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Saturday, April 18, 2009

A green-eyed remembrance

Sunday Scribblings' prompt this week is Language.
I determined to skip SS this week and wrote this instead. Re-reading it, I see that there is some relation here to "language," if only by way of drawwwwlllll.

We met Jeannie when she came to visit with Husband's childhood friend Tony. Husband and I had been married five years or so, and Tony, who had taken his Louisiana offshore diver money and had earned his engineering degree from that big Texas university, had been visiting us every year or so, a few weeks at a time. He was a wonderful guy: funny, down-to-earth, good-looking, smart. I loved it when he visited because I was the princess with two princes. The three of us would hang out together, go out to dinner, and always have a terrific time.

The time came for his annual visit, and he called and said he was bringing a girl along. "Great!" I thought, and I wondered what kind of girl she would be. It was the first time Tony had ever had a girl that I'd met. He'd been too busy making money and then going to school to have had any relationships.

In honor of Tony's arrival I baked a huge pan of lasagna. Tony, being single, always appreciated the Real Food I cooked for him. We laid in a supply of beer and wine, and anxiously awaited The Arrival. I had made up my mind that this girl would be brunette, about my height (5'6"), probably athletic in some fashion, and a pretty natural kind of person. After all, that's what Tony was like. I looked forward to having a New Friend.

They arrived.

Tony came in first, entering the kitchen to our anticipation-filled grinning faces.
A few minutes later, timing it for an Entrance, in came Jeannie. Five two, tan and curvaceous in her little sleeveless short white sweater and khaki short shorts, naturally curly blond hair, a Miss America smile, and vivid red long fake fingernails . . . with a crystal embedded in one pinky nail.

I thought, "This woman and I will never be friends."
I sucked it up, grinned. "HI!"
Husband saw her and flushed, and I thought, "This woman and I will never ever be friends."
Jeannie widened her smiling cranberry-stained lips and squealed, "Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, y'all! I'm JEANNNiiiieeeeee."

Nobody from Virginia has a southern accent that pronounced.

Seeing instantly that this evening would be The Jeannie Show, I shifted into Earth Mother mode. "Are you hungry? I've got this huge pan of lasagna for you!"

Tony said, “Yeah, I'll have a little. We stopped to eat a couple hours ago, so I'm not real hungry."
Jeannie whined, “Oooooooooooooooo. Tooooooneeeeeeeeee, do yew think Ah should have any?"
Just the week before, she'd had to rush to the hospital because she'd eaten some of “that romonnnnno cheeeeez," and “Well Ah just must be alLERRRRRgic to it! Ahhhhm sooo sorry yew went to ahhhlllll thaaat trubble! I'll just have some of my little snaaaaak that I brawwwt alawwwwng. Toooooneeeee, would yew mahnd gettin' my little saaaak out of the caaaaaw? I fawgott to brang it in with meeeeeeee."

Tooooneeee trotted off back outside to fetch her little snaaaaaak...a bag of sliced cucumbers with some lowfat ranch dressing. "It keeeeeps me the sahhhhhhhhz I wannnna beeeeee," she confided to us when her retriever returned.

Earth Mother was havin’ an awful hard time hangin' on.

On into the family room, Tony with a small serving of lasagna, Scarlett with her bag of low-cal treats. Beers all 'round except for Scarlett, who opted for "wahhhhn, if yew wooden mahnd."
The mood of the evening felt unnatural to me. Tony wasn't even Tony; he was Tooooonnnneeeee, with the limpet hanging on his and Husband’s every word, "ooooooohhhhhh-ing" at them. Multiple adoring, purse-lipped-perplexed, and awestruck expressions played over her features.

I could feel myself becoming knotty-pine color, indistinguishable from the paneling; no more than a friendly smile on the rare occasions when a word or glance was thrown in my direction. Since I was no longer part of the company, I began my examination of her styhhhhhhhhhhhhhlll.
Yew knooowww...her mooooduss operannnndeye.

Tony and Husband went into another room for a few minutes, and an enraptured Jeannie was telling me about her family: “Daaadddy’s a careeeah naval man, we lived alllll ovahhh.” And about her daddy’s “backyahhhhhd and allll the shadetreeeeez.”
Just when Tony and Husband returned to the room, I was asking, in my version of her drawl, “Did you come ahhhhhout?”

A twinkly sideways look at the Man of Her Dreams, “Well this is somethin’ Tooony doesn’ know about meeee.”
Tony’s face lit up with a big grin.
He turned to Husband, “I got me a DEB-u-tante!”

My conclusion that first evening would never be shaken. She was either a completely manufactured personality, or a Gen-U-wine Real Southern Belle. The body and hair were natural enough (damn her eyes!) but the accent, the whole "oh Rhhhettttttttt, what'll Ah dewwwwwwwwwww?" persona just couldn't be sustained. I just knew Tony would wake up and see her for what she was, especially surrounded by his good ol' friends, including me. And I would have my two princes back.

They got married two years later.


Rinkly Rimes said...

Are you still friends! An accent can be very damning. My mother packed me off to elocution classes as soon as we moved from Kent to Staffordshire (UK)

Carolynn Anctil said...

OMG...it's a good think I wasn't drinking something when I read that last line!

LOL...that is hilarious! I could hear her voice cleeah ovah heeeaah.

So...is there a part two? What happened. Did you have a parting of the ways or a meeting of the minds?

Do tell.

June said...

RR, I adore accents. I really do. Real ones.

C, oh yayusss, there are parts two and three and four and on and on...

Beth Camp said...

What a treat. You put your readers right in the living room and then left us wondering, hoping for the best, but with a real shot of cynicism. This sounds like the start of something longer. Whaat aaah voyace!

shammi said...

Heehee... that was funny! :) Pretty much the only Southern American accents I've heard have been in movies ("Mississippi Burning", anyone?)... but it certainly grates on you after a bit! :) I can imagine how annoying it must have been, especially coming from a Miss Perfect Looks! :)