Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: PROCRASTINATE (08/04/16)
- TITLE: The Gal That Got Away
By Donna Powers
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Betsy McCall was the kind of gal any guy would be proud to call his sweetheart. She had long auburn curls, sparklin' green eyes and a smile that could ignite a wet sponge. But she wasn't just easy on the eyes; she was perfect in every way. She loved the Lord and taught Sunday school. Them kids paid attention and they all learned their Bible for her. My Betsy made an apple pie that was the talk of the town. That apple pie surely made my mouth water and my stomach sing. But, most of all, she was kind, caring and patient.
I guess you wonder what coulda gone wrong with such an angel. Well, I guess you could say I put that patience of hers to the test one time too many. I loved everything about that gal, and I knew she wouldn't wait forever for me to pop the Question. So, after we'd been goin' together six years, I asked her to marry me.
Well, of course she said yes. She said yes, and her family commenced to start plannin' our wedding. I started in to buildin’ us a house and clearing a parcel of land in back of my Daddy’s farm. But as for settin’ a weddin’ date… somethin' kept holdin' me back. I can't rightly say what it was. I'm not sure to this day of my reasons. Sure, I could envision it: me and Betsy sittin' on our front porch of an evenin'; six little younguns traipsin' acrost the meadow.... it surely made a pretty picture in my head. But, every blasted time that beautiful gal asked me to set a date, it was as if a big old lock was clamped across my willingness, and all I could say is, “maybe next year, Betsy.”
At first, she didn't get upset. Like I said: that gal was patient. And, for a while, I did come up with some purty good excuses. Like: I had to finish buildin’ the house just right; or helpin’ my Daddy on the farm after a big hailstorm; or going up to Ag school for more education about newfangled ways to use crop rotation. I came up with some beauties, I'll tell you.
But, when it had been four years since I asked the Question – ten years since we'd first been courtin’ – Betsy’s store of patience began to fritter away. I think the last straw was when her little sister Lily got married and Betsy was a bridesmaid for the umpteenth time. After Lily’s weddin', Betsy asked me straight out: “Cornelius, are we ever gonna get married?”
I just looked at her. She was a peach of a gal, all right, and I wanted to make her happy so very badly – but I just couldn't do it. I couldn't bring myself to set a date, and I had to tell her so. The look in her eyes – fiery anger mixed with pain, regret and pure love – well, I sure hope I won't ever see that look in anyone's eyes, ever again.
You know, Sonny: there are days I smell a fresh-baked apple pie, and I remember how Betsy's pies made me happy. I think of that beautiful smile of hers, and I wonder how our life together would have been. But I've lived a long life of my own, and I ain't had to answer to no wife or kids, and I've traveled most of this beautiful state without worryin' about someone home missin' me or tyin’ me down.
But I reckon you know the rest of the story, Sonny: two weeks after Lily’s weddin’, your Grandma Betsy eloped with my twin brother, Chester, and they've been happily hitched nigh these fifty years. So, I guess you could say if I wasn't for me, they wouldn't be havin' this 50th Anniversary party we're at, tonight. So I'd say I done the right thing, after all.
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