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Dessert under the elms

Dear Uncle Ambrose and Aunt Victoria,


Gopher Woods experienced its first citizen’s arrest the other day.


It was bound to happen, according to Horace “Barney” Moffitt, our lone law enforcement officer. Barney has long decried the lack of driver etiquette in our fair hamlet.


“I could see this coming since the night the Yank first drove his Harley down Main Street, revving his engine at 2 o’clock on a Sunday morning,” Barney said as he hitched his belt that tends to sag with all the attached law enforcement accoutrements.


“Yank” is Al Yankowitz, our resident carpetbagger from Flatbush, whose love for his Harley is matched only by his devotion to Zelda, known as Ms. Yank.


In Yank’s defense, he’s become a respected member of the Gopher Woods community, having been named to the Better Downtown Committee’s board of directors. He even heads up the popular Bikers’ Cruise-In that brings in choppers and hogs from all over the Piedmont, with the cutoff hour diplomatically placed at 6 p.m.


Yank wasn’t involved in the uproar that everybody’s talking about. Instead, it was the normally genteel Miss Tiffany Teasdale, Gopher Woods’ most eligible old maid.


It’s said that during her youthful years, Miss Tiffany spent considerable effort discouraging potential suitors. “It was the honorable thing for a young lady to do,” she says every chance she gets.


After a certain age, however, seeing the error of her ways, her attempts to lure the remaining bachelors back into her favors have gone unrequited. Not even her renowned persimmon puddin’ has enticed a silver-haired beau.


Miss Tiffany, meanwhile, has developed a ritual — her daily constitution along the tree-lined residential streets of Gopher Woods. Seth Thomas, who owns the jewelry-hardware store, said he sets his clocks by Miss Tiffany‘s strolls.


It was during last Thursday’s saunter that Miss Tiffany was crossing Maple Street. At the same time, retired Marine Manny Leatherback in his pickup was turning right onto Maple from Elm, screeching so close to the spinster that the breeze blew an oxeye daisy from her hat.


Manny, realizing the gravity of the situation, braked his pickup and jumped out to apologize. “I’m awful sorry, Miss Tiffany,” he gushed. “I didn’t see you.”


Miss Tiffany, recovering from her momentary shock, went uncharacteristically ballistic. She turned on Manny with fire in her eyes.


“You’re under arrest!” she screamed, landing a blow on Manny’s noggin with a nightstick.


It wasn’t long, owing to the commotion on an otherwise quiet Thursday afternoon, that Barney was on the scene. “I’ve performed a citizen’s arrest,” Miss Tiffany informed him.


“How in the world did you put his lights out?” Barney asked, prepared to write in his incident book.


“With my nightstick,” was the response.


“Miss Tiffany, what are you doing with a nightstick?”


“I always carry it under my lace during my walks, for just such a situation.


“Officer Moffitt, that man almost ran me over with his truck,” Miss Tiffany testified. “It’s like I was a nonentity, a nothing — kind of like my love life, come to think.”


Manny, lying flat on his back under a sprawling elm tree, was coming back from his unexpected siesta. Acknowledging his guilt as a careless, pedestrian-ignoring buffoon, he was the picture of remorse. “Is there anything I can do to earn your forgiveness, Miss Tiffany?”


“Hmm. Well, do you like persimmon puddin’?”


Folks here now debate whether Miss Tiffany gained Manny’s devoted companionship with persimmon puddin’, or the nightstick.




Your nephew


Larry Penkava is a writer for Randolph Hub. Contact: 336-302-2189, larrypenkava@gmail.com.