Summary: This story is from the memoirs of Adam Cartwright. Thanks to Bonanzaholic for the inspiration.
Word Count: 1800
Adam’s Memoirs: Getting Lucky with Mary
The next morning, as the dawn rose over Minneapolis, I slid out of the rumpled bed and pulled on my black pants. Then I leaned over to kiss Mary’s bare shoulder. She opened her eyes and smiled up at me. “I didn’t mean to wake you, Mary,” I said.
“I’m glad you did,” she said looking up with her warm, brown eyes.
We had first met at a party a week earlier. I was in Minneapolis on business. Pa wanted me to look into a new market for our nauga herd. I was sure I found one. Seems like a furniture factory was looking to manufacture a line of comfortable lounge chairs that they were going to call LaZBoy Loungers. I was sure this was going to be a sure thing.
“Pa,” said I. “These chairs are the things of the future. Really mechanically innovative.”
“Sometimes you let your education, get in the way of your thinking!” Pa growled.
I countered, “If we had one of those LaZBoy Lounge chairs, you wouldn’t be always yelling at Little Joe to take his feet off the furniture. Surely you can’t be the only Pa who yells at a rapscallion son to get his feet off the furniture. There is a big market for that sort of thing.”
Pa had to smile at that one. “I suppose so. But no ’foot on the furniture rapscallion son’ is as cute as my boy Little Joe.”
“I suppose not,” I agreed buttering up Pa. I wasn’t quite sure about no sons being as cute as my cute brother Joe. After all, Mr. Cleaver’s boy Beaver was pretty cute and so was Reverend Camden’s blonde boy Simon. On the other hand, Pa never hollered at me when I put my size 12’s on the table, the settee or even on the beds, even on the dining room table, even on the kitchen table. I suppose that is the trade off for being the eldest and having to be the responsible one and spend my childhood building the Ponderosa and haul ass to Minneapolis in the middle of the winter.
However, being the Crown Prince of the Ponderosa has its good points as well. As the eldest son, I also get the first bath. My younger brothers had to just settle for my leftovers when I finished. Hoss got the next dip in the tub and Joe the last dunk. Little Joe didn’t realize until after I went off to college that bath water was not supposed to be dirty brown. For years, he really believed we gave him baths in tepid cocoa to make him sweet. When I made up that baloney about dirty bath water being cocoa, I had to hang on to the seat of Hoss’ long johns so he didn’t tip back that copper bathtub and suck up the “cocoa”. Hoss!” I reminded him. “It ain’t cocoa. Its dirty bath water! That is just a flannel-mouthed lie we made up to fool Baby Brother!”
“Oh! That’s right!” Hoss chuckled. He wasn’t one bit upset as he is so easy going and Hoss knew as soon as I stepped on the Greyhound Stage Coach for Back East U, he would be notched up in the pecking order to get the fresh bath water. I think it wasn’t until Joe and I did those side by side baths in “The Crucible” that he realized how clear bath water was supposed to be and we could see his gray gym shorts right through the suds. Joe stopped wearing those gray gym shorts in the tub soon after and swapped out for bare ass baths. Made lots of gals in Virginia City real happy as a result.
Meanwhile, back in Minneapolis, I made a pretty good deal with the LaZboy furniture guy for the naugas and wired Pa the good news. Because I settled out on the deal so fast, I had a few days to see the sights of Minneapolis.
Pa had an old friend, Mr. Grant who was in the news business and he had wanted me to look him up. I went over to meet him at his office and just like Pa said, he was a real swell guy. He was stocky and bald and smoked cigars and was delighted to see me and reminisce about their adventures back in the day.
“Did you know we used to call your Pa ‘Lucky’?” Mr. Grant said puffing on his cigar.
“Lucky?” I raised my left eyebrow.
“Yup, Lucky,” said Mr. Grant.
I winked and Grant nodded.
As a little kid, to amuse myself while Pa worked and I was left on my own with Baby Hoss, I practiced for hours staring into Pa’s shaving mirrors to keep my entire face immobile and then move one part at will. Baby Hoss would sit on the floor transfixed by my antics. I could move each eyebrow or the corner of my lips or wink or wiggle my ear lobes whenever I wanted. It really amused my brother Hoss and he would stay out of mischief until Pa came home for supper. When I was really in practice, I could even make my nose hairs wave in rhythm with the fiddler at the square dances and roll my eyes in opposite directions simultaneously.
“Yep, we called your Pa ‘Lucky’ cause he had these lucky green corduroy boxers and no matter what, when he wore them, he got lucky,” said Mr. Grant.
“Green corduroy? My kid brother, Joe has a jacket like that and…”
“And?” Mr. Grant winked and reached into his desk drawer. He pulled out a bottle of Scotch whiskey and two glasses and poured us two stiff drinks. “And? Bet he is real lucky!”
“He sure is! He’s been shot more than a dozen times and hasn’t a scar on him. And me and Hoss have those green corduroy boxers too,” I chuckled.
“Heh heh heh! Like father, like sons!” Mr. Grant said pouring us another round. “How about some poker tonight? Me and Slaughter and Ted and Doc Lindstrom have a game going this evening.”
I agreed. Despite his name, Slaughter was a real nice guy and reminded me of one of the sea captains, Captain Steubing, who used to visit my grandfather, Abel Stoddard, in Boston. It was a nice friendly game and I came away with a few dollars more than I started with.
Just before we broke up, Mr. Grant said, “My wife, Edie and I are having a party tomorrow night. Why don’t you come by? Maybe you will get lucky. “
Pa’s old friend, Mr. Grant was Mary’s boss and that is how we met, at the party.
Slaughter and his wife were there and Doc Lindstrom and his wife as well. Mrs. Lindstrom was pretty and elegant and doted on her husband. There were a few single girls that I suspect Mrs. Grant invited to meet me, the visiting eligible bachelor cowboy.
One my left, Mrs. Grant had seated a gal named Sue Ellen. She was nice looking and bragged about her homemaking skills. She had even prepared the Veal Oscar that the Grants served that evening. Hop Sing couldn’t have prepared finer. Even though I assume Mrs. Grant had hoped to make a match between Sue Ellen and me, she seemed to be playing footsie under the table with Doc Lindstrom on her left. His wife seemed quite oblivious.
Seated on my right was a sweet country girl who would have been a great match for my brother Hoss. Her name was Georgette and she was sort of taken on Ted, who was taken on himself.
Opposite me though was the finest lady at the table. Her name was Mary. I could hardly eat a bite of the Veal Oscar, even though Sue Ellen, the happy homemaker, kept urging me to have more and heaping asparagus on my plate when it seemed that Phyllis Lindstrom might be noticing that Sue Ellen was flirting with Doc.
Mary was all I had ever dreamed of. She was tall and graceful and had gorgeous dark hair, a quick smile and when she looked at me, I melted into a pool of mush. She danced great too.
Later, when I took her on the Grant’s porch for a breath of air, she told me a bit about her past. Mary had once been married back in NY to a fellow named Rob but didn’t want to give the details of what had happened to him. She was a real lady.
“It was a long time ago. I was young. He was in the army…. Now it is over,” Mary said.
I leaned in and kissed her. She kissed me back…a lot.
For the next week, Mary and I were inseparable. Finally, it was the last night of my visit to Minneapolis. I wanted to marry her and take her home to the Ponderosa.
“I married Rob after a whirlwind romance. I don’t know if I should ever do that again…” she explained. She said it was too soon to make such a decision but…as truth has it, I got lucky. Must have been those green corduroy Lucky Boxers.
“That’s ok? Do you want me to make you breakfast before you ride off?” Mary smiled again. She was so perky and cheerful and sexy, even early in the morning, even before Maxwell house coffee.
“No.” I buckled my gun belt. “No need to; you turn the world on with your smile. You take a nothing day, and suddenly make all seem worthwhile.”
“Oh! I, you say the sweetest things!” Mary sighed. She batted her long eyelashes at me and my heart thudded in my chest. I was really in love as well as lust.
“It’s you girl and you should know it, with each glance and every little movement you show it!” I sang. Mary loved when I sang. She said I had a great voice.
“Oh my!” Mary squealed. She got out of bed and walked neked to the closet. I almost changed his mind about riding out early. But… I did have to get back to the Ponderosa and it was a mighty long, cold ride from Minneapolis.
“What should I wear today? How about this blue dress?” Mary called from her off camera walk in closet.
“Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!” I screamed as she walked out into the bedroom.