Annie Ruth is a family friend that is considered ‘family’. As a matter of fact, I was a teenager before I found out that she wasn’t actually kin. She and her husband, Ed double dated with Mamma and Daddy (Doris and Charles).
Annie Ruth lived in the double wide down the road from The Farm; and was an excitable sort that talked non-stop and had a heart of gold. You just never knew when Annie Ruth was going to pop into Mamma’s. We could be busy as bees cleaning the house, or just sitting around the kitchen table talking and suddenly the front door would open and in would come Annie Ruth in mid sentence,
” . . and then we’d be be able to have them for winter. . ”
“What?” Mamma would ask.
“Huh?” Annie Ruth would reply.
“You were saying we could have them for winter.” Mamma would then say.
“Have what for winter?” Annie Ruth would ask, while I would be across the room absolutely cracking up!
Both would stop talking and look at me like I was nuts! I swear it was like watching Abbot and Costello!
Well, one warm Saturday morning in spring, I had gone to mamma’s to visit and help her do the weekly cleaning. All of a sudden in rushed Annie Ruth saying, “Lawd a mercy! Out in plain sight behind the barn. Why I never…”
WHAT?! Mom and I stopped in our tracks and looked at Annie Ruth.
“What was in plain sight behind the barn?” mom and I asked in unison.
“Big White Bloomers.” Annie Ruth answered, talking over her shoulder as she rummaged in the refrigerator,”Doris, do you have any tea?”
That was another trait of Annie Ruth’s. She’d drop a verbal bomb and then be onto another thought entirely before anyone could react.
“Did you bring them back with you?” Mamma asked.
“Bring what back?” Annie Ruth questioned.
Mamma sighed, “The Big White Bloomers!”
“He-e-ck no! There’s no telling what them bloomers have been butted up against!” Annie Ruth exclaimed, hesitated, then chuckled. “Bloomers….butt… hee hee .”
Just then with the perfect timing he’s known for, my cousin Ray walks in. Ray is my cousin and a farmer. He rents the land behind Mamma’s house, the land where he learned how to farm from our Granddaddy, on land from our granddaddy’s great uncle.
“Morning ladies . . . Patti.” Ray says with an impish grin.
Ray is the oldest of my Johnson cousins. Mamma, Dinah and Evelyn are his aunts. Ray lives down the road from mamma and farms the land, so he’s in and out of there all the time. Mamma and Ray can be a bad combination though, he’s got the same mischievous streak as my mamma! You might remember Ray from Pig Pickin’s and Drive By’s posted inw October 2011.
“Ray, do you know anything about some bloomers left behind the barn?” Mamma asked.
“Bloomers?!?! Which barn? The one out past the Pecan trees?” Ray asked.
“Yes. Do you know who they might belong to, Ray?” asked Annie Ruth.
“Nope, don’t thin…wait a minute! There was a strange pick up truck on the road right around dark last night.”
“What color was it? Was it a Chevy or a Ford? Old or…”
“Whoa Annie Ruth!” Ray interrupted. “It was a Chevy, faded red, about 20 years old or so. Let me know if you see it, I’ll do the same for you.”
The next Saturday morning, Annie Ruth was out in the field arrowhead hunting, as she did every sunny Saturday. As she neared the barn she couldn’t resist walking over to where she had seen the bloomers. “What in the world is that?” she wondered as she bent down to get a closer look. “Oh my Lawd! Oh my! Oh my!” Off she scooted as fast as she could, towards Mamma’s house.
“Doris!” Annie Ruth shouted as she burst through Mamma’s front door. “Call Ray! There are condoms by the barn now! Condoms!!”
Ray was called, the offending item properly disposed of, and that Sunday, around the dinner table, a full out discussion ensued.
“Reckon who it could’ve been?” “Do you think it’s someone that lives on this road?” “I bet they belong to that trollop who lives down that long path at t’other end of the road.”
Annie Ruth suggested a stakeout next Friday night. “We could hide in the barn and wait. When they start we could jump out and run ’em off!”
Mamma, Aunt Dinah, Aunt Evelyn and Annie Ruth started making plans.
So the next Friday night they put into action their plan for “The Great Bloomers Stakeout.” Those four women buzzed around all afternoon gathering supplies. Old quilts for pallets, camp chairs, tiny individual flash lights covered in orange cellophane so as not to risk being seen from outside the barn. They even thought to carry a couple of big pots and metal spoons to scare off the offenders.
They spent the day making food so they wouldn’t get hungry. Aunt Dinah made the deviled eggs, mamma the ham-salad. Evelyn brought paper goods, chips and other snacks. Annie Ruth brought the iced tea* and Yahtzee, but that got vetoed because it was ‘too noisy’. They decided on mom’s Scrabble board instead.
“Don’t forget the dictionary.” Mom reminded Annie Ruth. “Oh! I can bring my binoculars!”
“Do we need a note pad?” Dinah asked.
Mamma replied, “Dinah. We aren’t on a spy mission.”
“No Doris, to keep score on.” Dinah said with an irritated tone in her voice. Mamma and Dinah were very close and could argue and love as deeply as only two sisters can.
Let’s do a check: Scrabble, Food & Drinks, Paper goods, Flashlights (4), Pallets & Pillows, Camp chairs, & the pots and spoons for banging. Okay,everything is ready. All that’s left is to wait until dark to sneak out to the barn.
As soon as the last light of day faded “Operation Big Bloomers” was underway.
<cue Mission Impossible theme>
Loaded down with supplies and ready for a night’s worth of spying Mamma, Aunt Dinah, Annie Ruth and Aunt Evelyn made their way to the barn.
In stealth-like fashion, through the grove of Pecan trees, they darted like cartoon characters do… moving quickly from tree to tree on their tiptoes. Each time they stopped behind a tree, smothered giggling could be heard along with repeated, “Sh-h-s.”
Since Dinah had already swept out the barn earlier that day all they had to do was set up their post.
Evelyn and Annie Ruth spread the pallets out and set up the chair while mamma and Dinah covered a work table with a table cloth and enough food to feed an entire spy agency.
At first, they spoke in hushed whispers while sitting on the pallets. That is, everyone except Doris, who always sits in a chair because of her ‘affliction’ (i.e. polio). “Annie Ruth, did you remember to bring an extra tank of Oxygen in case we have to stay out here for a while?”
“Sure do. Fully loaded.” Anni Ruth replied giggling.
Dinah and Evelyn exchanged looks that said, “Oh no.”
Annie Ruth was a talker. There were times that her COPD caused her to have to take steroids. The steroids enhanced her urge to talk. This was one of times. It could be a mighty long night.
After about 3 hours of talking, eating and playing Scrabble the laughter subsided for a few minutes. All was quiet and peaceful. . . for about 10 minutes.
Headlights shone through the spaces in the barn’s wooden wall. Four 60+ year old women scattered like they were only 12!
Shh. Do you see anything? Are they stopping? Who is it?? Is it the pickup?
Just as it got close enough to tell that it was a pickup, it sped up and cut back towards the road in a blur.
Could anyone see who was driving?
No? Well durn!
Annie Ruth muttered, “Well, I guess we’ll never find out.”
Off down the road, driving a dirty pick up truck with a bag from Wal*Mart that contained an empty pack of ladies panties (size extra large) and an empty two condom pack. Laughing out loud, Ray thought to himself, “Now that’s what I call fun on the farm!”
See. I told you my mamma was the absolute master at pulling a prank. And she was real good at getting help to pull one off when she needed it, after all~ isn’t an aunts job to teach her nieces and nephews all the fun stuff ?