“Yes, Herbert, I’ll marry you!”
They kissed passionately and walked to the car. They got in the Model T and began kissing some more. Betty pulled away suddenly said, my parents, how will I tell my parents! I’ve got a great idea, Thanksgiving is coming up and I’ll introduce you.
At that Herbert turned an odd shade of green. He was so clumsy around parents of the girls he dated. This was going to be the most important meeting of his life, how would this go, what if he made a fool of himself?
He looked at Betty and expressed his fears. She looked at him and laughed.
She laid her head on his shoulder and said,
“Don’t be ridiculous darling; they’ll love you as much as I do.
Herbert wasn’t so sure of that, but he’d do anything for this woman and if she wanted him to humiliate himself, well, he’d do it. Let’s hope her parents didn’t kick him out.
Several days later the big moment came. He drove up to Betty’s house and rang the doorbell. An old man, smoking a pipe and wearing too big suspenders, looked at him suspiciously, and said,
The old man gave him a once over and
“ Yes, what can I do for you son?”
Good grief, didn’t she tell them he was coming. He loved that woman so much but there were times when she was such a scatterbrain!
“I’m Herb Schlee, Betty invited me to dinner.”
“Oh, that’s right! said the old man. She told me she had a young man coming to call. Please come in”
Herb entered tentatively and looked around the room. He looked at one special picture of a woman. It was a portrait of Betty. He admired her bright smiled and shining brown hair. He glanced at the huge wing back chair, and the comfortable sofa. They were both early American. In the corner sat a spinning wheel. He knew Betty loved to sew. His attention was broken when the old man asked him to sit down. Mr. Gordon sat in the wingback chair; Herbert sat on the couch.
Mr. Gordon gave him a once-over which Herbert was very conscious of.
The kitchen door swung open and an older version of Betty stepped in.
“Time to eat”, she said sweetly. She than noticed Herbert.
“Oh you must be Betty’s young man; she’s told us so much about you! Come on in, dinner is served.”
And now the fun begins.
They all sat down at a huge feast. It was a very beautifully spread with enough food to feed an army. He couldn’t understand why she made so much for just the four of them. He began daydreaming when he heard:
“Turkey, Mr. Schlee?”
Herbert politely accepted and said,
“Please don’t be so formal, call me…uh uh…
Betty came to his rescue.
“Herb has a one month furlough until his next assignment, isn’t that wonderful.
Mr. Gordon looked at him and said,
“Well, Mr. …Herb, and just what do you do in the army. When I was in the big one, WWI, I was in the Cavalry, shame they don’t that anymore, horses are more friendly than people”
“I, uh….I peel potatoes”
This was not far from the truth, since Herb was always in trouble, it seemed like K.P. was his occupation. Before he met Betty, he was always going out on the town when he should be on the base. He also loved to play practical jokes. Plus when it came to work, he was more than a little lazy. He could shame Beetle Bailey when it came to goofing off.
“Excuse me, son, did you say you “peeled potatoes?”
“Well, not all the time, just when I’m in trouble” Oh Herb, he thought to himself, you put your foot in it now! He corrected himself,
“I’m a foot soldier, and sometimes it seems all we eat are potatoes.”
He then realized Betty had just handed him the mashed potatoes. He quietly thanked her and wished he could die right here and now.
“Some gravy for your mashed potatoes,Herb?" Betty’s mother said to him.
Herb accepted the gravy boat, when suddenly it had become a part of his uniform. The entire gravy boat was in his lap. He stood up and gravy covered the floor.
Betty’s Mom hurriedly got up to get some towels and handed them to Herb while she cleaned the floor.
“No, no, Mrs. Gordon, I’ll do that. He bent down to help her and just as he did, she rose to get off the floor. Their heads collided. They both held their heads and laughed. He was so thankful this lovely woman had a sense of humor.
“Hatcher, don’t you have some clothes Herbert could change into while I try and clean his uniform?”
“Hmm, Hatcher said, he’s too damn tall, I don’t have anything. Boy ought to watch what he’s doing.”
“Hatcher Gordon, you go get him your robe this instant!!”
Hatcher threw his napkin on the table to fetch a robe. Hatcher was a very small statured man, whereas Herb was 6’. The robe he gave him looked a bit like a mini-skirt.
After the disaster was over and the kitchen was clean, Eva invited everyone in for dessert. This is when Betty and Herb were going to give them the news. No time like the present.
Betty arose from the table and looked into the faces of both of her parents, then smiled at Herb.
“Mom, Dad…Herb and I are getting married!”
Hatcher stared Herb down, and said,
“You’re a foot soldier that peels potatoes. How on earth do you intend to support my daughter!
Herb swallowed hard,
“Well, sir, I have a lot saved, and we weren’t planning on getting married at least until I get back from overseas.”
Hatcher looked at Herb wearing his robe, held onto his cherry pipe and looked at him.
“Betty, THIS is the man you want to spend the rest of your life with?”
“Yes, Daddy, I would like the blessing of you and Mama.
Eva looked at Herb and smiled and said,
“Son, welcome to the family”
Hatcher just held onto his pipe and said,
“Hmph; could do better than that, but I guess he’ll do. After all, he’s fighting for his country, even if he does peel potatoes. He then gave Herb a little wink
“Pulled a bit of K.P. in my time too son, welcome to the family!”
This Thanksgiving really happened, although I’m sure Mom gave it a little “pep” Everyone is gone now, Grandpa, Grandma, Mom and Dad. But I always remember the gleam in Mom’s eyes as she told this story. And I sure miss listening to her tell it.
Mary E. Lacey