FEBRUARY 2019 • COUNTRY LIFE IN BC A performance Kenneth can’t afford to miss When we left off last time,

Deborah was less than impressed with Kenneth’s gift of swimwear for their Caribbean vacation. Her disappointment, however, did not affect her performance as the spring musical made its debut. Even Christopher couldn’t contain his excitement. Rural Redemption, part 107, continues.


Chronicles by BOB COLLINS

The closing number of the spring musical was the sole topic of conversation at the general store the next morning. The remaining tickets for the Saturday matinee performance were selling like hotcakes when Junkyard Frank arrived at a quarter past 10. “Morning, Lois. You got any

more tickets for the show this afternoon?” “Lucky you got here,” said

Lois. “There’s only three left. How many are you looking for?” Frank was about to ask for one but before he could answer, Kenneth Henderson came through the door and strode up to the counter. “Give me two tickets to that Daisy and Abner thing at the hall,” demanded Kenneth. “Hold your horses, please,

Mr. Henderson. I’ll be with you as soon as Frank’s done.” “Well, Mr. Henderson, how

are you today? I didn’t see you there at the hall last night. What did you think of the show?” said Frank. “You didn’t see me because I wasn’t there,” said Kenneth tersely. “Ah, well, that’s a darned

shame. You sure won’t want to miss the show today. That wife of yours put on quite a performance. I don’t think I’ve seen anything that good since Thel Eberhardt sang with that hippy band way- back-when.” “Good to know,” said Kenneth. “Can you speed this up? I’m in a hurry.” “Sorry, I didn’t realize I was holding you up,” said Frank. “Lois, I’ll take three of the best seats in the house.” Frank scooped up his

tickets and headed for the coffee machine. Kenneth Henderson stepped into his spot at the counter. “Sorry, Mr. Henderson.

We’re all sold out,” said Lois. “What do you mean sold

out?” “The seats are all sold. The

hall’s full; there’s no more tickets.” “What about the Junkman? He got tickets.” “Yes, he did. I just sold him

the last three,” said Lois. “So, what am I supposed to do then?” asked Kenneth crossly. “I have no idea what you’re SUPPOSED to do Mr. Henderson, but I would suggest that if you really need two tickets, perhaps you should rein your temper in a little and ask Frank if he might be willing to part with a couple of his.” Kenneth

glared briefly at Lois, then approached Frank at the coffee machine.

“I don’t suppose you’d be willing to sell me two of your tickets?” “Don’t you?” said Frank.

“Hell, Mr. Henderson, you give up way too easy. Tell you what. Get yourself a coffee and join me at the table by the window there and we’ll talk about it. You can pay for mine while you’re at it. Much obliged.”

Kenneth paid for Frank’s

coffee but skipped one for himself. He stood at the table. “Look, I don’t have time for

this. Let’s just cut to the chase, shall we?” he said. “Okey-dokey then,” said

Frank. “I can see you’re a man in a hurry and far be it from me to throw a man off his busy schedule by wasting his precious time gabbin’ about things he don’t care about.” Kenneth interrupted. “Look, are you going to sell

me two tickets or not?” “Two it is then,“ said Frank. Kenneth tossed $30 onto the table.

“I thought you wanted

two?” said Frank. “That’s only going to buy you one.” Kenneth scowled down at

Frank. “I just saw you pay $15 for

them. Very neighbourly of you,” he said. “If you weren’t in such a

rush, maybe we could talk about what being neighbourly is all about. If you were truly trying to be neighbourly, you wouldn’t expect me to break the law for you,” said Frank. “What law?” “Why, the law of supply and demand,” said Frank. “I’m surprised you don’t know about it.”

Kenneth tossed another $30 on to the table and snatched the tickets from Frank’s hand. “See you there,” said Frank as Kenneth strode out the door. Frank looked over at Lois who was chuckling and shaking her head. “Don’t look at me that way,

Lois. If the man had of sat down with a cup of coffee and said please, I’d of let them go for 30 bucks.”

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Sign up for FREE today. FARM NEWS Curtain time The matinee performance

of Li’l Abner was at 2 pm. By noon, Kenneth was alone in the house awaiting his Mother’s arrival. It was 2:15 when Susan Henderson pulled into the driveway, full of apologies for her late arrival. “Don’t apologize, Mother.

Every minute we’re late is one less minute of hayseed misery we’ll have to sit through.” “Oh, don’t be such a stick-

in-the-mud, Kenneth. You sound just like your father. I’m looking forward to it. Shall we go?”

They could hear the

audience clapping when they pulled into the parking lot. “Well, it sounds like someone is enjoying it,” said Susan. “Don’t get your hopes up,

Mother. It doesn’t take much to amuse the clod-hoppers around here.” Susan’s heart sank. The old Henderson mansion was sold, and she had finally escaped Kingston Henderson’s gloomy shadow. She had withered under it for 40 years and was looking forward to stepping back into the sunshine to season her life with some of the spirit and joy she knew as a girl. She was especially excited to be spending two weeks alone with her grandchildren, and

had her fingers crossed that two weeks in the Caribbean would breathe new life into Kenneth and Deborah’s relationship. Kenneth’s sarcastic and spiteful tenor cast his father’s sombre presence back over her. She resolved to escape it. “I know Ashley and Christopher are excited about it and I’m sure Deborah will be marvelous. Let’s hurry in to see the rest of it.” They claimed the last two seats in the house, in the corner against the back wall. There were roars of approval from the crowd at the end of every scene and outbreaks of spontaneous applause whenever the audience found itself particularly amused. At intermission, the audience rose as one and began shuffling toward the refreshments and washrooms. Kenneth stayed in his seat, unwilling to enter the fray. Halfway through, he looked up to see Junkyard Frank working his way toward him.

“Hey there, Mr. Henderson,

I see you made it. You should try some of Eunice’s butter tarts over at the kitchen. No one makes them better. You better hurry before they’re all gone.” “Thanks, but I think I’ll give

the tarts a miss.” “Suit yourself. It’s your loss,”

said Frank.

He bumped Susan’s knee as he turned to leave. “Excuse me, Ma’am. I don’t

believe we’ve met.” “This is my mother,” said

Kenneth. “This is Frank, Mother.”

Susan introduced herself. “You’re a lucky man, Mr. Henderson. I see your wife’s not the only beautiful woman in the family.” Willard Freeman

announced that intermission was over, so would everyone head back to their seats. Frank bid them farewell and shuffled off. Susan said that Frank seemed like quite a character and asked if he was a neighbour.

“He runs a junkyard and in

his spare time, he’s a damned scalper,” said Kenneth. The applause and cheering

and foot-stomping grew louder as the play continued. It grew eerily silent as the end neared and Abner and Daisy Mae met on center stage for the finale. “We should slip out of here

now, Mother, before the mad rush at the end,” whispered Kenneth. The woman sitting in front of them turned and spoke to them. “Trust me, you’ll be sorry if

you do. I was here last night, and last song is the best part of the whole show.” To be continued ..


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