Although it was a hot summer’s day in the country, Robert was determined to meet the fair skinned girl with flaming red locks falling in big curls past the middle of her back. Robert was a milkman that delivered milk to his clients’ doorstep every day. Today was different, however, because he was going all the way to a farm that did not need his milk delivery services. The couple on the farm had thirteen children and the youngest was sixteen-year-old Mary, a very beautiful redhead who had caught his eye.
Wearing a silk shirt and suit in the heat was not easy for Robert, but he wanted to look his best when he met Mary. As he approached the house, he was not prepared for the sight ahead.
During the middle of the day when the sun was high and the heat was highest, the farming family would eat lunch. After lunch, they would all head to the porch, sit in the chairs and hope for a breeze to cool them a bit. There was not any air conditioning in those days, so a gentle wind was their best chance at getting cooler. Of course, the house and the porch were large because this was a family of fifteen.
Since they were all family and the closest neighbor was miles away, they wore the least amount of clothes possible in order to feel cooler. This meant that they all sat in their underwear and the women also wore bras and slips, but that was their only clothing.
As Robert approached the porch wearing his silk shirt, tie, suit and shiny shoes, he saw fifteen partially clothed people. Imagine how the city slicker felt! Robert asked the father if he could take Mary on a date. Robert also told the father that he had brought Mary a gift.
In her cotton slip, Mary accepted the date and the French perfume from Robert, much to his relief.
When Robert left the farm, Mary opened the perfume. Deciding that it smelled stinky, she dumped the whole bottle on the family dog who did not lose the fragrance for a very long time.
After a short courtship, Robert and Mary got married and eventually had four daughters of their own. Their oldest daughter, Teresa, eventually grew up, got married. Her first child and the first grandchild on both sides of the family, was born with fair skin and flaming red hair. Obviously, I am that grandchild and those two people who met so long ago on a front porch are my grandparents – Robert and Mary who were also called Gran-Gran and Mam-Maw by their only redheaded grandchild.
As I look at this photo of them, I see two young people just starting life together. It is so strange to know that in 2011 while I write this post, Robert and Mary have each already lived more than eighty years and both have also died.
Life is so short.
Hmph…That means for over two decades I have been telling this story wrong!