Mary Pauline Rides Again

By Polly


Rating: pg for language only

Notes: More stream-of-consciousness rambling, Arkansas hillbilly style


I knowed a year ago, when Raylene called me up and tole me that she'd met herself a young man out there at UCLA, that it wuz a serious thang and sure enough, this year she called and ast me if'n it'd be all right if she spent the holidays with his fambly and wouldn't me and her daddy like to fly on out there and meet them, too.

Now, ye know it's serious when yer young'uns start spending time with prospective in-laws and even worser when they tell ye the whole damn fambly orta get together, cuz ye can pretty well bet that means there's been some ackshul wedding talk going on and somebody might even be pregnant and since this is my baby girl we're talkin' about I sorta wondered if'n I shouldn't orta drive out so as to have my 12 gauge in the trunk and I didn't rightly wanna fly anyway cuz who in their right mind wants to be up in a damn airplane... but that's besides the point.

Natchurly I said to Raylene 'yes, dear, me and yore daddy will be delighted to meet yore swain' but quite frankly, it scared the peewad outa me to think Raylene wanted to marry some Californicator boy so I wuz mighty relieved when she tole me he wasn't from Californ-eye-aye anyways but wuz from some place in Worshington State called Cascade.

Which, I had heard tell of Cascade a few years back when them two purty cops got stranded out near the house and Bubba had to fix their car but being the intelligent woman I am I didn't have no reason to think I'd be running into them just cuz we wuz all gonna be in Cascade cuz hell, I'd gone to Mapquest online and seen that Cascade wuz a purty good sized town, looked as big as Little Rock, anyways.

So, speaking of Little Rock, Bubba and me got his sister Diane to run us down there to the airport and we flew 'Merican Airlines out to Cascade cuz I wasn't gonna ride Southwest after hearing about how ugly they are to their fatter passengers and I ain't 'zackly no lightweight and neither is Bubba but by God didn't nobody force them airlines to try to squeeze all them extra narrow seats into them planes and if they had any sense seeing as how many of us in this country are in need of bigger seating and they can't keep them damn planes filled up anyways they'd go back to widening the seating like it used to be... but I digress.

It weren't a bad flight although the turbulence over the Rockies kinda made me want to puke up all the Bloody Mary's I'd drunk to try to ignore the fact that I wuz in a damn airplane to begin with and I swore to myself before I got on another damn airplane I wuz gonna get me a prescription of something a little stronger like Ativan maybe or Thorazine but it takes an awful lot to make me puke and 'Merican Airlines wuz gonna have to try harder next time, way I figured.

By time we got to Cascade, Bubba and me wuz both pretty well lit cuz he ain't no crazier 'bout flyin' than I am even though he wuz in the Navy and had to jump outa hellie-copters over the ocean and all that and he likes to pretend he's a tough old bastard but really he's jest a big old baby.

Anyways, danged if they ain't got coffee shops in Cascade right there as ye get off the damn airplane practickly so we sobered ourselves up purty quick jest in case Raylene hadn't minded me 'bout not meetin' us at the damn airport. She is our baby girl and she's right smart asides and I don't think I mentioned that she'd got herself a full-ride scholarship out there to UCLA and this young man of hers wuz 'parently a smart kid too cuz he was studyin' criminal justice like Raylene and his daddy wuz a cop and that jest' made Bubba's heart glad, him bein' a deputy and all himself.

I thought it wuz nice that Raylene and her swain had similar career interests but damn, they wuz jest juniors and I truthfully didn't think they really needed to be settlin' down so quick but I wasn't about to say that to her cuz if'n I knowed one thang it wuz that you can't issue ultimatums when it comes to matters of the heart, that bein' the fastest way to get a kid to turn her back on ye.

Soon as we could walk a straight line me and Bubba went out to fetch up our luggage and a cab. Raylene had wanted to meet us at the airport but I tole her to let me and her daddy get checked into our hotel first and then we'd give her a call over at her boyfriend's and start from there cuz I knowed I wasn't gonna be at my best till I got a shower and warshed that airplane air offa me. I'm tellin' you it ain't natchural to set up in a damn flyin' tin can rebreathin' the same used up stale air all the way across the damn country with a buttload o' other pore fools... but I done run off the point again.

Cascade wuz fixed up fer the holidays and looked purty as a postcard course that mighta been the Bloody Marys and I ain't shamed to admit that and the hotel wuz real nice and fancier than I 'spected which mighta intimidated a lesser woman but by God if'n an Arkansan can be president then I reckon as an Arkansan I can go anywhere I damn well please and not to git sidetracked on the subjeck of Bill Clinton but I gotta say he wouldna lived to cheat more'n once on a good Southern woman like he did that New Yawker bitch he married and while the boy wuz plenty smart he jest didn't have no common sense doin' that in the Oval Office and all but shit, he's our Bill and he's a good old boy and some of us didn't rightly blame him for cheatin' on her anyways but you didn't hear that from me.

So after me and Bubba showered and fooled around a little bit in that fancy bathroom we give Raylene a call and agreed to meet her and her swain at his daddy's house. We taken us a cab out there too and that wuz still a novelty fer me as I don't think I've rode in a cab but three or four times in my whole life since we sure ain't got 'em in Catalpa and after two cab trips in the space of a few hours that damn airplane wuz lookin' better and better, I'll tell ye, but we got there alive and Raylene come runnin' out to meet us and she wuz so happy she wuz jest glowin' and huggin' on us and all.

A fine lookin' tall young man come out the door behind her and takin' note as I did of the size of his feet I figured Raylene might be on to a good thang at that.

"Momma, Daddy, this is Daryl," she says and innerduces us to her swain who, by the way, happened to be black but Bubba and I didn't care about that cuz hadn't my own first boyfriend been jest as black and you'd be surprised how mucha that goes on in Arkansas, speshully in the northeast part of the state where we's all much more progressive than them stupid sheetheaded fools down south o' Little Rock who 'parently suffer from bein' too damn close to Miss'ippi.

"It's a pleasure to make yore acquaintance, Daryl," I says and give him a hug while I wink at Raylene who had sense enough to blush when I wiggled my eyebrows at her.

Bubba shook Daryl's hand and give him that fish-eye glare that says 'I know you been sleepin' with my daughter, boy' which he's been givin' every boy Raylene brung home since she wuz fifteen but Raylene musta warned Daryl 'bout it cuz Daryl jest grinned and looked happy to meet us which knowin' Bubba as I do went a long way to reassurin' him cuz if'n a boy's ackshully glad to meet his girlfriend's parents it speaks kindly to his serious intentions.

'Bout that time a real tall fierce-lookin' feller comes out the house and Daryl says "This is my dad, Captain Simon Banks. Daddy, this is Deputy and Missus Rainwater, Raylene's parents" and Bubba shakes his hand, too, all nice and polite like and I knowed it wouldn't be two minutes 'fore they wuz comparin' notes on crime or somethin' so I give Simon Banks a big old squeeze and says "Jest call me Mary Pauline."

And ye know it turned out to be a purty nice Christmas, after all, speshully when we come to find out that we knowed two o' Simon's deteckatives from their misadventures in navigatin' a few years back and I wuz right pleased to see those purty boys still looked dang happy with each other and awful relieved to find out Raylene wasn't pregnant yet.

Ain't nothin' like true love and fambly at the holidays.


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