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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Mary Gets Rubbed

There we were, as we so often are: black-pantsed and white-shirted and side-by-side. Neatly coiffed, hands clasped behind our backs, Mary and I rock gently on our heels, striving for a look that says both “I’m here to serve” and “Please don’t ask me for anything”.

We are standing in the banquet hall, just outside the swinging kitchen doors.

Church service over, a 30-minute bar/reception follows.

Christmas dinner is right around the corner.

“You look nice,” I say.

“No, you look nice,” Mary says.

Ice waters filled to a three-quarters height, butter pats and creams center-table, silverware inspected, we await the storm that will be the next four hours.

“Oy vey,” Mary says.

A man in a suit, comfortably nestled between “old” and “elderly”, is approaching with a surprisingly sturdy gait.

“Mary!” he shouts.

My head swivels to the right, where I watch a blush creep up Mary’s neck.

“You know this guy?” I say out of the side of my mouth.

“Everybody knows me,” she mutters.

The man in the suit wraps an arm around Mary’s shoulders, rubs her upper arm vigorously. “How’re ya, sweetheart? Say, I’m wondering what a guy’s gotta do around here to get a glass of ice water. Can you do that for me, sweetheart?”

Mary, ever the sweetheart, can indeed get this guy a glass of ice water.

I follow her into the back. “No, seriously,” I say, “How does he know your name?”

She shakes her head. “When I was setting up that table just outside the double doors, he was out there.”

“Did he hug you then, too?”

“I’m irresistible to the old guys,” she says, wide-eyed. “They want to squeeze me.”

It’s true. “You’ll probably get a proposal out of the evening.”

“Shaddap,” she says pleasantly.

Thirty minutes later, and Mary comes flying into the back kitchen. “Ack!” We’d just finished serving the salads: huge, glass-bowled affairs passed around tables of eight, family-style. I hold out a piece of fresh fruit to calm her nerves.

“That’s not going to help,” she says, popping it into her mouth. “Mmmm,” she says, “pineapple.”

“So what’s going on?”

She dabs at her lips, checks her lipstick in the polished steel of the hand-towel dispenser. “Do I look like I want to be hugged to you?”

“I personally find you almost indescribably attractive,” I say.

She narrows her eyes at me. “Why I oughta…”

“Why you little…”

We laugh.

“You busy? Come with me. Watch this.”

I follow her out to the floor, where she is engulfed by old- to elderly men. “Mary!” they shout.

“You gotta meet Pearl,” she says, grinning. She pushes me forward.

“Pearl!” they shout.

One of them throws an arm around Mary, rubs her on the back. “You’re nice people, you know that? You’re just nice people.”

And we smile at each other.

Because, darn it. We’re just nice people.

Nice, huggable people.

Have a good weekend, everyone. Don't forget to come back!


Silliyak said...

I hope you got good (monetary) tips

fishducky said...

How could I ever forget to come back? I LOVE IT HERE!!

Indigo Roth said...

Come closer! No no, BOTH of you...

jabblog said...

You can always have a nice shower when you get home - and a stiff drink . . .

Geo. said...

Not a hugger but I am an old guy. We try to grab younger, sturdier people when the urge to topple takes us. The rubbing part, I don't know, is probably something else.

fmcgmccllc said...

Just a couple of sweethearts for the old geezers, I love it. They need someone to talk to them too.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari Om
Now if he'd been coming at her with a rolled up brolly that would have been a whole different state of affairs.

This affair is much better. Sharing and caring.

Oh you gotta know we never leave you?! YA(((((((8))))))M xxx

Perpetua said...

Huggable is good, Pearl! I like huggable people and consider it a real compliment to be called huggable. :-)

joeh said...

It seems cute to us geezers when we're a bit liquored up...sorry.

You do sound like good people!

jenny_o said...

There is a thin line between nice and sleazy, but these old guys sound like they are fully on the "nice" side (perhaps correct me if I'm wrong), and those kinds of people I love to get hugged by, even if I don't know them. Can I go serve with you and Mary? What, you mean I gotta WORK too?

Jeanie said...

I think the condition of their breath would be the deciding factor in how I felt about the geezer hugs.

Sioux said...

Now if you got tips at those banquets, perhaps the hugging would be more tolerable?

Elephant's Child said...

Some of us take our hugs where we can. Nice of Mary to share...

Buttons said...

I know we have never met Pearl but I somehow knew you were Huggable. You and Mary are probably very adorable:) B

mybabyjohn/Delores said...

That was me a few years back...now...I'm an old coot and young folks are always giving me a squeeze. I guess I look like their granny.

Linda O'Connell said...

Hugging the "help"? You two are not just good people, you are adorable, that's why!

Rose L said...

We elderly are huggable, too.

River said...

C'mere you lovely young things, gimme a hug!

Kymbo Whitford said...

I hope you checked your purse to make sure they weren't frisking and stealing from you, silly girls...fancy falling for that old one..

Tez said...

I'll be back! (Could not resist.) Especially if hugs are involved.

sage said...

Never knew women in black pants and white shirts were free to be hugged, but I am leery about hugging those I don't know really well and even then,... I love your tales and will be back.

Daisy said...

You are indeed huggable people! :-)