Saturday, June 23, 2007

Dan Pettigrew's Romance

I wrote this for a writing contest at's forum. It ended up winning second place (yay!). The theme was romance. You can guess what most people's entries were like. Here's mine.

There she sits, pretty as a picture, sewing at something or other, and here I sit, with my tongue all stuck to the roof of my mouth, not knowing how to say what needs to be said pretty, the way I reckon every woman should hear it so as to know that the man she’s hearing it from means it. Somehow I just can’t say it. The words came easy enough earlier, when I was alone, but the sight of her put them clean out of my mind. Don’t reckon any of ‘em were as pretty as what I thought then anyway. Dang it, I’ve got to say something. Anything. “The weather we’re having sure is good.” Dan, Dan, that’s purely the stupidest remark you’ve ever made. She’ll think you don’t know your own mind. Oh, if only I wasn’t such a clumsy oaf—wish I were one of them fellows who writes the poems they print in the newspaper. Seems like then I wouldn’t have a lick of trouble at all. What’s she sewing? Oh, a quilt. Looks mighty nice. Reckon I couldn’t make one of them things even if I’d all the time and patience in the world.

Now you look here Dan Pettigrew. What’s to be ashamed of? You’re a fine, upstanding man. You’ve a farm that’s been farmed by your family as far back as anyone can remember. You work hard and you can sing just as well as the next man. You haven’t got the best education and you haven’t got bushels of money, but you ain’t poor. There ain’t anything in all that a young woman could rightfully stick her nose up at, but somehow I know in my bones she won’t say yes. S’pose I could come back later. Maybe take her out for a buggy drive. It’ll be a fine night. Maybe if it were dark and I didn’t have to look at her at all I could say it all. If the moon were up there a-shining and the birds were a-singing, surely I wouldn’t be so shy and all. But then I’d look silly sitting here all this time as if I’d nothing better to do than chat about nothing.

And anyhow, it ain’t as if she was some city girl all dandified up and looking down her nose at us. Why, I’ve always known her. I helped her father with his haying when I was ten. I threw mud in her face once when we got mad and had an argument. Must a been a dandy of an argument. Can’t rightly remember now what it was about. “Do you remember when I threw mud at you once when we was young? What was that argument about anyway?” I don’t recollect ever trying to drown kittens, but women is supposed to have better memories about those sorts of things. “I wouldn’t drown them now, that’s for certain. I’ve got five cats to home, and they multiply often. Oh, I leave the kittens round with folks I know will give ‘em a good home. Well, I hope I’d have changed. That were a long time ago.”

Now she’s getting up. Reckon I’ve stayed too long and made a nuisance of myself. Oh, she’s giving me some pie. “Mighty good pie. Strawberry rhubarb always was my favorite. No, one slice will do me up mighty fine. Thank you kindly.” I wonder how often she would make pies. This really is the best pie I ever have tasted. And the glass of milk washes it down real nice. Better ask how her ma’s doing. The old lady’s held up real well considering that stroke she had. Bit poorly? That’s a real shame. I’ll go up and see her before I go. Drat. I shouldn’t have said that about going. Now she’ll think I’m raring to go and shoo me out the door before I get it out. Better say it now. Can’t hurt none.

“I know this is a bit sudden…I’ve always held you in the highest regard…well yes, and your pies…But I ain’t a-asking you for your pies. Well, I would be mightily happy if you would wed with me, that’s all. I suppose I do love you. I know this ain’t the most romantic of proposals…You mean you will? Really you will? Sarah Jane, I am the happiest man alive, I reckon. Well I surely am glad you’re happy too—I’ll try to make you happy all our days. Yes, I will kiss you, if you don’t mind.”


Elizabeth said...

This is story really is adorable! I love writing and have lots of ideas, but never ideas as interesting and orinial as this!
By way of introduction ... I'm one of Krista's friends and came via her blog. Feel free to drop by my blog sometime!

MaureenE said...

Elizabeth, thank you!

Are you the Elizabeth she linked to recently?