When he announced he'd married her,
The whole town was aghast.
A gum-chewing, brassy blonde,
Why would he do a thing like that!

He could have had his choice,
Of any widow in the town.
Respectable and more his age,
Who were well known around.

Dad told Mom at supper time,
Her reaction was, "Oh my.
Wait until the Bridge Club hears,
The girls will nearly die."

"Now take it easy, honey,"
I heard my father say.
"Oh my," Mom said again,
"Mae would roll over in her grave."

"I know Mae's not been gone for long,"
Dad said, "But Ben's been so alone.
That big house there, all by himself,
Can't seem much like home."

"But - HER," Mom stressed the HER,
"Ben could have any girl in town.
He's twice her age - why, that old fool."
Dad said, "Honey keep it down."

Since Ben had been a family friend,
It was bound to come to pass.
Sooner or later, Mom and Louise,
Would cross each other's paths.

So my folks held a dinner party
Mainly to meet Louise.
It was Dad's idea,
I heard him ask Mom, "Please."

Reluctantly, Mom called their friends,
They all said, yes, they'd come.
I suspected they were curious,
And felt adventuresome.

Well, they all showed up, as planned,
Including Louise and Ben.
The ladies were polite to her,
As well as all the men.

Louise, I thought, was beautiful,
I watched in total awe.
No wonder that Ben fell in love,
With the lady that I saw.

Diamond earrings, diamond necklace,
Diamond rings - all gifts from Ben.
I think the ladies all were jealous,
And, perhaps, so were the men.
Her dress - sequined and expensive,
Cut too low, too short, too tight.
Unaware - she didn't care,
She thought she dressed-up right.

I heard the table conversation,
Louise's grammar, pretty bad.
But it didn't seem to bother Ben,
Or the other men - or Dad.

She may have giggled at the wrong times.
Or laughed too much too loud.
But Ben sat with his buttons bursting,
He was happy and so proud.

The next day, after the party,
We heard the front door chimes.
And would you believe - there stood Louise,
"Hi, Dearie! Have you got some time?"

"Come in. Sit down," said Mom,
(You could have knocked her for a loop.)
Curious, I hung around,
I wondered what's the scoop.

"Can't stay a minute," said Louise,
"But I wanted you to know.
I appreciated last night so much,
And I came by to tell you so."

"I know I don't fit in so good,
With Ben's old friends, you see.
But I love him so awful much,
And he's been so good to me."

"I wouldn't hurt him for all the world,
I only want for Ben what's best.
I may not say or do things right,
But I sure was proud to be your guest."

"You know, I've worked my entire life,
Dropped outa' school at ten.
To take care of the kids at home,
Our Ma was ailin' then."

"I never did get back to school,
And Ma never did get well.
I raised four kids most by myself,
And I gotta' say they turned out swell."

"The kids all finished high school,
Two even went beyond.
I paid their way by waitressing,
After both our folks were gone."

"But I never got the time or chance,
To get me some proper schoolin'.
So when Ben asked me to marry him,
I thought the guy was foolin.'"

"Sure, he's old enough to be my pop,
And I could be his daughter.
But what's wrong with that, if I love him,
The way a good wife oughta.'"

"I got no polish, no 'savvy-faire,'
I'm just as plain as plain can be.
But meeting Ben sure as heck has been,
The best thing that's happened to me."

"And I've been honest with my man,
I got no reason to pretend.
Tell the ladies they can laugh at me,
But they got no right to laugh at Ben."

I saw my Mom choke back a tear,
As she began to speak.
"Oh Louise ... I'm sorry, dear,"
Then she kissed her on the cheek.

And at that point, she and Mom,
Became inseparable, best friends.
And I learned my Mom was not a snob,
And I admired both of them.

Some years later, Ben passed away,
And Mom consoled Louise,
Recalling how she stood up for him,
And how all these years he'd been so pleased.

Ben knew how hard she struggled,
That it wasn't easy fitting in.
But oh, how much he loved her,
And how much Louise loved him.
Virginia (Ginny) Ellis
copyright 2001 ~ revised 2004

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