Beulah inherited the property from John Roy, her brother, although she hadn't seen him or heard his voice in over twenty years. She had moved away and only rarely looked back in her thoughts, or maybe she looked back often. I don't really know. What I do know is she had been living on the coast in Alabama, some town near Mobile. Neither she or my Daddy had ever planned on meeting each other but John Roy's death made it happen. And it was then my Daddy told me that he and Mama had an open marriage and he had three girlfriends.
So I laughed and said, "Daddy. Please tell me more."
He gave me that sly grin inherited straight up and down by my brother, Graham. "You hadn't heard, Boog? I mean, seriously, you hadn't heard?" He wanted to tell this story so bad it was oozing out of him.
"No, Daddy. But please tell me. I GOTTA hear. Seriously."
"Well, ya' know, Charles's place over there?"
"Yes sir. The one John Roy was building a house on. Up there in the woods behind Graham's hunting camp."
"Yes, yes. I was taking care of the peas. Ya know, the pea patch, I do it every year? Just minding my own business. Gate's locked, and that woman. She's up at the house."
"Beulah." He said like I should have known her name.
"Who's Beulah?" I say feigning total shame that I don't. And laughing. I can't stop laughing. It's so good to be here with him.
I'm on a bench that has water flowing through it into a clear pool of blue. It is an uncharacteristically beautiful, southern August day and it's just us and he's trying to cook shitty hamburgers on a broken grill. Like a big fish story I will tell you that it took us three hours to cook those hamburgers and for Daddy to tell me the story. But, seriously, I think it did.
And I still don't know if I've got everything straight, but I hope to tell you this story 'cause somebody other than me has to hear it. Right now I'm giving myself a little break to kick back with Billy Sue, the dog who will soon be typing 'cause all she does is watch me do it.
Have I told you thank you for reading lately? No? Well, thank you. Thank you for being here.