Back in my early twenties, I dated the daughter of a preacher. She was smart and pretty and gentle. I liked her a lot. But she was probably the most intimidating woman I ever pursued. That was all on me, though, and had nothing to do with her behavior or demeanor. How in the world would this gross sinner ever have measured up to the uber-Christian standard that I thought I needed to meet? Well, it turns out, God had someone else in mind for me to marry and she is, no surprise, a miraculous fit to this ol’ coot. Still, that experience from years ago was part of the fuel to this story.
Proposin' to a PK
I'd been gone a while; nearly two years
When I came back to the homestead
Pa had claimed it up right proper but
My folks died of scarlet fever and I fled
But now I had come back to stay
The cabin and deeded acres were mine
And now I was a man fully growed
While gone, I'd also developed a spine
But I'd returned for another reason
I’d tussled with reg'lar in my heart
Her name was Helen Flaherty
Truth is, I'd wanted her from the start
I'd surprised her with three wild roses
The last time I'd seen her that night
I hadn't asked her dad for courtin' consent
But she knew my intentions alright
Helen's image was branded on my heart
A faded red shirt and flat-brimmed hat
Her ridin' away 'neath the harvest moon
Had she been grinnin' like a Cheshire cat?
While away I'd never written to her at all
Not one single line in all that time
I was a fair hand at cobblin' poetry
I should'a sent her a romancin' rhyme
But she was a PK, a preacher’s kid ya know?
How would I ever measure up to that?
Me a man who liked his beer and poker
I hardly even knew where the church was at
Reckon she'd likely be all taken now
Married up and startin' a family
Pretty gutsy for me to just show up
To see if she'd been here waitin' on me
We hadn't much put it to words
The feelin's and hopin' we shared
But I figgered there'd been an understandin'
One agreein' that we mutually cared
Well, seein's Helen's father was the preacher
I was hopin' to find her at the church
I'd see about that understandin' and
Settle once and for all my tusslin’ search
She was shore 'nuff there alright
A'sweepin' dust from 'tween the pews
Lookin' like she expected me she said,
"Come on in, it ain't Christian to refuse"
Hat in hand I stared speechless
She was even more beautiful than before
"You're lettin' in the cold", she said,
"Don't just stand there shut the door"
"You look like you've been used some
And you sure could use a bath
Are you here to come callin' now", she asked,
"As if I weren’t packin’ no wrath?"
"Helen I know I've got no right
And I'm not really sure what to say
I'm not a hand with this romancin' stuff
Now I ain't sure whether to go or stay"
"That's a nervy hatfull of notions", she said
'You showin' after years of never writin'
What are your intentions then?
Quick and clear, I ain't got time for fightin' "
A’sudden I stumbled for the words to say
Then finally could only whisper out
"I thought of you near each hour of every day"
That sounded purty lame no doubt
"Humph" she grunted while ponderin'
Seemed she might throw me the broom
"So you just waltz back in expectin'
I've been pinin' and waitin' you assume?"
"No it ain't exactly that way
I mean I was surely hopin', that's a fact
I know I should'a kept in touch
But, well, that just ain't how it tracked"
" Well I've gotta finish sweepin'
Pa's got a prayer meetin' here today
Good to see you I suppose
I might see you ‘round if you're back to stay"
"Will you marry me Helen!?!", I blurted
My voice takin' charge despite my fears
"Well praise Jesus then, I'll call Pa
I shore ain't a waitin' another two years!"
by Rik Goodell
© 2023 All rights reserved
Thank you Gregory Mayse for once again providing your excellent artwork to accompany my poetry. You've provided a number of fine art pieces to either inspire or flesh-out my rhyming stories.
To see more of Mr. Mayse's work, visit his website: https://www.gregorymayse.com/