It was a chilly spring evening as Floyd, and Pegg Harkins’ sat rocking in their chairs watching the sun set behind the dark green mountains of the Beaverden, West Virgina.
You know Pegg, I’ve been ruminating about our graduation celebration when it was held in the afternoon outside behind the school house.
Do you remember when some of Mr. Dickle’s bees from his farm next door swarmed around the food table, the punch bowl spiked with that corn liquor and Cletus.
Yeah, Floyd, I remember, but there you go again using big words like, “Ruminating.”
When we were in school Pegg, why did you stop dating your sweetheart Cletus and start dating me?
Floyd, for forty-two years, I have told you this story many times, that I have loved you ever since the day you sprayed Cletus with water at our eight grade graduation.
Floyd, do you member, how Cletus’s mama dyed his white T-shirt orange with dark green lettering to match our school colors.
Pegg, I remember his blue jean pants with gold and silver studs on the legs in the shape of stars, and his pointy-toed rattle snake-skin cowboy boots the same color of his t-shirt. Boy, he was the brightest rooster at the party.
Floyd, member his mother, spelled “Gratulations Class of 1975,” across the front of his t-shirt, and he wore his dark green International Harvester baseball cap.
You know Pegg, those bees chased Cletus around, but he kept swatting at them with one hand while holding his cup of punch in the other, and never spilling a drop.
Yeah, Floyd, he danced around kicking at the bees with his fancy colored boots, but we all stopped laughing when the acorn size nasty welts on his arms, neck, cheeks, and forehead started showing.
When your papa, Principal Harkin poured the punch all over Cletus to scare the bees away, Cletus started screaming. I member the scared look on your daddy’s face when Cletus squealed like a pig as the corn liquor in the punch soaked into those stinging welts.
But, Floyd, you became, Cletus and everyone’s hero when you sprayed him with the water hose making the bees away.
Yeah, Pegg, but we all started laughing when the water made the orange dye streaked from his t-shirt onto his arms, his blue jeans pants, then on his orange cowboy boots.
The colors mixed into a puddle on the green grass behind the school.
When you sprayed Cletus with the water, that’s when I fell in love with you Floyd?
Floyd reached for Pegg’s hand and gave it a squeeze, and they both smiled. I still wonder why the bees followed old Cletus?
You, know Floyd, I put honey on Cletus’s cap hoping the bees would bother him so he would not ask me to marry him after graduation.
Floyd giggled and smiled I love you, Pegg, now and forever.
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