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Fran of Scow Bay

Another friend from the Writers Club was Fran, a poetess. Her “wit ambles well, it goes easily.”  She sported short, white, permed hair, sort of flat on top, but cuter than that sounds. She wore a mischievous expression and a twinkle in her eyes.


When I first visited her home I admired on her “Milk Glass” collection. Large pieces of the white glass dinnerware set upon an unusable shelf in her large living room.


In all seriousness, she said, “I hate it!” 


Ends up, some gave her the first piece; so ugly put up there out of the way.  Now everyone thinks she collects the stuff!  Consequently, I started picking up Milk Glass punch bowl sets in second hand stores.  And passed parts of them on her as wrapped presents on every conceivable occasion including get-well presents for her frequent diabetic-induced infections.


I admired the large antique birdcage that stood atop a cable reel on the back deck overlooking the bay.  It looked like a mansion of yesteryear. I wondered what it was  for? 


“It is a bird feeder.” she said. 


I threw up my hands in frustration with the topic.  My neighbor’s suite feeder did nothing but attract angry Blue Jays and my birdseed feeder attracted nothing but filthy pigeon.  Fran smiled her mischievous little smile and whistled a silent tune as she moved to the kitchen for a tray of bird seed, lifted the do0r on the bird house and inserted the tray.  Immediately, wrens and sparrows  descended to the reel and hopped through the bars of the bird house. The bars were too narrow for blue jays and pigeons.  She limped back to where I stood with my mouth gaping.  She delighted in the cocky expression on her face.


When I announced by engagement the Writers Club; she hosted a party for my bride-to-be and me. Each member shared a re-written favorite recipe with us.  One member read a recipe for “Honeymoon Whip Creme”. Fortunately, most of the members were older than my friend white-haired friend Fran. 

When one of them commented , “It sure would be soupy whip creme.”

My fiancee, who was already red faced with embarrassment, turned crimson and Fran tried so hard to suppress the giggles she almost fell out of her chair.


My last story about Fran took place in the Lutheran Church. I walked to my pew at the front of the church and greet Fran.  She sat behind me.  She was tucked into the corner  of her pew wrapped in a long blue coat . She grinned in response to my greeting.  But said nothing. She looked like the cat that had swallowed the canary.  Clearly, she was dying to say something , but would not chance of any word escaping the barrier of her teeth.  In the face of her cheerful defiance, I tipped my Fedora, took my seat and started my prayers. 


The church service began in all its beautiful pomp and circumstance.


The pastor was on fire for the sermon .  He spoke on John 3:16 in a blazes of sacrificial words about everything Christ gave up for us.


 “Would you give up your life for Christ?  Would give up your arm?  Would you give - “


He reached into the pulpit. I suddenly remembered something and turn to Fran.  I never saw her artificial leg fly for the pulpit.  I never heard the gasp of the congregation nor the thud as it hit the carpeted floor of the nave, nor heard their horrified groan.  All my narrowing vision could see was the mischievous expression on her face and he twinkle in her eyes as Fran began to laugh.

Author - William Moulton