Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: SOCIAL (04/07/16)
TITLE: The Misadventure of the Widow Eleanor
By Leola Ogle
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“I look like clown.”
“You’re lovely. Just remember, I’m Trudy. You’re Ellie. Eleanor and Gertie sound old.”
“We are old.”
“We’re single. We need to kick up our heels and have fun. Stop looking worried. We’re not going to a bar or nightclub. It’s the Seniors Monthly Ice Cream Social at Community Church. You’re a church-going lady.”
“Well, you’re not and that worries me.”
Eleanor and Gertrude had been neighbors since their children were toddlers. Gertie had been widowed four years and Eleanor just a year. Gertie had become a social butterfly the past two years, hoping to find a husband.
“It’s not like Hal was a good husband. Bet you didn’t know he had a wandering eye.”
I knew. Everyone knew. His eyes wandered all over the neighborhood women. Poor Gertie.
“I’m not looking for a husband. My Sam was the best.”
“Of course he was. So, just have fun and be social.”
“I’m social. I go to my ladies Bible group every Tuesday. And, Gertie, where do you find these activities you go to?”
“Trudy. Call me Trudy. On Facebook – you know, social media? I’ve met a few men on Facebook and even dated a couple.”
“Pfft! I know about Facebook. Your Annie told my Claire you met a man on Facebook who asked you for money for his daughter’s lungitis surgery. Lungitis? What a crock.”
“Yes, well, I gave him the boot. I’m not stupid.”
Eleanor sighed. Like an obedient puppy, she followed Gertie into Community Church’s fellowship hall. Someone or something flipped a switch in Gertie. She transformed into a giggling, eyelash- fluttering, hip-shaking, coquettish schoolgirl. And some of those old coots were eating it up.
Embarrassed, Eleanor headed to the serving table. She grabbed a bowl, loaded it with several flavors of ice cream, all the toppings, and smothered it with whipped cream.
Gertie was motioning to her from a table where she sat with three men. Eleanor gulped and made her way over, Gertie eying her ice cream with a scowl.
After Gertie introduced her to her men friends, she nodded at Eleanor’s bowl. “Goodness, Ellie. Whatever are you doing? Remember, we must maintain our girlish figures.”
Eleanor huffed and plopped a spoonful into her mouth. “Well, Ger….Trudy, our figures ceased to be girlish years ago.”
“You’re such a comedian, Ellie.”
Eleanor yelped when Gertie pinched her leg under the table. She glared at Gertie, while continuing to eat ice cream. The three men fell all over themselves to see who would be first to bring Gertie a bowl of ice cream.
All of you should bring her a bowl. I know for a fact Gertie can eat like a horse.
Eleanor noticed a fellow at another table looking her way. She leaned toward Gertie. “That man over there keeps winking at me.”
Gertie beamed. “What fun!” She turned in the direction Eleanor was looking and frowned.
“He’s not winking. That’s Calvin. His eyes do this nervous tic when he’s excited. Don’t look at him. Nancy has claimed him as her fella. She’s a wampus kitty and will claw your eyes out if she thinks you’re eyeballing Calvin. Ooooo. Here she comes. Turn your head.”
Eleanor gasped, spitting out ice cream. She wasn’t sure what a wampus kitty was, but it sounded terrifying. Nancy looked nice enough, so maybe a switch flipped in her like it did Gertie. Eleanor dabbed ice cream from her face, and dropped her gaze.
Soon Gertie’s men friends were back, chattering like magpies. Whoever said women were talkers had never sat at a table with these men. One kept eyeing Eleanor with a look of pity. Maybe he felt bad because Gertie was getting all the attention.
He leaned over and whispered, “Don’t be ashamed to ask for help. Adult abuse should be reported.”
“Wha-wha – what? Me? Abuse?”
He patted Eleanor’s hand. “Who gave you the black eye?”
Black eye? Eleanor’s gaze flew around the room until she spotted the restroom. She made a beeline for it. Glancing in the mirror, she saw the smudged mascara. She grabbed tissue and wiped all makeup off her face.
What a disaster. She was never going anywhere with Gertie again. She scowled, then giggled. Giggling escalated into uncontrollable laughter.
Gertie found her there – doubled over with laughter in the restroom. “Oh, Ellie. I knew you’d have fun.”
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