Bojangles, Vineyard, Jackalope
Carl and Martha Dubois were sitting on the porch one summer morning. Eighty year old Martha was doing a crossword puzzle from the paper, eighty-one year old Carl was reading the sports section.
“Carl.” She had a distinct northern accent, and sounded a lot like Katharine Hepburn in “On Golden Pond.”
“Hmm?” He absently waved at a fly.
“What’s a nine letter word for first African-American male to appear on film dancing with a Caucasian girl? Nine letters.” Nine let-tahs.
“Listen dummy.” Martha said. “Nine letter word for the first African-American male to appear on film dancing with a Caucasian girl.”
“Robinson.” Carl replied.
“Robinson?” She looked back to the puzzle and tapped out the spaces with her pencil. “It isn’t Robinson, that’s only eight letters.”
“He ate what?” Carl looked up from his sports page.
“Eight letters! That’s not right, Robinson only has eight letters I need nine.” She spoke a little louder. “Who was the first African…?”
“I heard ya; the first African-American man to dance with a Caucasian girl was Bill Robinson. He danced with Shirley Temple in the Little Colonel.”
“Colonel!” Martha tapped out the letters and frowned. “Nope that’s only seven letters. Didn’t he have a stage name?”
Carl looked up from his paper again. “Huh?”
Martha rolled her eyes at her husband. “What was Bill Robinson’s stage name? Didn’t they call him something else…what was it?”
“Bojangles. Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. Great dancer.”
Martha tapped it out and smiled. “Ooh that might fit! Let me see, one down, four letter word for top of the line that starts with “B,” oh I know, best!” She filled in one across and one down. Carl smiled.
“So it was Bill Robinson.”
Martha laughed and playfully slapped his arm.
“Alright you old duffer!” Duff-ah.
Carl laughed and went back to his sports.
A few minutes later Carl cleared his throat.
She was tapping the pencil against her cheek, engrossed in the puzzle.
“Martha. What’s for supper?”
She looked up. “Supper? I thought we’d have the leftover spaghetti. You want the garlic bread?” Gah-lic bread.
Carl shook his head. “Hard pieces get under my teeth, worry my gums. Plus we have Bingo tonight.”
“Oh yea. I forgot about that. Don’t want to scare off the old ladies.”
“There’s no old lady but you Martha, you know that.”
Martha did, but she liked to hear it too.
“You sure? I saw you looking at old Jenny Williams. That sad old sack…”
“Now now,” Carl said. “It isn’t nice to call names.”
“I don’t care, I saw how she was hanging on your arm the last time we went to the VFW.”
“She hurt her foot Martha, Mel and I were helping her to her seat.”
“I know, and that was nice of you. But you need to watch out for that one.”
“The only one I’m watching out for is you dear.” Carl replied patting her knee.
“So what’s a nine letter word for a mammal that is a rabbit and reindeer?” Martha asked.
“What’s the clue?” Carl asked.
“You got your hearing aids in? Mammal that is rabbit and reindeer.”
“Rabbit and reindeer.” Carl repeated, thinking.
“How in the world would a rabbit and a deer… ? Well there’s something wrong… there’s no such thing as that, not even in the movies. What do you think? “ She asked.
Carl thought a moment.
“It’s a mythical creature from the north.” Carl said.
“You’re making that up.” Said Martha.
“Nope, they figure it came from rabbits infected with a virus that gave them antler-like tumors. People thought that it was a mix of animals because of the way they looked,” said Carl.
“Those poor things! Carl, how do you know all this stuff?” Martha asked. “I’m constantly amazed at what you know. Somebody asks me something and I tell them let me ask Carl, he knows stuff about things!”
Carl laughed and Martha went back to her puzzle. Carl looked over the top of the paper and studied his wife of sixty-two years. After a minute he set his paper down.
“I know something.” He said quietly.
“Eh?” Martha replied, not looking up.
“I said I know something.” Carl said.
“Oh yea? What is that?” Said Martha, finally looking at him.
“I know what vineyard the grapes came from that made the first bottle of wine we ever shared.”
Martha’s eyes got a little misty as she looked at her husband and smiled.
“And I know how pretty you look in a red polka-dot dress on a hot summer day.” Carl said, remembering their first date.
“Aww go on now, you old duffer.” Martha leaned over and kissed Carl on the cheek.
“Love you Martha.” Said Carl, as he kissed her back.
“Love you too dear.” De-ah. She smiled, because every time she looked at him she saw the nineteen year old factory worker she’d fallen in love with smile back at her.
“So what’s a five-letter word for conveyance? Second letter is a “U.””
Carl picked up his paper once again.
Martha tapped out the letters with her pencil.