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Keep your shorts on, even in your own yard

Dod and Reba lived in Atlanta their entire married life; over 30 years. So when their last child finally moved out, so did Dod and Reba.

Dod retired from his law enforcement job of chasing coldhearted criminals, and they started looking for land and a simpler life. Together, Reba and Dod sought serenity, fresh air, and friendly, but distant, neighbors. They wanted to get Dod the heck out of danger and get downright country fried.

In Rutledge, Ga., they bought several acres with an old farm house and a long meandering driveway. For the fun of it, they invested in a couple of cows, a few chickens, and a tractor. They didn't know how to use any of it, but liked the noises of rural living.

About 100 yards from the house, they planted a garden, and, from the wide front porch, spent the evenings watching their tomatoes ripen. Long conversations about politics, the kids, and the universe's purpose for bovine took place over the din of chirping crickets.

Many a glass of wine accompanied their postulations.

One late-summer evening, sometime in September, Dod and Reba retreated to the veranda to share a fine Vognier. After his initial glass, feeling high on the cool night air, Dod got a little giddy and challenged Reba, "I bet you're too chicken to strip your clothes and run touch the garden gate."

Reba waved him off with her hand.

Dod poured them each another glassful, which they sipped, enjoying the sensation of summer stepping aside for fall. Several minutes passed and Dod, feeling his luck improved now, again threw out the dare.

"Underwear and everything," asked Reba. She enjoyed watching him squirm with excitement over the perceived possibility.

"Yep," said Dod. "I dare ya to do it."

"You know I won't do any such thing," Reba scolded. Secretly, however, she felt delighted that he still wanted to see her birthday suit.

"Brock-bock-bock," Dod imitated a cackling hen.

Topping off their glasses with the last of the evening fare, Reba bristled. "Dod, I'm a 56 year-old woman and I can do anything I darn well please, and if I want to run to the garden stark naked, I will. But you can't make me."

"Because you won't," goaded Dod.

"Will too, when I'm good and ready," she snapped.

"Double-dog dare ya."

Reba downed the elixir of courage, stood and unbuttoned her blouse.

A surprised, but pleased, Dod, sealed the deal. "Nahhh, Reba, I know you. I'm not that easy." He exposed a smile, so big his dangling uvula showed, and rocked back in his chair, satisfied that she wouldn't back down now.

Reba tossed her blouse onto the porch rail and unsnapped her shorts. Her foundation garments followed. She stood before Dod in her full God-given glory. "Watch this," she said.

Reba jogged to the garden fence and bent over to catch her breath. About that time, the sound of car tires on the cattle gate echoed down the driveway. Reba's ears pricked. Her legs felt like noodles.

Dod yelled, "Whoo, Reba, you better run, girl. Sounds like we got company." Dod stared down the driveway, like he could see a trail of dust winding toward his homestead. Really, he saw a truck pull in and back out.

Reba sprinted toward the house, her flesh moving in motions contradictory to her feet.

When she had 25 yards to go, he scooped up her clothes and scooted inside.

"I'm a chicken now, Dod," she screamed. "I'm a wet hen!"

Dod quaked with laughter at the noises of rural living.

Web posted on Thursday, September 21, 2006

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