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Ed and Hank, 4th update, (part 3) Sunshine… on a cloudy day…… - myeyesaintblue [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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[May. 1st, 2007|08:37 am]
[Current Location |Out on the porch again...]
[music |Voice inside my head... Dixie Chicks]

Ed and Hank, 4th update, (part 3)

Sunshine… on a cloudy day…

Part 3

Wide open spaces

“She needs wide open spaces… Room to make her big mistakes
She needs new faces… She knows the highest stakes
She knows the highest stakes…”

Note: Part 3 of 4 (or now possibly 5) parts. This part is kind of long… over 5500 words. Disclaimer: Hank told their story to Annie Proulx. Jack and Ennis are all hers. Ed and Hank belong only to each other. $$: If you don't send money, Hank will have to keep writing.  Comments: Always appreciated.

Everything else is here:

4th update, parts one and two are here:
part 1:  http://myeyesaintblue.livejournal.com/25910.html
part 2:  http://myeyesaintblue.livejournal.com/26119.html

Sunshine... on a cloudy day...
Wide open spaces...

If you'd like to listen to or watch 'Wide Open Spaces', it's here:

“Mornin’, Iris. Hey, Bill.”

“Hey, Hank.”

“Morning, Hank.”

“Nice day ta be sittin’ out on the porch… but I kinda thought you’d be sleepin’ in Iris.”

“Didn’t sleep well ‘cause it was too darn quiet. Finally got used to it and dozed off and didn’t that damn rooster start crowing. Thought they were only supposed to crow at dawn?” Iris yawned, “Think I’m gonna fricassee him for dinner.”

Bill laughed, “Thought ya didn’ eat critters?”

“In his case, I’m willing to make an exception.”

“Well…” Bill smiled, “Hate ta have ya breakin’ yer vows ‘n all…”

“My vows of vegetarianism?” Iris laughed, “I like that… So what’s your solution, Bill?”

“If’n tha’ ol’ bird starts ta crowin’ again tonight… think ya should jus’ think on it as him serenadin’ ya… real sweet-like. Singin’ jus’ fer you. Have ya fallin’ back ta sleep in no time.”

“I don’t know about the real sweet-like… but I’ll give it a try.”

“If’n that fails maybe you can jus’ pretend he’s one a them car alarms. Or maybe a police siren…” Bill grinned, “Or a fire engine... Maybe one a them rescue squads… Or a air raid siren…”

Air raid siren?” Iris laughed again, “Where exactly do you think I live, Bill?”

“The big, bad city… a ‘course.”

“It isn’t that bad. More along the lines of the occasional car stereo thumping and the baby next door crying at all hours.”

“Houses are tha’ close, huh?”

“Let’s just say good window shades make good neighbors. And I say a prayer of thanks to the inventor of central air on a daily basis in the summertime.”

“Ugh. Don’ know how ya can stand it Iris.”

“It’s not so bad… If you want to live in the city you just have to get used to it. Figure out ways to deal with it. And it was a lot worse when I lived in an apartment.”

“Give me tha’ ol’ rooster crowin’ any day.”

“No thanks. I’ll take that baby. At least she’ll start sleeping through the night pretty soon.”

“Wha’ ‘bout all them car stereos? ‘N all tha’ traffic? Ain’t no traffic here.”

“There’s no traffic here ‘cause there isn’t anywhere to go.”

Plenty a places ta go.”

“I mean besides the Dairy Queen and the Pizza Hut.”

“You insultin’ the Dairy Queen and the Pizza Hut?”

Hank laughed, “You two remind me of that old Green Acres TV show.” Hank burst into the first chorus, “Greeen acres is the place fer me… Faaarm livin' is the life fer me…”

“No… pleasestop it, Hank! … That’ll be stuck in my head all day!”

“Land spreadin' out so far ‘n wide… Keep Manhattan, jus’ gimme tha’ countryside.”

“I hated that show…”

“I don’ know it.”

“How can ya not know it Bill? Where were ya livin’? Mars?”

“Migh’ as well ha’ been. We didn’ have no TV.”

(Btw, If you’re like Bill and don’t know it, here it is.  Warning, it will get stuck in your head:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNsDpuoeaRI)

“C’mon, Iris… do Eva Gabor’s part.”

“No way.”

Be that way then.” Hank attempted to imitate Eva Gabor, “New York is where I wanna stay…. I get allergic smellin’ hay…” Hank let loose with a loud, decidedly fake, sneeze.

“Think ‘m glad we didn’ have no TV.”

“It was terrible.”

Terrible? It was hysterical…” Hank continued singing, well sort of anyway, “I just adore a penthouse view… Dah-ling I love you… but gimme Park Avenue…”

“C’mon, Iris… do this part at least… The chores!”


“Aw c’mon, Iris… The chores!

Iris laughed, “The stores!

Fresh air!

Times Square!

"You are my wife…”

Iris dramatically threw her head back and her arm up across her forehead “Good-bye, city life…”

Green... acres… we… are… there!


“How could you hate that show, Iris? With tha’ pig named Arnold bein’ them other folks adopted son? Now tha' was funny. One a the only shows I remember my folks really laughin’ at.”


“Ed’s righ’. You two are nuts.”

“Hey… don’t look at me… Hank started it.”

“No I didn’. You two started it. Made me think of it.”

“Well… while youse two decide whose fault it is tha’ yer nuts… think I better be gettin’ back ta work… Talk ta ya later, Iris?”

“Sure, Bill. Come back over when you get hungry. Got some leftovers for you.”

“Lookin’ forward ta tryin’ ‘em. Ain’t never had nothin’ like tha’. Yer pa said it were real good.”

“Think you’ll like it.”

“Lemme know if’n ya wanna go fer a ride later… I’ll make sure Annie is ready fer ya… ‘Lessen ya’d rather take one a the other horses?”

“No… Annie’s my favorite. Thanks, Bill.”

“Beautiful day… You should take some time off Bill… go with Iris. Make sure she don’ get lost. Maybe take some sandwiches with ya.”

“Gotta lot ta do. ‘N ain’t no way Annie’s gonna get lost… ‘Sides… Iris’d prob’bly like ta get ‘way by her self fer a while.”

“Iris don’ care none ‘bout gettin’ way by her self. Came out here ta see us all after all.”

“Don’ mean she wants me trailin’ after her.”

Iris laughed, “I’m sitting right here, guys… Hank, I won’t get lost. I promise. And Bill, Of course I wouldn’t mind if you came along… But only if you want to…”

“I’ll think on it… Better be gettin’ back ta work now, though. See ya later Hank. Iris…”

“See you later, Bill.”

“I’ll be back out ta help in a l’il while, Bill.”

“You fellas doing some kinda tag-team thing to keep me company?”

“Hadn’ thought a it… but it ain’t a bad idea.” Hank glanced sideways at Iris, watching her watch Bill head off towards the barn, “Was that a sigh I jus’ heard?”

Iris waved to Bill who had stopped halfway to the barn and turned and waved before continuing on, “Don’t know what you’re talking about, Hank.”

“Sound jus’ like yer dad again.”

“May have his feet, but I’m not just like him. Sometimes I wish I was. As much as he tries to hide it… dad is definitely more of a romantic. Always suspected it. Now, from reading your story, I know it for a fact.”

“Don’ let him hear you say tha’.”

“He’ll know it soon enough if you’re gonna write it down.”

“Do you mind?”

“Guess not.”

“Now, about tha’ sigh…?”

“I think all that writing’s making you a whole lot nosier.”

“Yep. So… should I change the subject… or do ya wanna spill it?”

“Isn’t anything to spill. Just admiring the view. Bill’s a fine looking man. That’s all.”

“Ya sure tha’s all, huh?”

Iris laughed again, “Took you long enough to notice… years in fact… Guess all that writing is making you more observant too.”

Hank’s tried to keep the surprise out of his voice, “You ‘n… Bill…?”

“Well… not exactly… But there’s always been something between us... from the beginning… a spark or whatever you want to call it… We never did much of anything about it. We both knew it wouldn’t have worked out. And then… after he told me about Molly… I really didn’t want to start something that couldn’t go anywhere and might have ended up hurting him… and me too.”

“Iris… Shit… Here I am practic’lly forcin’ you two ta ride off ta gether…I didn’ know…”

“That’s okay Hank. You couldn’t have known. I know Bill would never have brought it up… Bosses’ daughter and all… And there really wasn’t anything to bring up. I’m just glad that he and Betty found each other. Bill deserves to be happy. And he’s like dad… he needs these wide open spaces. I know he could have never moved to a big city. And I could never have moved back here. Assuming things would have gone that far had they started up at all. But I had a feeling they might have… sometimes you just know.”

“Now tha’ I think back… Guess I shoulda known…”

“If you write about this, you are going to write what I said, aren’t you...? That nothing happened? I don’t want things between dad and Bill getting weird. You know how dad can get…” Iris raised her voice, speaking to her dad who wasn’t there, “Hey, dad… nothing happened.”

Shit… ’N I were singin’ tha’ ‘Green Acres’ song ta ya both… Sure hope tha’ didn’ make ya feel bad?”

Iris laughed, “No, Hank… that stupid song didn’t make me feel bad. That show always just made me feel bad for… what was her name…? …Lisa. Being unceremoniously yanked out of her penthouse like that.”

“Know yer righ’ though... ain’t no way Bill could move to no city.”

“And that’s all I ever wanted to do. I never felt like I fit in here. I used to watch my girlfriends in high school write over and over in their notebooks, ‘Mr. and Mrs. so and so’… wouldn’t even use their own first names… All they talked about was their future husbands and their future families. That’s all they ever wanted out of life.” Iris smiled, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I just wanted more. Or different at least. My own kind of wide open spaces…”

Are ya happy, Iris? Didya find wha’ ya wanted?”

Iris laughed again, “You wanna pull the couch out here onto the porch, Hank?”

“Sorry, Iris… Ain’t none a my business. Guess I do get a l’il carried ‘way.”

“That’s okay, Hank… I don’t mind... And yeah… I’m happy. Happy enough, anyway. I love my life. I love my friends. I love living in the city. I’ve liked most of the jobs I’ve had… with the exception of this last one.” Iris smiled, “And I don’t have that penthouse view, but I love my little bungalow just the same. I love Chicago too. I didn’t at first. Took me a few years to adjust. But now… it’s like… I dunno… I may not have found that person to call home like you wrote about, but I sure think of Chicago as home and my friends as family.”

“Didn’t hear you mention Alex…”

“Didn’t I? Thought I did.”


“Well… Alex and I seem to have one of those ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policies where love is concerned…”

Hank laughed, “Like the military ‘n gays?”

“Yep. Works about as well too…”

“Well… ya don’ have ta tell… but ‘m askin’ anyways… do ya love him, Iris?”

“I dunno, Hank. We have a good time together. We like the same things. We have the same sense of humor. Well, most of the time anyway… I swear I’ll never understand why the Three Stooges are supposed to be funny... And let’s just say… for dad’s sake… that we have a sufficient amount of … uh… affection… for each other. I guess I love him, but I don’t know that I’m in love with him. I don’t know if I’ve ever really been in love with anyone. Well… that’s not true. I’ve been in love. I’ve got the scars to prove it. But I’ve never been, you know, in lurve… like you and dad.”

“Is tha’ wha’ we are? In lurve?”

“I’m not sure what other word to use for it… for that never-ending-but-not-in-a-

Hank laughed, “The word lurve is definitely a lot shorter.”

“Sure is. And sometimes I wonder if maybe I don’t have it in me to love someone like that. Or maybe it’s that I’ve just never found my ‘Jack’...” Iris smiled, “Well, Ennis is more my type, but that just seems a little too weird to say… seeing as it turns out he was at least partly based on dad and all… Hmmm… maybe I could use some therapy after all…”

Iris took a sip of coffee and then continued talking, “Sure are plenty of 'Randalls’ out there though. That type of guy anyway. I better shut up. I don’t want dad reading much more of this. Think I’m beginning to understand how he feels… Maybe all this was a little more information than you were expecting too, huh?”

“After wha’ ya’ve read ‘bout us?”

“Hey… I swear… I closed my eyes…”

“Yeah… I bet.”

“No… I did. Really. I can’t afford that much therapy.”

“Well, ya know ya can tell me anythin’ ya wan’ ta Iris. Won’t go no further than the internet.”

“Well that’s a comforting thought… But…I guess I might as well tell you anyway… Alex wants us to move in together. He thinks things should be moving forward…”

“He does, huh? Do ya think tha’s his way a tellin’ ya somethin’?”

“I imagine it is…”

“Ya gonna move in with him?”

“I don’t know. I thought getting away for a little while might help me think.”

“I ain’t no expert…but if’n ya have ta think ‘bout it…”

“I know... I know… I just like things the way they are. We're getting along good. We see each other enough, but not too much. He has his place and I have my place and… this may sound stupid… but I love my little house. I worked hard for it. I’ve worked hard on it. And it’s mine. I don’t want to sell it and I don’t really want Alex moving in. I don’t know why people think things always have to move forward…”

“Way a the world. ‘Cept a lotta times when folks think they’re makin’ progress it ain’t really no kinda progress at all. Jus’ take a look at wha’ they done ta this whole part a the state over the past ten years… One a the fastest growin’ parts a the country… So many people movin’ in tha’ they’re destroyin’ wha’ they’re movin’ here fer. Lovin’ it ta death… Maybe tha’s wha’ yer ‘fraid of… tha’ Alex movin’ in will destroy wha’ the two a you already got.”

“Yeah… I’ve thought the same thing. But then I start to think that maybe what I want and need is standing right in front of me, wanting to move in with me... and I’m just too dense to see it. And maybe it’s not lurve… but maybe it’s okay for what it is. Maybe it’s enough.”

“I dunno what ta tell ya, Iris. But I do think maybe ya gotta get rid a tha’ policy a yers ‘n both a ya start doin’ some askin’ ‘n some tellin’ ‘n a whole lotta jus’ plain talkin’.” Hank laughed, “Know maybe I ain’t the best one ta be givin’ that kinda advice…”

“I’ll take any advice I can get. Well… I’ll listen to it at least. And I know you’re right. I’ve just been avoiding it.” Iris adjusted herself in her chair, turning a little more towards Hank, “Can I ask you something, Hank?”

’Course ya can.”

“Reading about your friend Ben reminded me of Alex. Real nice guy. Not a thing wrong with him except that he’s not…. For you it was dad. I just don’t have a name to fill in there…”

Hank glanced towards the barn then back to Iris, “Ya absolutely sure ya don’ have a name fer tha’ spot, Iris? You 'n yer 'Jack' ain't never crossed paths?”

“Cut it out, Hank… I said I wanted to ask the question this time.”

“Sorry, Iris.”

“Do you think Ben would have been enough for you… if you hadn’t been thinking about maybe someday being able to get back together with dad? If you knew for sure that it could never have happened?”

“Never thought ‘bout it, Iris. I dunno... I fell so hard fer yer dad. But… maybe if’n he hadn’t said tha’ ‘bout lovin’ my shirt… ‘bout lovin’ me… on tha’ last day on tha' mountain… maybe if’n he hadn’ given me tha’ hope… Or said my name when I called him tha’ one time… I mighta at least tried harder with Ben. ‘N maybe I coulda moved on. Sure never woulda been able ta ferget yer dad though… my heart always woulda ached fer him. ‘N I don’ know tha’ anythin’ with Ben woulda lasted near this long…”

“Few things do.”

“’N it sure wouldna been lurve.

“Ya know, Hank… I don’t know if I’d even believe in lurve unless I’d seen you and dad together. In my experience… and from my friends’ experiences… straight and gay...I think it might be real rare… at least to have both people feeling that way at the same time and to have it last so long.”

“I dunno much ‘bout love Iris… Like I said, I ain’t no expert. Jus’ know how I feel ‘bout yer dad. ‘N it ain’t as easy as it looks sometimes ...”

“I know that… but you two have got the kind of love… true love or lurve or whatever you want to call it… that keeps you going… keeps you together… despite all the day to day drudgery and details and setbacks and all. I can see it. And it’s just as strong as it’s ever been. Stronger even.”

“Think it migh’ be stronger now ‘cause a me writin’ our story ‘n makin’ yer dad talk. Think maybe it were jus’ the righ’ time fer him ta start talkin’ too. ‘N it migh’ be stronger fer us ‘cause a wha’ we had ta go through ta be ta gether… ‘n ta stay ta gether… Ya always hold things more dear when yer real afraid a losin’ ‘em. ‘N when ya gotta fight so hard fer ‘em in the first place. Guess yer dad went through more tha’ way than me… wha’ with battlin’ God ‘n all. Sure am glad he won, though.”

“Me too, Hank. God fights dirty sometimes.”

“Yep. Ya sound jus’ like yer dad.”

“You know… you and dad almost make me believe that if Sir Lancelot and Guinevere had ended up together they wouldn’t have turned into just another middle-aged couple sniping at each other over who gets the castle in the divorce.”

“Jus’ so’s I can tell yer dad when he reads this ‘n asks…‘xactly which one a us do ya think is Sir Lancelot ‘n which of us is Guinevere?”

Iris laughed, “I’ll never tell.”

“Weren’t Guinevere married ta King Arthur? ‘N Lancelot runs off with her?”

“Yeah… Think I know where you’re going with this.” Iris laughed, “That would make you Lancelot, dad Guinevere and mom King Arthur. How ‘bout we just change that around a little? In this version Lancelot and King Arthur run off together and live happily ever after. And Guinevere runs off with Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Film.”

“‘Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Film’?”

“It’s from that movie… ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’. He’s one of the Knights of the Round Table. Although maybe we should change his name to ‘Sir Not-Appearing-In-

“Do yer mom and Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Story live happily ever after too?”

“Yeah. I think so. At least contentedly ever after anyway. It might not be lurve but I think it’s love.”

“’N Maid Marian? Who does she end up with?”

“Think you might be confused, Hank… That’s a whole ‘nother story.”

“Yeah? Well… wha’ ‘bout Robin Hood then? Thought he were s’posed ta end up with Maid Marian?”

“Pretty sure he ends up with ‘Clorinda the Queen of the Shepherdesses’.”

Clorinda, huh?”

“Yep. More his type. Makes more sense.”

Lurve don’ usually make sense, Iris. It’s awful strong but it ain’t gen’rally too logical.”

“That’s why I don’t know if I even wanna be in lurve Hank.”

“I don’ ‘xactly remember havin’ a lotta choice in the matter.”

“Yeah… I know...” Iris smiled, “Think maybe it'd be better if I just stopped talking and broke into song here. Maybe…‘I Will Survive’… No that’s not right at all. Or maybe ‘Que Sera Sera’… Nah… that’s not right either. More like ‘Make Your Own Kind of Music’… or something by the Dixie Chicks… ‘Wide Open Spaces’…”

“Go righ’ ahead. Maybe I’ll even sing 'long with ya.”

“Don’t think you’d really want me too. They let me stay in choir in high school only on the condition I’d just lip sync. When I’d sing I’d throw the kids next to me off. Part of the reason I didn’t want to sing that ‘Green Acres’ song with you. Aside from the fact that it’s awful.

“Ain’t like I were 'xactly singin' in tune…”

“Yeah, but you have no idea… my singing is worse than that old rooster crowing. Hey… maybe that’s what I should do… Go sing for him right now. Threaten to do it again tomorrow if he doesn’t keep quiet tonight.”

“Why’d ya stay in choir if’n they wouldn’ let ya sing?”

“Suggested it myself when they were going to kick me out. I thought it was funny and they didn’t mind. Got to travel around a little too. I’d do anything to go anywhere else back then. I even pretended to like basketball and football so mom would let me go to all the away games. I loved getting on that bus… especially in the winter… in the dark… when I could make believe it was going somewhere far away… somewhere a lot more exciting than just the next little town down the line.”

“Know how ya felt Iris. Tha’s how I felt in high school too. Guess I never made it too far from home… ‘Xcept a course fer them few years I spent rodeoin’… But they don’ really seem ta count. Sure not complainin’ though. But maybe that’s why I’m gettin’ the urge ta travel some now.”

“I read about you and dad possibly taking off on a road trip. I think it’s a great idea.”

“Yeah… me too. There’s a whole lot of this country I’d like to see. Wouldn’ mind goin’ further afield neither. Maybe see some a the rest a the world too… But thought I’d better start yer dad off real slow-like.”

“Since dad is afraid of heights do you think he’s afraid of flying?”

“I don’ know… He ain’t never flown before. I figure we’ll worry 'bout crossin' tha’ bridge only if’n we ever come to it.”

“He’s not afraid of bridges, is he? A lot of people who are afraid of heights are afraid of bridges too.”

“Don’ think so. Not like we have a lotta bridges ‘round these parts though, so I couldn’ say fer sure.” Hank frowned, “‘N 'm 'fraid a lotta this migh’ be a big ol’ pipe dream… Maybe we can do some travelin’ this summer… way things look tha’ migh’ work out… but I don’ know if’n we’ll be able ta do it much more ‘n tha’... we jus’ cain’t afford to…”

“This ranch must be worth a whole lot. But I bet dad might have a stroke if you ever even hinted around about selling it….”

Hank laughed, “Might? More like tha’ would be a certainty. Man would keel over. Hell… I jus’ migh’ too if’n it came righ’ down ta it. But yer right… if’n we sold this here ranch we’d be set for life ‘n then some. I’ve tried ta think of a few ways we might be able ta figure somethin’ out withou’ sellin’… but I gotta admit… I kinda worry ‘bout where Bill would end up if’n we didn’ sell it but weren’t workin’ it no more neither. ‘Sides… yer dad loves the work.”

“Didn’t think about that… about Bill. But… what if there was another way?”

“Is there?”

“There must be. I’m not sure of the legal details, but maybe Bill could work towards buying the ranch over time… Or at least a share of it. Maybe become a partner or something? Hire another hand? And you and dad could still live on the ranch… work on the ranch… but you’d have more free time to travel some and maybe enough money too. Don’t know exactly how it’d work or even if it would work… it seems like Bill might have to live on the ranch too and I don’t know how you’d figure that out, but maybe it’s something you and dad should look into. If Bill is interested, that is.”

“Always planned on leaving the ranch to you, Iris… In one piece ‘n all.”

“I know, Hank. And thanks, that really means a lot to me. But I don’t know what I’d do with a ranch. I don’t have anyone to pass it on to. And I’d like to see it stay a ranch as much as you and dad would. All I really want, when the time comes… and like you’ve said before, hopefully that’s a long, long, long way off in the future… is those two shirts, those two watches and both those quilts… Or whichever you two don't decide to take with you. And assuming I don’t go first, of course.”

“You go first ‘n you’ll break yer poor dad’s heart. Promise me ya won’t go first, Iris.”

“Okay. I promise.”

Hank laughed, “Think yer dad’s gonna try ‘n take all tha’... 'n prob'bly a big ol' pie too... with him when it’s his time ta go.”

“Wouldn’t be a bit surprised if he succeeded.”

“Me neither.”

Hey… Is the quilt made from all your shirts done? Can I see it?”

“It ain’t done yet. Betty’s still workin’ on it. But I’d bet she’d let ya take a look at it, however far along it is...”

“I’d love to take a look at it…” Iris laughed, “Poor Betty…”

“Whadya mean?”

“That name you picked for her. Betty. Ugh.”
“Guess I could change her name ta 'Clorinda'  if'n ya'd prefer... 'M sure no one would mind.

Iris laughed, “Don’ push it, Hank.”

“Yep… jus’ like yer dad… only he ain’t usually laughin’ when he says tha’.”

“I bet…”

“Ain’t nothin’ wrong with the name 'Betty'. ‘Sides… she don’ even know ‘bout it. ‘N don’ you go tellin’ her… or Bill… or yer dad really will kill me.”

“Don’t worry… I won’t say a word. I think dad’s already been traumatized enough for one visit. But… I’m curious…”

“’Bout wha’?”

“Well… I figured out where you got the names ‘Ed’ and ‘Hank’ from easy enough, but how’d you pick the name 'Iris' for me?”

“I dunno… Don’ ya like tha’ name neither?”

“I do like it. I’ve even looked it up. Did you know in Greek mythology Iris was a messenger of the gods and rainbows were the paths she made between Earth and heaven?”

“Rainbows, huh? I didn’ know tha’. Guess it suits you ‘n our story a lot better ’n I thought. Or maybe I should try ‘n sound smart ‘n say tha’ I planned it all ‘long… Truth is… I jus’ thought it were a real purty name. Thought it suited you even though it were kinda old-fashioned.”

“Those old-fashioned names have been back in style for a while. Most of my friends who have kids saddled them with names right out of one of those overwrought gothic romance novels. There seems to be a three-syllable minimum these days..."

“Prob’bly takes some a them kids a l’il while ta grow inta them big ol’ names.”

Iris hesitated, “…Uh… Hank…?”

“Yeah, Iris?”

“Do you think dad is disappointed that I never had kids? That he doesn’t have any grandkids to fuss over… like he fusses over those two dogs…”

“Doubt it, Iris. He sure ain’t never said nothin’ ta me like tha’. Man jus’ wants ya ta be happy.” Hank saw Ed come out of the barn and start heading towards the shed so he waved for him to come over, “Hey, Ed!”

Ed waved then changed direction, heading towards the porch.

Hank… you aren’t going to…?”

“Figure we might as well ask him. Then you don’t have to wonder.”


Hank ignored Iris and called to Ed as he got closer, “Iris wants to know if yer disappointed tha’ she didn’ never have no kids?”

Tha’ wha’ you two been talkin’ ‘bout?” Ed turned to Iris, “Did you want kids, Sunshine?”

“No, dad...”

“Then why would I be disappointed? Always been real proud a ya, Iris. Only be disappointed on yer behalf if’n ya wanted kids ‘n couldn’ have ‘em. Okay?”


“Okay, then.”

“Hey, dad?”

“Yeah, Iris?”

“Do you like Alex?”


“Yeah, you know, my fellaAlex… do you like him?”

“Only met him tha’ once… when you ‘n him came ta visit last summer…”

“Yeah. I know. But did you like him?”

“Seemed like a nice ‘nough fella…”

“But did you like him?”

“Iris… you know I ain’t the one ta ask. I ain’t never gonna think no one’s good ‘nough fer ya. Why dontcha ask Hank?”

“No way ‘m I gettin’ in the middle a this one.”

“So… you didn’t like him?”

“I didn’ say tha’. ‘Sides… Only thing tha’ matters is if’n you like him. ‘N if’n you love him. ‘N how he feels ‘bout you. ‘N how he treats ya. Tha’s real important. Does he treat ya good, Iris?”

“Yeah. He treats me real good.”

“Well then… ain’t no reason fer me not ta like him, is there?”

“Think tha’s all yer gonna get outta him, Iris.”

“Yeah… dad hates to tell a lie, but he’s pretty good at not answering a question when he wants to. Or maybe I should say, answering it without seeming to answer it at all.”

“Again… standin’ righ’ here.” Ed smiled and shook his head, “Gonna go inside ‘n get me a cup a coffee… won’ take but a minute… so’s if’n you two wanna talk ‘bout somethin’ ya don’ wan’ me overhearin’ ya migh’ wanna keep it short. Or save it ‘til later. ‘N maybe you could jus’ type up a list a questions ya wanna ask me. Give me a chance ta look at if ‘fore hand. Study up some. Be a whole lot easier than these pop quizzes.” Ed grinned, “No pun intended.”

As Ed disappeared into the house, Iris turned to Hank, punching him the shoulder, but not too hard, “Thanks a lot, Hank…”

“Aw, c’mon Iris. Jus’ thought you’d like to know the answer to yer question. Only way ta find out wha’ yer dad is thinkin’ is ta ask him. ‘N yer glad I asked, ain’t ya?”

Yeah… I guess so.”

“‘Sides then you went ‘n asked him ‘bout Alex yer self. ‘N tha’ were a lot harder on him.”

“That’s true.” Iris leaned over, looking through the screen door and into the house, checking to see if the coast was clear, “Hank… is dad okay? With me having read your story… Is he still mad at you?”

“I dunno… Could be the only reason he’s talkin’ ta me at all is tha’ ya ordered him to. ‘N I bet he’d be a whole lot madder ‘xceptin’ I think the poor guy’s still kinda stunned. He ain’t sayin’ nothin’ ‘bout it… but all’s ya gotta do is look at him close. Tha’ rosy red ‘n his cheeks ain’t jus’ from workin’ out a doors. ‘Fraid it mighta settled there permanent-like.”

“Guess I really shoulda thought twice about telling you I knew… about reading it at all after I figured it out…”

“Cain’t blame ya fer tha’. Think I woulda done the same. Woulda been real hard ta stop readin’ it.”

“Maybe I better stay out of his way some today. Take Annie out and go for a long ride. Give dad some space.”

Hank and Iris both jumped as Ed kicked open the screen door, coffee in one hand a muffin in the other, “Space? Lookit this place, Iris… Got plenty a space ta go ‘round… ain’t like ya take up a whole lotta it. ‘N I sure as hell don’ need you goin’ nowhere in order ta give me more a it. Don’ hardly see ya near ‘nough as it is.”

“Think we gotta put a bell on him, Iris.”

“Think ‘m gonna put a bell on ma self.” Ed smiled, “Bell’s kinda annoyin’ though… maybe I could just sing all the time…tha' should give ya plenty a warnin' tha' 'm approachin'.” Ed started singing, “Greeen Acres is the place fer me… Raaanch livin’ is the life fer me… land spreadin’ out so far ‘n wide… keep Manhattan jus’ give me tha’ countryside…”

Hank and Iris looked at each other in surprise, “Why ya singin’ tha’ song, Ed?”

“Bill were singin’ it… ‘n he didn’ know half the words… Who don’ know the words ta tha’? Had ta sing it a couple a times fer him ‘fore he got ‘em all. Now the damn thing’s stuck in m’ head.”

“Think tha’ migh’ be on account a Iris.”

“No… It’s Hank’s fault. He was the one singing it before. It’s just a dumb song that gets stuck in your head easily. That’s all.”

Hank raised his eyebrows as he looked at Iris, “Ya sure ‘bout tha’, Iris?”

“Yes. I’m sure about that.”

“Well then I guess ya won’ mind if’n I finish tha’ song fer yer dad…?” Hank started singing, imitating Eva Gabor again, “‘Chi-cago’s where I wanna stay... I’d get real bored livin’ on a ranch ev’ry day…” Hank let out a hugely exaggerated yawn, “Ouch, stop kickin’ me Iris… I just adore my bungalow’s view… Dar-lin’ I love ya… but give me Michigan Avenue’… Ouch!”

“Don’ hurt him too bad, Sunshine. I know he can be real annoyin’… but ‘m kinda fond a him.”

“I’ll try not to, dad.”

“Hear tha’ Iris? Man said ‘kinda fond a’. Guess it ain’t lurve after all.”

“It’s lurve alright, Hank.”

“Think Bill’s righ’… he said you two were nuts.”

“Yeah... I think maybe Bill’s right too.”

“Speak fer yer self, Iris... 'The chores!' ...Ouch! Think tha's gonna leave a bruise.”

Part 4, Out for dinner is here:


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[User Picture]From: jennydcf
2007-05-01 06:12 pm (UTC)

That was really cruel of you :-)

Do you know how hard I worked to forget that theme song? Now it's on "repeat ad nauseam" in my head. OTOH, I love the Dixie Chicks. I've always thought of Ennis and Jack in connection with Cowboy, Take Me Away.:-)

I love Iris even more now. She's one heck of a daughter, and my kind of gal. I used to watch my girlfriends in high school write over and over in their notebooks, ‘Mr. and Mrs. so and so’… wouldn’t even use their own first names… And they acted like they were gonna die whenever a boy would break up with them. All they talked about was their future husbands and their future families. That’s all they ever wanted out of life.” Iris smiled, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I just wanted more. Or different at least. My own kind of wide open spaces…”

I love her description of "lurve", too.“I’m not sure what other word to use for it… for that never-ending-but-not-in-a-
She's right that it's rare, but for those of us lucky enough to have it, there's no choice, and no way we could ever settle for the other kind without being fundamentally incomplete.

Hank really is a wonderful friend: she's blessed to have both him and her dad. In a lot of ways, she's a mixture of the two, though she's absolutely her own person.

I forgive your cruelty--it was in the service of art, and your updates make me so happy that I can't hold a grudge (at least not for very long ;-))
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[User Picture]From: myeyesaintblue
2007-05-02 03:44 am (UTC)

Re: That was really cruel of you :-)

Hey there,
Thanks for forgiving the cruelty, hope you've gotten 'it' out of your head. (Just keep singing 'Cowboy, Take Me Away'... that should dislodge it.) But it's perfectly understandable if you want to hold a grudge for a while longer. :)

Glad you still like Iris (and her description of lurve... Hank thinks he got it right :) ) It did take Hank and Iris a number of years to really get to know each other, but now they're very close and she can talk to him about some stuff she might not be able to talk to her dad about.
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[User Picture]From: not_hathor
2007-05-01 06:33 pm (UTC)
<<$$: If you don't send money, Hank will have to keep writing. >>

Is that supposed to be a threat, 'blue'? Because I surely don't want Hank to stop writing! On the other hand, I surely don't want them to sell the ranch, either -- so. leaves us with a bit of a dilemna.....

Some nice family talk, here....

Hugs for 'blue', Ed, Hank, Bill and Iris... and Bel sends a puppy kiss to Edthedog and Hankthedog....

(that's Bel in my icon)

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[User Picture]From: myeyesaintblue
2007-05-02 03:58 am (UTC)
Bel is adorable! Edthedog and Hankthedog send wet sloppy dog kisses back.

No threat intended :D Except that Hank might keep writing if they can't afford take off for the summer. But it's looking like they'll be able to go, at least for a little while. (Hanks hoping for about three more posts before that happens.)

And don't worry... Ed and Hank would never really sell the ranch. Not lock, stock and barrel anyway.

Hugs back to you and yours.
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[User Picture]From: joetheone
2007-05-02 04:07 am (UTC)

As always you have me thinking out loud

Yes I love the song from "Green Acres" I always sort of had a thing for Eb was it oh I know I'm crazy but such is life. Then thinking on how Iris has not found a true lurve and although she is in love with Alex she is not in Lurve. I know exactly how that is. The two men I have been in Lurve with well cannot explain but first one died and second one well that is another probelm in itself. I am in love with my partner but I know what Iris is talking about it is not Lurve and when you know two people in Lurve you always want that my parents are truly in Lurve and having lived with them as examples for all these years we always hold them up as a standard. Such, a complicated thing and yes I think Lurve is rare it is out there and maybe we should keep looking and hoping that it sneaks up on us. I don't know what to say to her I vote keep things the way it is with Alex and if he cannot handle it well then it was not meant to be. I know I don't want Iris to end up 12 years later like me in love but not in lurve because to be honest 99 percent of the time it is good their is that one percent each day that makes me want to go for that Lurve thing and chuck all the other 99 percent in the garbage. Oh what choices we make in life. Joe
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[User Picture]From: myeyesaintblue
2007-05-02 07:42 pm (UTC)

Re: As always you have me thinking out loud

Hey Joe, So sorry to hear you lost someone you Lurved. That must have been incredibly difficult. I'm glad your parents were in Lurve... it must have been a really good way to grow up. Wish things were less complicated for you now. Thanks for the advice for Iris. I believe it is along the lines of what she's been thinking. You're saying "Oh what choices we make in life" reminds me of the Dixie Chicks song 'Voice inside My Head': "And I want, I need, Somehow to believe, In the choice I made, Am I better off this way?"

I think we all do the best we can...

P.S. I forgot about Eb. I loved Eb and his plaid coats and how he used to call Lisa and Oliver mom and dad.
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From: rainattimes
2007-05-04 02:56 am (UTC)


I am laughing so hard, that has to be one of the cheesy-est theme songs for a series ever!!! as always way beautiful writing, Iris's and Hank's frank conversation about the true meaning of love, thank you!!!!
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[User Picture]From: myeyesaintblue
2007-05-06 08:41 pm (UTC)


Hey there, Thanks and glad it made you laugh! And that you liked the rest too. Now I think I've got that song stuck in my head again. Drat. ;D
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[User Picture]From: bbmgirlfan
2007-05-04 03:54 am (UTC)
"New York is where I'd rather stay!"

Thanks for the nostalgia!! I hated the show but often watched it long enough to sing along :).

Cute chapter!

So ... Iris and Bill? Interesting! Where's that going, I wonder.

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[User Picture]From: myeyesaintblue
2007-05-06 08:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Glad I could drag you down memory lane, even if it wasn't to somewhere you really wanted to go. ;D
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[User Picture]From: huladavid
2007-05-11 11:41 pm (UTC)
Ya know, sometime somebody's gonna have to tell Hank, "When you write about this, and you will, be kind."
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[User Picture]From: myeyesaintblue
2007-05-16 03:57 am (UTC)
Hey there,

Ed's definitely the kinder one. (Although Hank does try.)
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[User Picture]From: huladavid
2007-05-16 04:55 pm (UTC)
Hmm... I'm not sure if you got the reference. It's from an old movie; Tea And Sympathy. The plot's basically the headmaster's nice wife lets a boy have sex with her so that people will stop thinking he's gay. The boys might get a lot a mileage ('tho yours may vary...) outta that.

You know, I hate to admit this, but I have a hard time keeping the two of 'em apart. My fault, not yours, since I read waaaaaay to fast and am lazy about picking up details.
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[User Picture]From: myeyesaintblue
2007-05-16 05:09 pm (UTC)
LOL! No... I'm a little slow sometimes. I did not get the reference. Somehow missed that movie. I guess Hank should be more careful about distinguishing him and Ed from each other... but you know how couples get when they've been together a long time...
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