Day 570: Oh Deer!

It was another almost-day-off for Laetitia. As she poured a steaming cup of coffee and walked into the Emerald Victorian’s library, she had already decided to base the limerick on the previous night’s restaurant visit.

From time to time, Laetitia’s grandmother liked to treat her grandchildren to dinner at a nice restaurant. The previous night, Laetitia and her grandmother were joined by one of Laetitia’s married cousins and her four-year-old daughter. The youngster sat next to her great grandmother, and Laetitia and her cousin sat across the table from them. A waiter breezed up to the table, recited the list of specials, and then said to Laetitia’s grandmother, “What would you like, dear?”

Laetitia watched her grandmother’s face go apoplectic as her Irish temper soared toward its flash point. To her grandmother, “Dear” was a patronizing term of address that younger people started using around the time her hair turned white. She viewed it as a term that implies that a woman is dithery and no longer relevant. Before she could say, “My name is not Dear, dear,” her four-year-old great granddaughter stood up and said indignantly, “She’s not a deer; deers have antlers and hooves.”

Everyone laughed, the moment passed, and the conversation moved on to more pleasant subjects. Laetitia thought to herself, “I suspect that people who use that condescending term don’t realize how demeaning that sounds to older women. At least the waitress didn’t call Grandmother ‘old pussy,’ the term Agatha Christie often used to describe her elderly amateur detective, Jane Marple.” On the way home, Laetitia made some mental notes about the limerick she would write in the morning.

My grandmother wants it made clear
You’re not to address her as “dear”
A term condescending
Ladies find offending
When their life has reached a vintage year.

Day 365: Reginald Prickett

When Laetitia walked down Raglan Road in the crisp morning air, she pondered what she would do today. The powers that be at Mind’s Eye Limerick Tours—wherever that was—had made it clear that every 30 days or so, she could take a day off from leading a tour. Generally on such days, she went to the Emerald Victorian and stayed long enough to have coffee and write and post a limerick. Then she would leave and have the rest of the day to herself. But this day was different. This was day number 365. She had now been leading Mind’s Eye Limerick Tours for one year, and in recognition of this anniversary as a tour leader, Mind’s Eye headquarters had emailed her that she could take off not one but two days. She could take a trip by herself. It would be just like any other Mind’s Eye trip, except that she wouldn’t have to lead a group. She would, however, be required to send them a vignette and limerick at the end of each day.

She looked through some guidebooks and decided to go to someplace warm, Grand Cayman Island. She spent the day snorkeling over a nearby coral reef. In late afternoon, she walked along the beach and noticed a fully clothed older woman knitting as she reclined on a beach chair in the shade of a palm tree. The woman wore wire-rim spectacles and her grey hair in a bun. She was the spitting image of how Laetitia imagined Jane Marple looked in Agatha Christie’sA Caribbean Mystery. “Maybe life imitates art,” she thought.

That evening she showered, put on a casual beach outfit, and went to a beach bar that was part of one of the posh hotels. A man, good-looking and smartly dressed in slacks and a high-end tropical shirt, joined her at the bar. He bought her a couple of rum drinks and talked to her, mostly about himself. As their conversation evolved, it became clear that he was a hustler, but she lacked two essential elements that would have made him interested in making her a conquest. She was neither wealthy nor old. However she was a good listener and Reginald loved to talk about himself. By the end of the evening, his life’s story, which he had told her in great detail, made a nice multiple-verse limerick.

My friends call me Reginald Prickett
And I’m good at both croquet and cricket
I’m known throughout earth
From Frisco to Perth
For my prowess that all say is wicked.

My goal in life once was to own a
Plush condo in downtown Sedona
So that I could beguile
Wealthy ladies in style
Who spend winters in Arizona.

‘Til I wooed an old lady who smoked
And ‘twas not very long ‘til she croaked
And I learned with a thrill
That I was in her will
Imagine what joy that evoked.

With the cash that I got from old Maude
I then started a new life abroad
With a brand new life plan
As a smooth ladies’ man
On a quest for a gullible broad.

You can find me almost any day
On a lawn somewhere playing croquet
With some aged matron
Who’s my current patron
Or instructing some cute protégé.

I’ve a technique for teaching that’s grand
My pupils start with ball-in-hand
And then ball in play
And without delay
Its peel, peg out, push, just as planned.

And though some folks may think it absurd
The dowager girls are preferred
For they usually show gratitude
And seldom have attitude
Like you get from the much younger bird.

They usually aren’t boisterous and loud
And are often with funds well endowed
That they might leave a friend
When their life’s at its end
And they’re joining the feathery crowd.

The best are the ones without kin
Those troublesome heirs who barge in
With lawyers and spoil
The fruits of my toil
And leave me with naught but chagrin.

But I must say that my biggest thrill
Is a lady who’s terminally ill
Who’s frail and infirm
With an outlook short-term
Who just might write me into her will.

I have lived here for almost three years
When I came I was deep in arrears
From dealings in France
Where I lost my pants
But I’m better now thanks to those dears.

I’ve parlayed my good looks and panache
Into condos and sports cars and cash
I’m witty and arty
And love a good party
And wear clothes that exude style and dash.

I live my life in the fast lane
And cruise the beach bars, for it’s plain
That they’re where a man single
Can meet and commingle
With the ladies that live on champagne.

If you think that I’m not very nice
And my lifestyle is nothing but vice
Then you ought to reflect
I deserve your respect
For my services bring a high price.

Day 231: Bimbo Limbo

It was time once again for Laetitia to take a break from leading a tour. The previous evening, Laetitia had been invited to go to an Irish pub with her grandmother and several of her grandmother’s friends. During the evening, one of them had politely inquired about what Laetitia was up to these days. She had answered vaguely, “I work for an Internet business.” She shot a furtive glance in the direction of her grandmother, whose face bore an enigmatic smile not unlike that of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa.

The conversation moved on and “the girls,” as they called themselves, talked about their youthful idealism and naivety. Laetitia was reminded of a conversation in Agatha Christie’s They Do It with Mirrors, in which a long-time American friend of amateur detective Jane Marple says to her, “Of course it was the fashion when we were young to have ideals—we all had them, it was the proper thing for young girls. You were going to nurse lepers, Jane, and I was going to be a nun.” The ideals of the girls were somewhat less altruistic. They grew up at a time when young ladies often went to college simply to find a suitable mate.

As the evening wore on there was talk about the fun they had, their boyfriends, and fads like the Limbo. This was a dance of sorts that originated in Trinidad in the 1950s. The dancers bend over backwards and inch forward, pelvis first, as they try to pass under a bar. If they succeed in passing under the bar without falling down, the bar is lowered and they try again, hoping to set a record. The Limbo was all the rage at college parties in the 1950s and 1960s. The girls had an acquaintance that they referred to as the “Limbo Bimbo.” She was not especially bright, but was promiscuous and very athletic, and therefore especially good at the limbo. Though it is hard to imagine, the limbo record is purported to be passing under a bar around eight inches high. It was rumored that the Limbo Bimbo once went into a public pay toilet in Chicago, and when she found that she had no change, simply pulled up her skirt and slid limbo fashion right under the door of the stall. Whether it was true or not, it provided Laetitia with the limerick of the day.

Lacking coins for the loo, a young bimbo
Who was skillful at doing the limbo
Deftly slipped ‘neath the door
Just an inch from the floor
With skirt up and both arms akimbo.