The Oral Report

Standing up in front of the class was never so much fun!

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Location: River City, United States

The rantings and ravings of a mom of three wonderful girls as she finds new love while working like a dog and shaking her fist at the system. You know. Pretty much like everybody else.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Flashback Friday!

As you can imagine, as I get closer to the wedding, I've been having some little mini Flashbacks of the last time I did this. But that is not what I want to share today. (Perhaps, as it gets a little closer to the Highlander/Superfiancee' nuptials, I'll share a few of them.) For today's episode, however, I thought I'd share a little humor of another married couple I used to know some years ago.

Just after Ronald Reagan tightened his fist around my Pell Grant's throat, back in 1983, I got a job working nights in a laundrymat. It wasn't a great job, but it had it's perks.

Relatively quiet at night, leaving me time to read or chat with certain of my favorite customers. One in particular was a petite redheaded woman that I'll call Darla (for the purposes of this story).

When I met Darla, she was more than a little pregnant with her first child. She, and her husband Cliff (a tall, blond conventionally very attractive man), lived in the neighborhood and she'd drop in once or twice a week to do their laundry. Darla and I got along well and after a disagreement with the laundrymat management (when they became upset because I insisted on having them come and close up one night when I had 103 temperature and had to leave to go to the hospital) she offered me a job.

She had a little home business making craft baskets. I knew absolutely nothing about baskets and while I was a little "crafty", she'd certainly never seen anything of that. But she liked me and she didn't want to see me in that predicament.

Darla's husband was an attorney, which afforded her the opportunity to put aside her teaching credentials and make a living doing something she loved more. I could go on at some length about the type of cases Darla's husband regularly handled, but let's just say that his clients were not the cream of society and move on from there.

Often, Cliff's clients bartered with him to pay their bill. Frequently, during my time at their home (working), a new stereo system or tv would show up, as payment on someone's bill. I don't think any of us believed that those items were purchased, you know what I mean?

When Baron and I were dating, Cliff was looking for a law clerk and I recommended him for the job. Consequently, it became evident, pretty quickly, that Cliff didn't only take merchandise from some of his female clients.

In any event, Darla and Cliff cared about each other and, I suppose, because she had a nice life in a nice house, Darla tended to embrace the naivety whenever she could. I never quite understood that, but, figured to each his own. However, it would have been a mistake to consider Darla meek or mousy. She had no difficulty getting her point across when she wanted to. I could share a few stories that would clarify that, but one in particular comes to mind.

It was summer and Darla had had her baby at that point. A tow-headed boy with brilliant blue eyes and a sweet laugh. She was planning a trip to Tennessee to visit with her mother, but Cliff had trials coming up and had to stay in town. It meant I would be off from work a week. It could have been a thing, but I was okay with it. I mean, I was in my early twenties, I was sure, if I thought about it real hard I could find something to do with my time.

When Darla returned, she'd apparently found a few things that disturbed her. Of course, I only found out about it retroactively. Since this is my flashback, that's the way you'll get them, too.

Darla had come home on Saturday, but I didn't see her, or talk to her, until I came to work on Monday morning. As usual, she had a pitcher of bloody mary's waiting. (Did I mention this job had a few perks?)

We sipped on bloody mary's and set to work on a big order that had to be shipped to Japan by the end of the week. Though I was genuinely interested in her trip, I asked her how it went more to make small talk than anything else. She seemed pleased to tell me about how she'd enjoyed seeing her mother and how her parents had spoiled the baby rotten. She loved going home and always looked forward to it.

Jokingly, I asked if the house had been a wreck when she got home on Saturday. (Cliff was notorious for being to busy to do anything around the house.) The conversation, which had been bubbly and light, suddenly turned more serious. Her entire demeanor shifted and she began to tell me how she'd come home Saturday to a house that had been cleaner than it was when she'd left.

Most of us would assume that her husband was doing something sweet to welcome her and their son home. Knowing Cliff, neither Darla, nor I, made that foolish leap. I didn't say much, instead letting her talk through the events of the weekend. This was MUCH juicier than shopping with her mother.

Darla mentioned that it struck her odd to see candles on the dining room table when she came in the back door. Candles that hadn't been there when she left. Consequently, the suspicions started almost immediately. When she went upstairs and began putting unpacking suitcases, she noticed candles in the bedroom that hadn't been there before, either. Worse, the sheets had been changed. Further inspection indicated that, while no other laundry had been done in her absence, the sheets that were previously on her bed, had been laundered and put in the linen closet.

Now, all of that could have meant nothing for some couples. Could have, in fact, been a sign indicating the anticipation of a romantic welcome home. But Cliff was DEFINITELY not that guy. And Darla was smart enough to know that.

The clincher, apparently, came when a neighbor from across the street stopped over to report seeing a strange car in the driveway. Overnight.


I wasn't quite sure what to say to her. It had seemed odd to me that she'd been all upbeat and casual when I first got there, if she'd just found out that her husband had been having an affair. Even though she seemed serious, she never really got emotional about it. I remember thinking I'd be angry and hurt and I'd likely be crying. She simply wasn't. She sat there working on baskets the entire time she was talking to me.

At some point I said, "So what are you going to do, Darla?", because, as we all know, you have to do something in that situation, right? As if lifted from a trance, the 'serious' left her face and she smiled and replied, "Oh, I've already done something, it's all done." in the upbeat, bubbly voice with which we'd begun our chat that morning. It was most eerie. But, oh was I ever curious.

For real, you can't leave someone hanging with that. It could have been like in the movies, where you ask "so what DID you do?" and the crazy woman tells you the body is cut up in pieces in the garage and then pulls a big honking knife out to cut your nosy ass up, too. 'Cause she had the look.

But it didn't go down like that. D'uh, or else there would be no flashback, right?

The "what DID you do" turned out to be pretty bizarre, though. She didn't talk to him about the situation at all over the weekend. On Sunday, they went to church as a family and he never had any indication that she was upset with him...or that he'd been found out. They'd taken the baby to the park afterwards and had a (from all accounts) very nice day. After putting the baby to bed, the two of them had planned a romantic evening.

Darla had cooked a nice supper for two and had picked up some wine. None of it was poisoned, or even drugged, but he had enough wine that it made him quite sleepy. That worked well for her. She'd helped him upstairs to their bed, tucked him in, and then waited. Waited for him to fall deeply asleep.

This was years before anything like FATAL ATTRACTION or SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT, so when she got to this part of the story, my imagination was pages and pages ahead of her, while my attention was quite rapt.

She'd wanted to hit him where he lived. And she believed that if he weren't such a pretty boy, the other woman (or women) wouldn't be interested. (There's some truth to that theory, I suppose, but I don't think she took into consideration that some of those women were just paying off a bill and it wouldn't matter what he looked like.) She didn't want to do anything too permanent, so pulling a Lorena Bobbitt was out. Finally, she settled on shaving his head.


He was so drunk that he never woke and she was able to turn him this way and that until he was totally baldheaded. She'd made a terrible mess on the pillowcases, she'd said, but it had gone pretty much as she'd have like it to have gone.

I was more than a little taken aback, but I gotta admit, I got a little charge out of the "justice" in it. And when Cliff came home early from work, wearing a ballcap, it was all I could do to keep from chortling in his face.

At the time, Baron was still clerking for him and when we both got home (we were living together at the time) after work that day, I just HAD to share the story. Baron's reply was that he'd "wondered why Cliff had been wearing a baseball cap all day." Which had me rolling in the floor laughing.

Over the next weeks, as his hair grew back in, Cliff had some issues with judges who felt it disrespectful for him to wear a hat in court, and got a good deal of ribbing from other lawyers in his firm.

Darla didn't leave him, though. He'd given her $500 to go buy herself "something nice" and had apologized to her. She accepted those terms (which I could not have) and they worked through things.

But I always thought about him in that hat, for months and years after his hair was back to it's former stylish cut. And remembering her telling me about it and the calm look on her face (and in her eyes) when she did. While I never thought about her quite the same afterwards, it's possible that she sparked a little something in me that day. Though I'm certain that Highlander will never have to test that...;)

Plans this weekend are just loaded up with kid stuff. They are due back from their father's on Saturday and I can hardly wait to see them!! Luckily, while the weather has turned a little cooler than it was last weekend (when temps were in the mid 70's), we have avoided the snow that our northern friends were expecting.

Hopefully, I can get a couple wedding projects knocked out this afternoon, so I'll have plenty of time to enjoy my girls this weekend.

Have a great one everybody!!



Blogger AaA said...

That reminds me...

3/20/2007 9:56 PM  

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