Carolyn and I make our way to the post office to mail my letter. The summer heat beats down on me and we can’t reach the post office quick enough. Apparently, we were not the only ones mailing today, because there are people waiting in line when we get there. Luckily there is a shaded area on the porch that has a nice breeze to cool us while we ait. We stand there for a while when a very good-looking man comes up to join us. “Howdy Mrs. Cooper.” He nods his head to her, taking his hat off slightly and replaces it on his head again. “How’s the children?”
“Spoiled as ever Mr. MacDawson.” She says with a laugh. When his gaze drifts off to my direction, she adds, “Have you met my friend Bessie? She is visiting with my mother from out east.”
He turns to me then and I get to see how very good looking he is. His eyes are so green they are almost unsettling. He curves his mouth into a big grin revealing beautifully white teeth. He takes his hat off his head, holds it to his chest with his left hand, and reveals short curly red hair. “Howdy Miss Bessie” he drawls.
“Bessie, this is Mr. MacDawson he has a farm just outside of town.”
“Hello Mr. MacDawson, it is very nice to meet you.”
“Please, call me Beau. How have you enjoyed your visit so far?”
“Oh, I have only been here a couple days, but I feel like I could stay here forever! Everyone has been so kind, much kinder than anyone back home.”
“How much longer are you staying?”
I pause for a moment, trying to think of how to tell him it depends whether or not I get a husband, “It’s an open ended stay for now.” I say instead. “Or until Carolyn kicks me out!” I say with a chuckle.
“Oh if we wait for that you will never go home, dear! You are such great company, and more importantly: such a great baby sitter!” as we all laugh, I see something float across Carolyn’s face. “Beau,” she says suspiciously, “why don’t you join us for lunch Sunday, after church? I am making a roast and there will be plenty to go around!”
The line creeps up and a lady walks out of the building, “Miss Carolyn I would never pass up your Sunday roast! You’ll see me there!” he says. “Well ladies I still have a few more errands to run before I make my way back home so I will leave y’all to it. Very nice to meet you Bessie.”
I nod my head and agree with him when he is gone another person leaves the post office. “Carolyn, I think you are up to something.”
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” She says. We stand in silence for a beat. Before she can’t stand it any longer and continues “but if I were, all parties involved would love the idea. Beau would be a perfect husband. He is kind and gentle man who has his home, a steady income, he is hard working-“
I start laughing, and put my hands up in surrender. “I’ll give him a chance Carolyn. He seems to be a pretty good guy. You don’t have to sell him to me.”
We finally get up to the counter and I find out why it has taken us so long. Behind the counter is a man who is 100 if he is a day. He has sparse white hair, and the bushiest eyebrows I have ever seen. He hunches over as he moves at snail pace, finishing up on the order before ours.
“Hello Henry! I see business is keeping you busy this afternoon! You are looking handsome as ever!” Carolyn coos at the old man as he adjusts his coke bottle glasses, unamused. “This is my friend Bessie; she is visiting from out east.” He mumbles something intelligible “Bessie, this is our postmaster Henry Roy. Believe it or not, he has been our only post master. Ever. He was among the first people to settle here in town!”
Oh, I believe it all right. He looks as if one gust of wind could kill him, here and now. “Nice to meet you, Henry.” I say pleasantly. His reaction is underwhelming. He stands there, his eyes looking directly at me, but unseeing. I look over at Carolyn for help.
She takes the letter from my hand and puts it on the counter. “Here we are! Just need this to be mailed.” She pauses for a moment, allowing time for him to respond. He doesn’t of course, so she goes on, “Ok, we’re gonna be on our way. You stay charming Henry!” she takes my arm and gently pulls on it, pointing me towards the door.
“He sure is… um, lively.” I say once we are on the street again.
She throws her head back in a laugh. “Oh, Henry has been 100 since I was in diapers. Poor old man hasn’t talked since my mom was in diapers! The schoolchildren are all frightened of him. They say he must be a vampire to still be living! And honestly every wrinkle I get and he is still living AND WORKING the more I believe them!.”