The belch and sputter of a tractor engine momentarily distracts Penny as she veines the stringy fibers from a bushel of beans she had just harvested from her garden.
Beneath the shade of large pecan tree, she shields her eyes to see her husband, Hank, plowing a section of their land for fall cabbage and cauliflower. She catches his eye and waves and he waves back.
Her visiting sister, Katie is sitting next to her, helping to string the beans for evening supper. “He’s a handsome man, Penny. You are one lucky woman.”
“He’s a good man and that makes me a lucky woman, Katie.” She rests her hand on her round, expectant belly.
“Someday I’m going to find me a good man, too.” She closes her eyes dreamily. “But right now I like them, you know, just a little dangerous.”
“I’d take good over dangerous anytime. And, if you’d excuse me for being blunt, but you aren’t getting any younger, you know. Momma already had three of us kids by the time she was your age.”
“You’re just too old fashion, Penny. You and Momma would have me barefoot and pregnant at nineteen and wearing a straw hat with a price tag hanging from the brim like Minnie Pearl. That’s just not me.”
“Well hee haw and excuse me for living.” She gives her sister a gentle nudge.
“No really, didn’t you ever want to do anything bad before you were married?”
“Good gracious no.”
“I don’t mean anything dreadful, but just something wild and carefree. Something shocking so the good ladies at the church would have something to gossip about.”
“It seems so unfair. Boy’s get to do that sort of things all the time and get away with it. Everybody just saying boys will be boys and have to sow their oats. Well, I think girls have oats to sow, too.
“But because we’re women, for us it would be like sneaking a sliver of cake before frosting it. Just enough so that you know what it tastes like, but not enough so that anybody knows you ever did.”
“What ever put these thoughts into your head?”
“I don’t know. I was just thinking. Remember when some of the senior girls in high school parked Bill McAllister’s car in front of Nedra’s house while her parents were in Tulsa?”
“She about never lived that down, poor girl.”
“Oh, but she got over it and everyone had a good laugh afterwards because none of it was true.” She paused, pulling a string from one of the beans. “Sometimes I wonder what it would be like with people thinking awful things about you, but knowing none of it to be true.”
“Katie, this doesn’t sound like you at all.”
Penny studied her sister for a moment. “You’ve met someone, haven’t you? That is what this is all about. Who is it?”
Katie turns to face her. “Promise you will never tell. At least for now. If Momma found out she’d have a cow.”
“Who is it, Katie?”
“The bull rider – Danny Thompson!” Katie nods and Penny says, “Good gracious.” She rubs her belly once again as the baby just kicked.
“He’s not a bad person, Penny. Really, he’s sweet. Once you get to know him.”
“Where did you meet him?”
“Mmaslmbmarkmm,” Ricky mumbles.
“I said Ashton’s Bar.”
“Good gracious, Katie, have you lost your mind?”
“Why does everybody have to prejudge so quickly. If you were one of those church ladies you’d already be planning a shotgun wedding for me with the bridal march being ‘Boot Scootin’ Boogie’.”
“But a bar?”
“I do admit I did feel a bit like Bonnie and Clyde when I first walked in with him. But, they do serve sweet tea and not just alcohol.”
“I’d never have known.”
“He played football with Hank in high school. From what I hear, they were good friends. I would like you to get to know him, too. Him, not just his reputation.”
“Okay, but when…where?”
“How about tonight?” She rushes her words and they tumble out over one another. “I already asked Hank and he said it was okay for him to join us for supper.”
Before Penny can answer, a horn honks. They look up to see Hank waving from his tractor at a black Dodge truck making red rooster tails as it races down the road toward the house. “Boot Scootin’ Boogie” blaring loudly through the opened windows.
“Boot Scootin’ Boogie” by Brooks and Dunn
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