In spring, the poet tells us, a young man’s fancy often turns to love.
I remain young – at heart, at least – so this spring, my thoughts turned to love, young love specifically, since my daughter and her boyfriend announced they planned to wed. That news set off a flurry of phone calls, planning and general hubbub that will not abate, I fear, until the deed is done.
The young sweethearts are in love, and the two sets of parents, who have become friends despite being separated by several states and at least two of the Great Lakes, couldn’t be happier.
Their tale of young love, however, reminded me of another love story I had heard years ago. It is a kooky kind of love story, the kind that I can relate to, having been involved in my own kooky love story. Mine involved a lazy horse, Kool-Aid, Ping-Pong, a donkey, a melted spoon, hot cocoa, a beer can and a penny, for the better part of four decades.
But we discovered this tale neatly handwritten on a few sheets of yellowed paper in the old farmhouse we moved into more than 20 years ago. I suppose it was copied from a magazine.
This tale has a tale of its own.
Back in the 1980s, I proposed writing about this story in the Bangor Daily News during some statewide brouhaha about pornography and censorship. The details I don’t recall. The cries for censorship seemed much more shrill then. There was far more gnashing of teeth and beating of breasts than during recent efforts to exorcise the Harry Potter books and the weird cartoon rabbit who visits a lesbian couple in Vermont.
I like the Harry Potter books. I have not seen the cartoon in question, but I have seen several of the Saturday morning cartoon offerings, and, frankly, I’m not sure any of them are fit for children, or anyone else for that matter.
What ever happened to Wile E. Coyote? And where is Daffy Duck when we really need him?
Alarms were sounded back then and questions were raised as to who should decide what does or does not meet community standards. I remember nominating the old Hanes Underwear Inspector No. 12. You remember her. “It’s doesn’t say Hanes until I say it says Hanes.”
I thought she fit the bill.
I didn’t think my little tale was pornographic. I saw it more as a parable of how even the most innocent of male instincts can go awry and get a man in trouble. I wanted to share it with readers in case the forces of darkness did prevail. I did not, however, have to wait for the Hanes lady. An old-time editor informed me in no uncertain terms that it was he who would be the arbiter of what did and did not appear in the paper and that this little yarn would not. He expressed concern that – and I paraphrase – it might offend some little old grandmother in Wytopitlock.
Having no backbone whatsoever, I quietly deferred to the old dog’s dictum, but saved the tale for a more enlightened age.
There is, of course, a chance that grandmother is still around and this story won’t see the light of day. In that case, the Red Sox are in second place as I write this and the Yankees are still close to the cellar despite an eight-game win streak. That ought to make somebody happy – of course, it’s still only May – and they can read about it on the Sports pages.
Anyway, here’s the tale.
One day, a young man who wanted to buy a gift for his sweetheart decided that a pair of gloves would be appreciated. His sister went downtown, so he went with her. While looking at the gloves, his sister purchased a pair of dainty bloomers. He then bought the gloves with his sister’s aid.
The next day, a mistake was made in the delivery of the two packages. The bloomers went to his sweetheart instead of the gloves, while the gloves went to his sister.
The next day, apparently unaware of the mix-up, he wrote the following note to his girl:
This is to remind you that I did not forget your birthday. I did not choose them because I thought you needed them, but because you had not been wearing any when we were going out together. Had it not been for my sister, I would have gotten long ones with buttons. They are rather a delicate color. The lady from whom I bought them showed me a pair, which she had been wearing for three weeks and had not soiled them. I am not sure about the size, but I am a better judge than anyone else.
How I wish I could put them on for you! No doubt, other fellows will come into contact with them before I have the opportunity.
I hope you will think of me when putting them on and taking them off. They will certainly look fine in all ways. When you put them on, shake a little talcum powder in them, so they will go on easier.
Hope to see you soon.
P.S. Saleslady told me that you should try not to wet them, as they have not a very good odor when wet. Also, when washing them, keep them on or they will shrink. I hope you will accept them in the same youthful spirit in which they are given to you, and wear them to the dance next Friday night. I want to keep account of the number of times I kiss the back of them in the coming year.
Rich Hewitt can be reached at 667-9394 and firstname.lastname@example.org.