Who knew a white, jewel-studded jumpsuit and a pompadour could turn a sensible man into a rock star? Yes, Elvis was in the house! Or at least it sure seemed like it. The kids crowded around Victor/Elvis, the girls giggled and even Flora suddenly acted like a dumbstruck groupie, actually asking for his autograph and a picture with him.
Violet could only stare in wide-eyed wonder at the spectacle, but not for long. Freddy—in what could only be a hick farmer’s get-up of overalls, flannel shirt and a well-worn baseball cap-- and his family came to the door just then.
“Hi Aunt Violet,” Molly said, looking at her with a funny expression on her bewhiskered face—she was a cat, same as she had been for three years straight. “Are you ‘sposed to be Heidi?”
Violet laughed. “Sort of, yes,” she replied as Valerie came in wearing scary, dark, makeup, black clothes, and also carrying the baby. “Ooh, Valerie, don’t you look…uh…nice,” Violet said taking the baby out of her arms. “Oh, ders my cutie. Hello, Fireman Richie!” The baby wore a tiny, red firefighter coat with hat and black booties.
“I’m not supposed to look nice. I’m supposed to be scary,” Valerie said, gazing at the others. “Great costumes! Did you make them, Aunt Vi?”
“Some, yes,” Violet replied cooing at the baby.
“Oh, Darth Vadar! Who is that?” Valerie asked.
“Oh, that’s Joaquin. He’s much cuter without that mask on!”
“Always thought Darth Vader was sexy,” Valerie mumbled sneaking away.
Jimmy zoomed in wearing a pilot’s uniform, barely acknowledged Violet with a, “Coming in for a crash landing!” and headed toward the crowd of kids.
“Hi, Aunt Violet,” Nicky said slumping in looking awfully dejected for a jolly, gator hunter.
“What’s wrong, Nicky?” Violet asked.
“Debbie broke up with me. I’ll never love again,” he said, sighing, but his eyes suddenly popped out of his head when he spotted the Princesses giggling and making eyes at him. “Course, I could be wrong.”
“I’m sure you are,” Violet said.
“What in the world?” Freddy said, his mouth hanging open as he stared at Victor. “Laurie, don’t look! You’ll start drooling.”
“Huh?” Laurie said, trying to get her big, blue bubble costume in through the doorway.
Violet burst out laughing. “What are you supposed to be?” she asked.
“If you can’t tell then nobody will guess right!” Laurie plaintively wailed.
“Bubblegum?” Violet asked.
“No! I’m Violet!”
Violet gaped, then understood. “Oh, the blueberry Violet from Willy Wonka’s Chocolate factory!”
Laurie giggled. “Knew I could count on you! I wanted a costume that would hide my post-prego fatness,” she whined.
“Well, you done good!” Violet said, turning away from the front door just before a loud voice rang out followed by another.
“Hold on there, little lady! Don't be shutting us out!”
“Well, I declare! Isn’t anyone going to welcome us back home?”
Violet’s jaw dropped. “Marty! Mr. Kramer!”
“Oh, fiddle-dee-dee!” Marty said, fluttering an acru colored lace folding fan in front of her mischievous looking face.
“Oh, my goodness!” Violet said, hugging her half way—she still held baby Richie, after all. “You make a wonderful Scarlet O’Hara.”
“Doesn’t she, though?” Morris said, all dapper in a dandy Rhett Butler outfit of his own. “Who is this little fireman?”
“My brand new nephew. Baby Richie, meet Marty and Mr. Kramer,” Violet said.
“When are you going to start calling me Morris, Missy?”
“Maybe when you stop calling her Missy!” Marty suggested.
“Oh, I’m so glad to see you both! Come in so I can introduce you to everyone,” Violet said, going to close over the front door, but a baseball bat prevented her from doing that. Her eyes popped open as the door swung open again. There stood Marilyn Monroe in a body-hugging, sequined evening gown and-- if she knew her baseball players—Joe Dimaggio.
“Uh…hello?” Violet said.
“Hello,” Joe Dimaggio said, smiling brightly. “I know you! You’re Shirley Temple!”
Violet nodded her eyes never leaving Marilyn—or rather the woman pretending to be the famous sex symbol. She’d seen that face before, in Victor’s wedding pictures, as his bride.
“Well, I see you made it to the party, Catherine,” Marty said. “I was so hoping you would. I have someone I’d like you to meet.”
“I thought you were avoiding me, Mother,” Catherine said, looking Violet up and down, her eyes lingering on the baby. “Don’t you look cute.”
“Uh…thank you,” Violet said, although, she was not certain the woman meant her or the baby.
“Violet!” Joe Dimaggio suddenly shouted. “Gees, I knew you looked familiar! You’re Violet Bennett.”
“Yes?” Violet said, blinking stupidly at him, because unlike him, she didn't recognize him.
“It’s me, Andy! Remember from little league? I used to coach and ump a lot,” he said.
“Oh, yes,” Violet said. “It’s been so long. How are you, Andy?”
“Doing good,” he said, his smiled fading slightly. “I’m sorry about Richie. He was a good guy.”
“Thank you,” she said, uncomfortably aware that Catherine was eying her critically.
“Anyway, Catherine,” Marty said, her arm linked to that of Morris. “I assume you’ve been dying to know where we were all this time.”
Catherine lifted an arched eyebrow. “What do you mean where you’ve been?” she said. “Weren’t you here with Victor?”
Violet took a step back, waiting for the explosion.
“No, not technically,” Marty said, smiling slyly at Morris.
“Nor actually,” he added.
“Mother, what are you talking about?” Catherine asked, her attention finally off of Violet and the baby. “Where were you all this time if not here? You did not move back into your house, living on your own!”
“No, I was never alone, dear. We’ve been on honeymoon,” Marty said. “Meet my new husband, Catherine. Morris Kramer, my daughter.”
You’d think an arctic blast had just come into the living room, it got that chilly. Violet gulped and took another step back.
“Very funny, Mother,” Catherine said, her eyes icy blue slits. “Do be serious.”
“Oh, but I am, Catherine. Morris and I are married and we’ve been on honeymoon since…well, soon after I left the hospital. It was what you might call a whirlwind romance.”
Morris scoffed. “Some whirlwind! Only took fifty years,” he muttered.
“Morris Kramer, as in Kramer Lake, the scrooge of Kramerville and the hermit of Catalpa Valley?” Andy asked.
“One and the same." Morris replied.
"Holy Moly, I thought you were a myth."
"As you can see, no. Don’t believe I’ve made your acquaintance, young man,” Morris said holding out his hand.
“Andy, Andy Delaney,” he said pumping the man’s hand, smiling broadly. “If you’re now married to my mother-in-law, that makes you my new father-in law. That is so cool! I hope we get along all right, cuz the other one, Katie’s dad, never liked me!”
“We might do all right,” Morris said, chuckling.
“Congratulations, Marty. This is really awesome!” Andy said, kissing her cheek and hugging her warmly. "I wish you much happiness together."
"Thank you, Andy, dear," Marty said.
“Andrew,” Catherine said, through clenched teeth. “You can’t be serious. This is…”
“Wonderful, yes. Come on, Katie, this is great. Your mom finding love after so long is a very good thing,” Andy said putting his arm around her and whispering in her ear so only she could hear, “Be happy for them. Say something nice.”
Catherine seemed to be struggling with herself. She opened and closed her mouth several times, but each time spoke not a word nor did she make a sound, until, at last, she said, “I need a drink,” and she swiftly moved across the foyer and into the living room.
Andy grinned, said, “That’s as good as we’re getting for now,” and followed his wife, swinging his baseball bat onto his shoulder.
Marty beamed. “That went rather well. Let’s party!” and they too moved into the party.
Violet could only shake her head and whispered to the baby, “Whatever happens tonight, it won’t be either of our faults. Remember that!”
Baby Richie, yawned and fell asleep.
©2013 Glory Lennon All Rights Reserved
photo credit: http://image.shutterstock.com/display_pic_with_logo/147352/147352,1225552979,1/stock-photo-baby-boy-in-fireman-outfit-for-halloween-20393839.jpg