The Guilty Dog Will Bark

Now, the date's all wrong up there, and I'm fighting with the Google people about it, but just remember that it's wrong. Today is Friday, January 2, 2009! As big as the Google is, you'd think they could keep a thing like the date straight!

That might be a picture of me the one night in my life I tied one on back in 1940 something, or it might not be. You don't know if it's me or not, and you don't know if whoever it is, is tipsy or just tickled, and I'm not going to tell. I don't tell y'all everything, you know.

But I guess I have to confess what I did to Delores on New Year's Eve, and since the guilty dog will bark sooner or later, I might as well unload it on you all as anybody.

New Year's Eve I was bored with all that's on TV--all that music blasting and young people swinging their hips--and I thought I'd play with my neighbor Delores Ledbetter a little bit. I called her up, and I said, "Delores, come on over here tonight and we'll go somewhere and tie one on."

Now I did that knowing good and well she'd say "Oh, Trixie, you know we won't do that kind of thing, never have!"

To which I thought speak for yourself, but to which I said, "Yeah, but we're never too old to dream."

"Just listen to you!" she said, and I told her to just come on over and have a cup of coffee and we'd just talk about going out and tying one on, and she said all right, which I knew she would because Delores loves to go to meetings and talk about doing things more than doing anything, which is why she's at the top of the list when anybody wants to nab somebody for a committee over at the church, and I'm not.

So I made us each a cup of Eight O'Clock so we'd stay awake til midnight, and I put out some rum balls left over from Christmas, knowing Delores was one to pop rum balls like pills, and we sat at the kitchen table and talked about where we might go to have a little nip, maybe cut a rug, bat our eyes at some old men. She laughed--Delores has this hen-cackling little laugh--and said, "Now, Miss Trixie, you know there's nowhere in Spindale where two old women can go, you know, without giving the men the wrong idea."

To which I said, "What's so wrong with giving the men the wrong idea?" Then I slid my eyes toward the pantry door where I always keep my big pocketbook hanging, and I didn't need to say another word: She knows I carry a crowbar in it and would know how to use it if any men we met up with crossed the line.

"Trixie! What if people from the church were to see us?" And I said, "You've got a point, since a whole lot of them are bound to be there, but they'll be three sheets to the wind, anyhow, and won't be able to tell us from spots in front of their eyes," to which she said, "Trixie!" again and smacked my hand.

And then we took to reminiscing, the way old women will do, about our young days. I talked about how I kept the dance floor hot down at a local club while my first husband Frank was in the war, but then my Aunt Ollie Pearl, who I was living with at the time, called me down for it and made me stay home nights, but I told her I wasn't doing half what Frank was doing, truth be told. But that's as wild as I ever got in my life.

And Delores said she'd never even stepped inside the door of a bar, and admitted she wished she'd gone just once for a chance to tell the kind of lies little barflies tell, such as that her name was Tequilla and she was from Spain instead of from Spartanburg, South Carolina.

And I said I always wanted to go to a bar--a really wronchy, old-fashioned beer joint--and tell a strange man with beery breath that my name was Trixie Roebuck and my daddy was the Roebuck half of Sears, and I could order anything my friends wanted from the catalog for half price.

We watched TV until the big ball came down at Times Square, and then we sang that song about all the old acquaintances we should soon forget.

And then we had one last good chuckle, and I talked her into having a glass of store-bought eggnog with me, and she said that would be fine, but what she still doesn't know is I sneaked and put some rum in it. Turns out that on top of all those rum balls, the eggnog was more than she could handle, and when she walked across my yard to her house, she stumbled in the dark across a hoe I left laying by the boxwoods and twisted her ankle and spent New Year's Day laid up in bed, and I'm so guilty I feel like I could just lay down and die.

But I'm not planning on doing that anytime soon.

So y'all stay tuned.