"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, August 27, 2010

"Autumn Belle - Chapter 19"

Autumn kissed Beau, patted his chest, and said, "You stay right here, Mister." She hurried down the stairs, through the main dining area entrance, and into the ladies' room. Leaning on the vanity sink, she stared at herself in the mirror. "I can't BELIEVE he did it!," she said. She looked at the ring, then at herself, then at the ring once again. "What am I gonna' do now?," she asked - shrugging her shoulders as she paced back and forth. "He's up there right now waiting for me to come out of this bathroom," she said. Stopping and looking at her image in the mirror, she lectured herself, "Just an hour ago, you couldn't WAIT for him to ask you - and now that he has, YOU don't know what to say!...Run, Beau, run like the wind," she said, shaking her head and wringing her hands.

It was getting cold on top of the riverboat. The chilly November wind was now blowing stiffly off the Tennessee River. Beau paced back and forth, rubbing his shirt sleeves. "Where IS that girl?, " he mused. After what seemed to be an eternity, Autumn finally returned. She reached up, slid her arms around Beau's neck, and held him close for several minutes. She then asked him to sit down.

As he positioned himself in the chair, Autumn began to pace, and to talk. "I am a piece of work, my dear man...I really AM!...High maintenance all the way...I'm WAY too dramatic...I lose my temper a LOT...My Daddy has spoiled me rotten...I'm impatient, hard to please, and I HATE getting up early...I like getting my way...I'm loud...I like to party, flirt, listen to the Stones and Lynyrd Skynyrd - sometimes as loud as the stereo will go," she said. "I like to shop...I get physically sick at the sight of blood...I DON'T clean house, iron, or do anything a good housewife SHOULD do...And, I am an absolute SUCKER for a sappy, romantic movie," she continued.

She stopped for a moment, turned toward Beau, and tried desperately to gauge his reaction to this serial confession. "Are you finished?," he asked. Autumn shoved her hands into the pockets of Beau's coat - that she was still wearing, and declared, "I am JUST getting started!"

"I love to write...I keep a diary...And, I put EVERYTHING that happens to me in it...You're in it," she smiled and said. "I LOVE Christmas and Springtime...They are my favorite two seasons...I can't stand to touch or even get near worms, snakes, snails, or grasshoppers...I HATE mayonnaise...And, I can't remember the last time I went to church," she announced, now waving her arms like she was preaching a sermon.

"I know all this seems like petty stuff, but I wanted you to know all about me," she cautioned.

"And now," she said, looking down at the riverboat deck, "here's some things that might matter to you, a LOT," she offered. "I am NOT a virgin...I wish now that I was...But, I'm not...Please don't misunderstand, I am not a whore or slut or anything like that...I just never thought of THAT in the same way that you have...I hope this is not a problem for you...I also hope that it doesn't change any of the things you said to me...I am grateful to know that you have waited...Again, I wish I had...But now, I cannot undo what's done...I can only tell you that my solemn promise to myself and to whoever I marry is that they will be the NEXT one, AND the LAST one...None of those other guys mean anything to me...None of what happened before had anything to do with you and me, and with the kind of relationship that we have," she said, unable to fight back tears. It was easy to see the regret in Autumn's heart.

Changing gears, Autumn sat down on Beau's lap. She gently laid her head on his chest, and stroked his face with her hand. She took a deep breath and whispered, "I love it when you call me, 'Missy,'...I didn't at first, but now I do...And, I really like it, for some reason, when you don't let me run the show...I love it when you surprise me like you did tonight...You've surprised me a hundred times since we met...And, I really respect what you have done with your life..."

Beau wrapped his arm tightly around her waist. He loved the feel of her body against his, even if she was only sitting across his lap.

"I think you are THE greatest...And, you deserve a woman who is going to stand by you, support you, help you, and make you deliriously happy...She is going to have to be a special woman...One that isn't threatened by your love for your mother...And, one that can deal with you being gone, and can also handle the dangers you face in what you do," she said. "I am sure," she continued, "that your wife will be well taken care of, shown the ultimate love and respect, and will experience THE most mind-blowing, earth-shaking, love-making on the planet." With this, she slid her hand across his chest and along his waist and belt line.

Suddenly, Autumn stood up, threw one leg and then the other on either side of Beau, and sat astride him, facing him in much the same fashion as their first encounter at her debutante ball.

"I guess what I am trying to say...Captain Beauregard Jackson...Is...'Yes!'...My answer is "yes"...I would be proud, honored, and blissfully happy to marry you...I love you more than any person I have ever known...I want to have your babies, as well as to be beside you as we spoil our grandchildren...I want us to grow old together...And, I want the world to know that the great big smile you are gonna wear on your face for the next fifty years comes to you courtesy of Mrs. Autumn Belle Missy Hamilton Jackson!", she concluded.

Beau jumped up from the chair with Autumn still wrapped around him. He spun around and around, almost to the point of falling down from the dizziness. He shouted to the top of his lungs, "She said Y-E-S!...She said Y-E-S!...I can't believe it!...She said Y-E-S!"

They say, that on a really still night out on the Tennessee River - where it bends around the foot of Lookout Mountain, if the moon is just right in the sky, if two lovers locked in an embrace out on the top of the Southern Belle listen very closely, they can still hear that happy young man's voice echoing across the water.

Love is a very powerful thing! As the Good Book says, "...love never fails." It certainly didn't on this night. Two great young people began a wonderful journey - a lifetime of loving one another.

There is a sweetness in the heart when dreams finally do come true. Neither Beau nor Autumn would forget this magical evening. They each spoke of it often during their many years together.