Southern Chivalry

This morning Jasper and I hauled Lina’s boxes to the post office and got them in the mail. Whew! Glad to have that job over with.

Then after lunch my high school class came over and we watched the first half of The Winslow Boy. This play by Terence Rattigan is dear to my heart because in my junior year of high school, my school in Kenya did this play and I played the part of the mother. Nine weeks of practicing a three-hour play and then going back to the dorm to start homework at 10:00 p.m. Yet it was a wonderful experience for me and I enjoyed acting so much. I even got out my yearbook and made my students look at the pages about the play.

During our class, Lucy departed as she and Emma finally decided that they really are doing their garage sale this weekend. I was a little dismayed because Mercy had been counting on Lucy to bake cookies for her bake sale, but Lucy was now gone.

Shortly after my class ended, Spencer and I went up for our last graduation meeting. As we left the church after the meeting, it started raining. I drove to Walmart in the pouring rain and ate a snack in the car before going in.

I sat there in the parking lot with the rain pouring down, and tried to decide if it was worth it to rummage around in the car looking for an umbrella. The truth is, I really don’t mind getting wet if it’s not cold outside, so I put my glasses in my bag and began my dignified walk toward the store. (My walk is “dignified” by the fact that I have arthritis.)

Almost immediately I caught a glimpse of someone running up behind me. I tried to walk faster, but I’m not a very fast person these day. A couple of seconds later an older gentleman caught up with me and held his umbrella over my head. (I know what you’re thinking. Older? There’s someone older than you?)

“That’s okay,” I said. “I don’t mind getting wet.”

“Nonsense,” he said. “That’s what we brothers are here for.” He matched me step for step, kept up a cheerful chatter, made sure the crosswalk was clear, and escorted me all the way into the store, making sure the umbrella kept me dry at his expense. Sometimes, I really love living in the South. Not in July or August, mind you, but this kind of chivalry is still commonplace here. Here in Texas, an older gentleman thinks nothing of sprinting across a parking lot in the pouring rain in order to hold an umbrella over a fat, middle-aged, arthritic housewife.

I had no escort on the way back to the car, but it didn’t matter. I was still smiling.

When I got home I had to soften butter and then start mixing up the cookie dough for Mercy’s bake sale. I was about halfway through baking the first double batch of cookies when Lucy called and begged for Spencer to bring some tables and a canopy up to Emma’s house for the garage sale. Spencer is sick and really didn’t want to do it. So guess who got to drive the van through the pouring rain up to Emma’s house? (Spencer at least helped Jasper load the tables and canopy into the van.)

When I got home, I mixed up another double batch of dough, but the truth is I am too tired to bake more cookies tonight. I’ll do it in the morning.

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