Meanwhile, back in Roby, Lizzy Johnson gained a social conscience, to the detriment of all.
Lizzy had a cute little cowgirl daughter who was a regular entrant into the annual Rodeo Queen Pageant. Big doin’s for a little town. This particular year, she was just about a shoe-in to win. Well, it occurred to Lizzy in a blinding flash of social awareness and well meaning benevolent effusion that not all the lovely young ladies of the town had horses and were thus precluded from entering the oh-so-prestigious Rodeo Queen Pageant.
This would not do, Lizzy decided and took it upon herself to correct this injustice. The result of her endeavor was the Fisher County Fair Queen Pageant. Yee-ha, so to speak. At the time I was a senior in high school and continuing my career as all-around-general-flunkie at City Grocery and Deli.
City Grocery, all four aisles of it, was owned by Kiefer and Aubrey Nell Mauldin. Aubrey Nell was the day-to-day manager. She possessed a really quality soft southern drawl and the biggest, brownest, puppy-dog eyes you ever saw.
One day, not long after her conversion to social activism, Lizzy stormed through the double doors of the store with her frizzy red hair in a big cloud trailing out behind her. She managed to convince Aubrey Nell that it was her civic duty to sponsor a contestant in the pageant, so as to give some poor, unfortunate horse-less girl a chance at Small Town Stardom.
So, when I went in to work that afternoon and punched the time clock outside Aubrey Nell’s office door, I heard her plaintive “Raay-chel?” from inside. (In actuality, she always streched my name into three syllables, but I don't know how to spell it that way.) I stuck my head in to inquire. She explained that she had to come up with someone to be in this contest so she could fulfill her duty as a sponsor and would I please, pleh-eease consider it?
What could I do? There is just no way to say no to Aubrey Nell once those puppy-dog eyes connect with yours and turn your willpower into mashed potatoes. I became the first ever Miss City Grocery and Deli. Yee-ha and amen.
Part 2 to follow...