singingsoul

I like to share how my husband and I met. In 1961 I took a trip as I did every year sometime twice to the former DDR from Hannover West Germany to visit my paternal grandmother. My grandmother decided while I was visiting her that we were going to visit her brother. After one day at my great Uncle’s home two guys came to set up an antenna for TV so they could get west German TV. That was illegal .
One guy I found out was an American 19 years old and spoke fluent German. I found out his mother was German and his parents decided to take him to see Europe and also meet his her family.
He and I talked for about two hours and I was not impressed because he was like a babbling idiot. Not many guys are finished at 19 🙂
My grandmother saw more and decided to take me early back to her home. Couple of days later I got a letter from the American telling me “that he was on his way to Bremen and had 1 hour stay in Hannover where I lived if I could meet him before he was off to NY?” I wrote back no.
Two weeks later he send another letter to tell me” he was back home and back in the University on and on.”
I wrote back about my life my dates the good the bad the ugly. This went on for three years.
His family invited me to the Worlds Fair in NY and that was 1964.
He and his family picked me up from the air port and I was shocked the guy I met three years earlier was all put together and turned into a handsome guy.
After a couple of weeks in NY he ask me” how I liked the US.” I loved it and before I knew it I was fingerprinted and filled out paperwork and 9 moths later I had a green cart. His parents became my sponsors we got engaged and two weeks later we were married.
I found out that he knew that he would marry me when the first time he met me when he was 19 and that is why he was this babbling idiot.
He told me “If I had not come to US he would have come to Germany.”
Both families said it would not last longer than two years because we have so different personality . Needless to say we are still happy married.

singingsoul

Just to ad the quote from immigrants from Germany had been 80,000 and was not even 1/4 filled. I was lucky and that is why I was able to stay and apply for immigration from NY instead Germany.
Also that my in laws sponsored me for 5 years and they had to show that they had enough money.