We had a misty mornin', sorta Monet-like. A cool, vapory dreamscape whar' ya hear voices, but doan see no bodies until they's up yore front steps.
"Sorry Missus Belle, I did not mean to startle you, mam."
I step out the door an' smile, "Well, hidy TQ, what brung ya' near thisaway afore the milkman?"
"You are very funny Aunty--milkman. How long since there has been a milkman in Crackerville?
Oh!! I AM sorry. Oh no! I have done it again. How clumsy can a fella be? I apologize. I just wasn't thinking. Please excuse me."
I peered at him wif' a mite bit o' puzzlement. Then I said, "Honey, what does ya have to apologize fer? An' is them pickles youse holdin' fer me and Uncle?"
The fair haired young fella relaxed an' give up a wry smile. "Oh! Yes, the pickles are from Missus Walker who wanted to thank you for the pint of cherry tomatoes and the cucumbers Uncle dropped off at the dry cleaners for her. I was headed this way, so Missus Walker asked if I could bring these by for y'all. She said your tomatoes was like tomato candy." He held out the jar of Mazie Walker's legendary bread an' butter pickles.
"Thanky," I said. "now, what was ya apologizin' fer, Sugar?"
He looked down at the floor. "Well...that crack about the milkman. I did not mean to say that you are so old that...well, that...uh...Sorry, mam, I just need to hush my mouth before I say anything else offensive. I am always doing that lately."
I suppressed a smile, "Who else has ya offended wif' that dreadful mouf of yores, TQ?"
He sank a little lower into his hips, his shoulders sagged off to one side. Seems like he sucked in half the mist, he drew such a big breath.
"Well, mam, Carey Beth won't return my phone calls on account of me saying I did not want to have dinner with Sue Ellen and Jed if Sue Ellen was cooking. All I said was that Cajun tofu was not my idea of a good dinner and vegetarians made life too adventuresome for us carnivores."
After recoverin' mah own snicker' I said, "I doan see nuthin' wrong wif that."
"Me either, but Carey Beth said she 'could not endure a bigoted insensitive oaf' like me."
I almost laughed again', but I seen his distress. "Why TQ, iffin' she called you a 'bigoted oaf,' warn't she bein' insensitive?"
"No mam. The rules appear to be that if they call you a bigot, that allows most any other label to be stuck on you. Bigots don't have feelings, according to Carey Beth."
His shoulders slumped lower, "Did you know Carey and I were almost engaged? Now she won't see me. I was only trying to make a little jest out of Sue Ellen's cooking. I don't know any man who doesn't try to get out of an invitation to her kitchen. Last time we were over there she plopped a cactus bush on my plate, it was oozing some sand-like stuff. Carciofi couscous she said. It doesn't mean I wish her harm or would not be pleased as punch to go hiking or play cards with Sue Ellen and Jed. I just thought I'd put a little humor into something everybody does--turn down Sue Ellen's twigs and nut dinners."
Well, now y'all, I couldn't stifle another giggle.
"And my own Mama is scrunched faced with me too. When Rolly McGuire brought home that English dog with the smashed faced, all I said was it was a good match. Hell's bells, mam', Rolly thought it funny, but mama is pis...ah, furious at me for saying what is so obvious that not saying it is like an awkward sound in the room.
"I am done with it, Aunty. There is no humor left in the world when folks has a right to be all sensitive over an ingrown toenail. We are going to be the most stale, dull folks.
"I hate sensitivity, Aunty, it's anti-reality."