The Courting Of Geraldine

December 16th, 2009

(In Seven Ottava Rima)

My mother always told me, “Look both ways,
Before you cross the street . . . or pick a wife!
Look at those pictures from her childhood days . . .
Then at her mother . . . and her father’s life!
That ‘charming girl’ is just a passing phase.
Step off the curb, step into toil and strife.
But I know you! You’ll no doubt trust to luck.
Some day . . . swish, splat . . . run over by a truck!”
I met this girl (her name is Geraldine),
And brought her home. I thought poor Mom would burst.
She called Mom “Mom.” Mom thought that was “obscene,”
And told her so. But that was not the worst.
Mom found fault with the way she’d cook, or clean.
“The man who marries her will be ‘twice curst,'”
Mom said, “Because, first thing, she’s pretty wild,
And second . . . don’t expect a normal child!”

Once I’d told Geraldine these awful things,
She challenged Mom on everything she’d said.
“You talk about my cooking . . . my offsprings!
Look at your own . . . I wouldn’t be caught dead
In that red dress. And when your ‘dear son’ sings,
Your own dog runs and hides beneath the bed.”
They had that final showdown late in May,
When Geraldine curst Mom–then stomped away.

Well, I pretended I had seen the light.
“No girls for me! This lesson’s been enough–
I thank my lucky stars she didn’t bite!
I’ll just find other interests . . . sort my stuff . . .
Or watch TV . . . become more erudite.”
Mom’d played her hand, so now I’d call her bluff.
“I’ll spend my afternoons restoring cars,
And then, if I go out, I’ll cruise gay bars.”

Some weeks crept by. Mom’s mood began to change.
“That Geraldine, you know . . . at least she sings.
Remember how she sang ‘Home on the Range’?
I’m sorry that I said those nasty things.
Why, she can learn . . . that wouldn’t be so strange.
She cooks some things I like . . . like onion rings.”
Mom called her up. I’d told her, “Fake surprise,
And tell my Mom you’ve heard that I like guys.”

When I came home from work one afternoon
Mom met me at the door, with that big smile.
“Surprise,” she said. “Guess who’ll be coming soon!”
“Don’t know.” I knew, but tried to miss a mile.
“Old Uncle Pete? I hope he brings his coon.”
Could be I overdid it . . . guile’s not my style . . .
But Mom took that in stride. “No, your best girl!
Your Geraldine . . . let’s give it one more whirl.”

The two of them were soon as thick as thieves–
Invited me to picnics in the park,
Or helped me wax the car, or rake the leaves.
Then, after dinner, Mom might just remark,
As we sat on the porch, beneath the eaves,
“Can I trust you two children in the dark?”
Then off to bed, so proud she’d set the scene.
Well, thanks to Mom, I’ve married Geraldine.

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