Day 432: A Lick and a Promise

As she walked down Raglan Road toward the Emerald Victorian, Laetitia decided that she would leave Scotland today. She was beginning to think about the tours she would lead in the eastern United States, but she needed to plan some tours in Wales first. She opened the big wooden door, went into the kitchen, started a pot of Columbian dark roast brewing, and went into the library. Her first thought was that Wales was going to be a bit of a challenge, since she didn’t have a feel for the Welsh language. As she walked back into the kitchen to pour a cup of coffee, she mulled over her options. By the time she had finished her second cup of coffee, Laetitia made a decision.

Her grandmother hated “housewifery,” as she called housework, borrowing the term from American Puritan poet Edward Taylor. When her grandmother gave her house a cursory cleaning, she would say she was giving the house “a lick and a promise.” Laetitia decided to give Wales a “lick and a promise” this time around. To atone for giving the country short shrift this time, she would go to Wales again when she did the worldwide series of tours that she planned to do after the eastern United States.

She was still drawing a blank on a tour in Wales for today, so she made a second decision. She would use the day to plan a short series of tours in Wales. The powers that be at Mind’s Eye Limerick Tours headquarters—wherever that was—hadn’t authorized a day off from touring, but she would do it anyway. She decided it was easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission. She still needed a limerick for the day, so she made one up about a female stamp collector named Natalie.

When a man kissed a lady named Natalie
She was so engrossed in philately
That she gave John Thomas
A lick and a promise
When he wished her to play Lady Chatterley.

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 360: Erroneous Polonius

It was another day off from touring, but Laetitia still had to write a limerick. Laetitia’s cousin, Sophie, was visiting from Canada with her daughter, Emma. Thus, at 7:00 a.m., the three walked down Raglan Road together toward the Emerald Victorian. When Laetitia entered the kitchen to brew coffee, she was surprised to find that the packet of coffee was twice the usual size, providing enough coffee for two instead of one.

In the library, the three browsed guidebooks and maps as they planned a day trip to Paris that would include a cruise on the Seine, the Eifel Tower, and a fashion show. After a while seven-year-old Emma grew tired of the adult conversation and began playing with a model of the Eifel Tower that she found on a library table. When the plans for the day trip had been made, Laetitia began to think of a limerick.

The previous evening, their grandmother, Emma, Laetitia, and Sophie went to a performance of Hamlet put on by a local Hibernia theater company. Laetitia always admired Shakespeare’s humor. What struck her as especially funny in this production was Polonius, who said, “Brevity is the soul of wit,” and then rambled on at great length, being neither brief nor witty. Was being stabbed through the arras a just punishment for bloviating? The great thing about being an author is that one can deal with irksome folk symbolically. Laetitia posted her limerick, and the three went off on their virtual tour of Paris.

In Hamlet that fellow Polonius
Did utter a claim most erroneous
For he lied like a thief
When he said he’d be brief
Which was tacky although not felonious.

Day 200: Bawdy Gaudy

As she walked down Raglan Road toward the Emerald Victorian, Laetitia decided that this would be another day off from conducting a tour. The night before she had gone to a local pub that was sponsoring a limerick contest. The rule was that participants had to present limericks they had written themselves. The prize was a bottle of Midleton Very Rare Irish Whiskey. Laetitia wasn’t interested in participating herself—it would be too much like a “busman’s holiday”—but she went and enjoyed the limericks of the contest entrants. The contest didn’t begin until 10:00 p.m., so the bar crowd had ample opportunity to consume quite a few drinks.

As most limericks are, the ones presented at the contest were explicitly bawdy, with graphic descriptions of anatomy and action. Laetitia knew many limericks of that kind, but the ones she wrote herself were subtler. She liked “bait and switch” limericks that lure the reader into thinking in a ribald way until the non-bawdy nature of the rhyme is revealed at the end. However limericks of that kind are not to everyone’s taste. That became clear when Maeve, who won the contest, dismissed as tepid all limericks that aren’t bawdy. “Perhaps it’s what one would expect from a woman named after an Irish warrior queen,” Laetitia thought. The contest gave Laetitia the limerick of the day.

Maeve’s limericks were blatantly ribald
And she scorned all the squeamish that quibbled
Said she with a grin
“Though it may be a sin,
I’ve gobbled where others but nibbled.”