"Well, I'll Be John Brown"

Real stories about folks who have blessed my life with the joy and fulfillment of laughter. Long may they live.

Location: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

A Southern Boy - Born In Alabama, Reared In Georgia, and Matriculated, Married & Initiated Into Manhood In Tennessee.

Friday, July 16, 2010

"Autumn Belle"

Miss Autumn Belle Hamilton - a name was reminiscent of a character from Margaret Mitchell's classic,  "Gone With The Wind." Her mother, Bea Hamilton, chose her little girl's name two days after learning of the pregnancy. For the next nine months the world readied itself for April 14, 1955. From birth, everything in little Autumn Belle's world was deeply and traditionally southern. Well before she fell into into the waiting arms of her delivery room physician, Dr. Robert Manget, this long-awaited baby girl was already bringing monumental change into her dominantly male, Southern family. She was the first girl born into the Hamilton family of North Fulton County, Georgia, in three generations.

Autumn Belle Hamilton was given every possible advantage in life. Showered with the finest clothes, accessories and appointments, food, schooling, and medical care, her father, Rhett Hamilton, used his considerable fortune to give her everything. He had come from, "old Atlanta money," and was not about to let his baby girl be out-dressed, out-charmed, or out-spent by anybody. If this wasn't enough, Autumn Belle was constantly bathed in attention and accolade. At Woodward Academy, her very exclusive private school, she was "Miss Everything" - Star Student, Homecoming Queen, President of the Student Body, Miss Woodward. You name it, she was it. Over time, as a result of these things, it became quite evident that humility, unselfishness, and concern for others were not this girl's crowning attributes. To the contrary, a Southern female version of "Frankenstein's Monster" was being fashioned - a bonafide, spoiled rotten, precocious, little, southern, aristocratic brat.

After her graduation from the prestigious Agnes Scott College for Women, she was given THE most unforgettably gawdy debutante ball that Atlanta had ever seen. Everyone that was anyone was there - movie stars, politicians, professional atheletes, bankers, and the elite of Atlanta's snooty society crowd. The Queen, herself, would have felt quite at home in the aire of such a royal event.

On that moonlit night, Autumn strolled through the multitude of guests who had come to the Atlanta Lawn & Tennis Club. Her senses were filled with everything, "me." She graced the arms of several of Atlanta's finest and most eligible young men during the course of the evening - as she danced, sipped occasionally from the slew of potently-alcoholic "Savannah Slings" that came her way.

During the evening's crowning moment, Autumn Belle delivered a nauseatingly self-ingratiating speech about her life, her accomplishments, her dreams, and her inevitable future as a wealthy Atlanta socialite. Afterward, in an almost-tipsy fashion, she laughingly sacheted her way through the sea of linen covered tables - making every effort to be charming and polished.

She was just about to offer the last of the obligatory thank-you's and good-bye's to her guests when it happened. As she chugged yet another Savannah Sling, not at all watching where she was going, Autumn staggered headfirst into what seemed to be a large wall. Only this wall had arms, muscles, and a deeply southern male voice. Autumn spilled her drink in the collision - with some splashing back into her face and eyes. She could not see what she had just hit, but could she ever hear and feel it. "Hey, watch where you're going!", she said as she wiped the liquor from her eyes. "I'm sorry, I didn't see you," the male voice said. Autumn felt two strong forearms wrap around her, and strong male hands slide along the small of her back - a very erotic moment, indeed.

Her spike heeled shoes slipped from her tiny feet and fell to the tennis court beneath her. Dangling in the air and firmly in the grasp of her new acquaintance, Autumn could feel her lower body press closely against his. When she finally got her eyes cleared enough to see, this half-drunk little debutante found herself face to face with a living dream. He was a ruggedly handsome young man dressed in a white tux jacket.

"Hello there, Miss Hamilton," he said, "that IS your name isn't it?" For the first time since she first learned to talk, Autumn Belle Hamilton was totally speechless. Here she was, at the end of the most important day in her life, in the arms of THE most gorgeous man she had ever seen, having just spilled alcohol over the both of them. Yet, she could barely catch her breath, let alone say anything coherent or charming. Finally she gathered herself enough to respond. "Uh, yes, yes that's me alright," she replied - their two faces not more than a few inches apart.

As this brutally handsome specimen of manhood released her from his grasp, she felt her bare feet touch the tennis court. "Please allow me to introduce myself," he said, "I'm Beauregard Jackson...but YOU, little lady, can call me, Beau." He talked as smooth and sultry as Elvis sang. The alcohol having gained a foothold, Autumn mustered a reply that resembled something between a hiccup and a giggle.

"You're kidding, right?", she giddily answered, "B-E-A-U-R-E-G-A-R-D!?..WHY, nobody in this world is named 'B-E-A-U-R-E-G-A-R-D!" The words blurted out of her tiny mouth in a slurred and exaggerated tone, as she bent over backward in laughter. "Oh, I assure you, that IS my name," he said softly and calmly. He continued, "But, you know, if I had a name like, 'Autumn Belle,' I don't think I would be making fun of anybody else's name...Good night, Miss Hamilton." Beau smiled, playfully poked Autumn's face in the crevice of one of her dimples, and walked away - leaving Autumn breathless and speechless for a second time.

Little did she know that it would not be the last time.