In order to get all that writing (as well as working with my editor) completed, I’ve had to discipline myself and keep offline as much as possible. But I figured it was probably about time that I checked in, just to let you all know that I’m still alive and kicking.
Here’s a special little story I created just for you while you’re patiently waiting the release of my new books. It’s a bittersweet romance; a stirring tale of one sweet woman’s unfaltering belief in the man she loves--complete with illustrations. I hope you enjoy it!
This is Lucinda Jane Abernathy. Lucy is 81.
And here’s Lucinda’s husband of 10 years, Reginald Barcliff Abernathy III. Reggie is 93. He’s a rascal and a rogue. Some might even say he’s a cradle robber for snatching up a sweet young thing 12 years his junior.
It seemed to everyone who knew them that Lucy and Reggie had an ideal marriage...that they adored each other and were deeply in love.
While Reggie had always had a reputation as an outrageous flirt and a bit of a womanizer, most people thought it was just part of his roguish charm.
But Lucinda knew different. Old Reggie had a real wild side. She’d caught him dallying with that 70-something floozy from bingo more than once.
He’d sometimes come home drunk as a skunk at the outrageous hour of 9 p.m., long after most men his age were fast asleep and sawing logs. Lucy knew he’d been out philandering because of the hours-long tenting of the sheets after he plopped into bed, sprawled on his back. Yes, it was clear he’d been taking his happy pills again.
Lucy had come to accept his boozing and infidelity because she loved Reggie so dearly, but she had a more difficult time coming to terms with his gambling addiction. Month after month she watched their retirement income dwindle after Reggie gave in to yet another bingo rampage. And then there were all those shopping sprees for his snappy fedoras and snazzy bow ties.
Things got so bad that sometimes there was no food in the house for days and poor Lucy was starving. The utility companies kept threatening to turn off their services. Lucy was frightened and didn’t know what to do. She tried reasoning with Reggie about his gambling problem and fashionista shopaholic tendencies. He always offered a tearful apology, promising he’d do better and pledging his undying love for Lucy.
As always, Lucy forgave her beloved Reggie and believed his endless promises, trusting that one day he really would change...because he loved her as much as she loved him. But, sadly, Reggie’s inborn urge to be bad was just too strong.
One day poor, starving Lucy did something shameful...something she’d never, ever done before. She stole some food. A can of peaches. She couldn’t help it. She was so terribly weak from hunger, lightheaded, and becoming more frail by the day. Unfortunately, Lucy was nabbed by the cops for shoplifting. She was booked, fingerprinted, given a standard issue orange jumpsuit, and had a mug shot taken.
She was only allowed one call and, of course, she phoned her beloved Reggie, explaining what happened and begging him to come down and keep her from spending time in jail for her shameful crime. Reggie, of course, rushed to his wife’s side, soothing and calming her.
At the hearing, the judge asked Lucinda what she had stolen. “A can of peaches, your honor,” she said. He asked her why she would do such a terrible thing. “Because I was so very hungry, sir,” she explained.
The judge contemplated for a moment while Reggie wrapped an arm around his wife’s shoulder, comforting and supporting her. “Everything’s going to be all right, Lucy,” he promised her. “Your Reggie is here, my love.”
The judge asked Lucy how many peaches were in the can. “There were six,” she replied, feeling so much better because Reggie was there at her side. He may have been a rogue and a gambler, but she knew he loved her and wouldn’t let anything bad happen to her.
Nodding solemnly, the judge repeated, “Six peaches.” Then he said, “That will be six days in jail, Mrs. Abernathy.”
“What?! For just six peaches?” Lucy cried out. “Oh no! Reggie...oh my dear Reggie, do something,” Lucy pleaded, clutching her husband’s arm and sobbing. “Please...do something. They want to lock me up, away from you for six whole days and nights!”
“Six peaches...six days and nights...” Reggie said, gazing intently into his distraught, peach-thieving wife’s eyes. “Your honor,” he addressed the judge, “may I say something on my dear wife’s behalf?”
His gavel in midair as he was about to pronounce sentencing, the judge stopped. “Certainly, Mr. Abernathy. What is it you wish to say to the court?”
“Well, sir, Lucinda also stole a can of peas. The giant, economy size.”
And that, dear friends, is the sad and tragic tale of poor, sweet, trusting Lucinda Jane Abernathy. She is due to be out of jail in another 1,436 days.
--Daisy Dexter Dobbs
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