Did I tell you about the time Otto Kranz drive over to Albuquerque to court your Aunt Maude? Maude was your Grandma's sister, you know, and she come over to New Mexico after your Grandma's brother, Ed, marry Susan Wright. The Wrights live over in Reid Holler, well, not in the holler, but you know, up a good piece on the slope, but not on top a the ridge. The Wrights bury all they dead on Hill Cemetery Number Six. Actually, Uncle Martin's first wife is buried there though she warn't a Wright. She was a Willowby fum over on the Holston. In later years the younger Willowbys moved over to Bristol. Had a mercantile there, you know. When I was acourtin' your Aunt Grace I went over to Willowbys to find a ring. Got one, too. Nice one. Ance Willowby had tuk it in fum Widow Miles after her husband die. She was fixin' to marry Ned Fox anyhow and Ance give her a milk cow and two shoats fer it.
So anyway, Maude was at loose ends when Ed move on to Marital Bliss, so to speak, and their Ma and Pa was done cold in the grave. So like I said, Maude come on out to New Mexico. Maude done good for herself in Albuquerque. Start in Mason's store, you know. Mason inherited, and he hadn't much interest in business. But Maude was shrewd and he put her in charge, and first thing you know, Mason was rich and Maude was well-fixed. Now I'm not saying Otto Kranz took a shine to Maude because of the money, but I am saying that didn't hurt none. So anyway, Otto had an old auto (get it?) '37 Olds, I believe. Yeah, it was that '37 he got offa Ned Bayliff over to Aztec. Had a pile of miles on her afore Otto got it, but it run good. So he left early of a Saturday morning, drive plum down to the City and got there afore the store closed up for the day. Stroll into the store, coolest customer you ever see, all duded up in that navy blue suit with the gray pinstripe he got off Delmar Boyd's widow after Delmar pass. Hit fit him right good, too, though Delmar had hit custom cut by a tailor over to Denver-- I disremember his name right now-- he's the one cut the suits for the Gov'nor, and the Senator, too. Do you recollect his name? I mean the tailor. His sister marry Joe Whalen, you know. Had the big ranch over to Ordway. Anyway, Otto had on his purple four-in-hand, Lord only knows where he get that-- and a yeller rose in his lapel with a sprig of Stephen Otis that was left over from Molly and Mark's wedding the week afore. You know, Molly was granddaughter to your Mama's Aunt Jean-- guess you'd be related, wouldn't you? She married Mark Steadman. Steadman's old man did a hitch in the pen over to Canon-- embezzling, I think it was. Yeah, that was it. He got away with couple hundred thousand of Third Ninth funds. Hit was never recovered, neither; and Steadman seemed to live pretty high on the hog after he got out, if you get my drift. No reflection on his kid, though. Mark is as solid as they come. Funny how that works sometimes.
Those yellow shoes is what done Otto in, though. Maude said, "Why, Otto. What are you doing all the way over here?" Otto turn all beet red, which did nothin' to complement his purple tie, you mought say. As he was stammerin', "He-he hello, M-m-maude," she was surveyin' him fum head to foot, link by link, you mought say. But when her eyes land on his shoes, her mouth fall open, she thow her head back and roar, yep, roar is the right word, roar with laughter.
With nary a word, Otto turn, slink to the door and disappear fum Maude's sight. Otto's Oldsmobile was park in front a his house afore daybreak, and ever'one say he ain't spoke to a woman since that day.
© 2013 David W. Lacy