Cousin Mavis and the Heartbroken Philanderer

imageMany years ago, I had a Cousin Mavis, who’d inherited a really nice farm, together with her brother Beau, in an idyllic mountain valley.  She married Lloyd who greatly admired her farm.  They had a daughter, Sally.  Mavis quickly took issue with her husband’s carousing and tossed him out.  Quite willing and able to take care of herself, she continued to live happily on her farm with her brother Beau and Sally.  Beau did the majority of the farm work while Mavis taught school and kept the house running,   The three of them had a good life together, bumping along quite satisfactorily.  Beau never married though he was happy to keep company with a widow lady, saying, “No house was big enough for two women.”  In truth, I’m sure he felt he already had a wonderful homemaker who shared his expenses, a doting niece, and a prosperous farm he had no wish to divide.

Her husband, Lloyd, was never quite reconciled to the divorce, realizing what a mistake he’d made in losing Mavis.  Though he never lost his penchant for women and drink, he bought land just across the road, building a house there so he’d have a chance to worm his way by into Mavis’ affections and be in his his daughter’s life .  Little Sally saw her father daily, just like he’d planned, but Lloyd made a point to keep an eye on what went on at Mavis’s place all the time.  Unfortunately, this gave Mavis a bird’s eye view of his social activities, not a wise move for a man seeking forgiveness from a wronged wife.  Despite his many raucous parties and interesting friendships, he was forever hopeful, lo these many years later, that today Mavis would welcome him back into her loving arms.  Whenever an unfamiliar vehicle drove up, Lloyd was sure to amble over to check the guest out.   The first time we visited her, Mavis said, “Oh Lordy, here comes Lloyd to see if y’all are my boyfriend.”

Mavis, Beau, and Lloyd lived this way for more than fifty years, till the lovely Sally finally inherited both places, uniting them, as Lloyd had always hoped.

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The Rooster and the Boozers

 

The Austins lived just across the pasture from us.  Jody Austin “drank.”  In our neck of the woods, “drinking” meant a man was disreputable, deprived and likely beat his wife and children, probably didn’t hold a job, and likely was prone to violence.  It sounded a lot like today’s alcoholic.  Jodie qualified magnificently.  It was rumored that he had shot a man in a bar.  Folks left Jody alone.  Every Saturday night Jody hosted his “drinking” buddies for a binge. The festivities started with a huge bonfire.  As they sat around on barrels, old cars, and broken lawn chairs, they tossed their cans out in the darkness. They got louder, sometimes had a friendly fight, occasionally rolling all around the fire, finishing off with a little singing…a treat for all the neighbors.  Continue reading