Usual Disclaimers Apply
Summary: Johnny’s musing over the ladies in his life.
~ JML ~ JML ~ JML ~ JML ~ JML ~
Johnny had to admit it, that yes he was a sucker for a pretty face. He loved to be seen around town escorting Mrs. Johnson’s mighty fine looking daughter, Amelia on his arm. He didn’t mind helping the Widow Hargis with her bundle of falling packages, not if it meant he got to sneak a quick peek at Zee’s finely shaped ankle when he assisted both ladies into their buggy. Zee playful slapped his arm after catching him with a look of appreciation plastered on his face, reminding him to tell “Scott hello for me and to come visit me real soon.” With a quick tip of his hat he gave both ladies his best and most innocent looking little boy look as he saw them off.
He also had to confess that he enjoyed seeing the newest saloon girl, Riley at the Painted Lady in Green River. She had the most beguiling little turned up nose and a tiny beauty mark on the back of her neck that he liked to nuzzle...
He was quite infatuated with his ladies’ big blue eyes, or green one or even brown ones, long silky hair he could run his fingers through no matter the color. And he loved to smell the fresh traces of violet or lemon or roses or lavender fragrances as his nose sniffed luxurious long loose locks after he removed the pins from whatever young lady happened to need her hair let down. The sound of swishing skirts and musical twittering made him turn his head to see who was coming down the boardwalk. He was incredibly protected of any lady who was clinging to his arm, giggling with delight at something silly he had happened to mention.
Ah, yes the young Lancer son had found life to be...well sweeter than he had ever known, especially when he had the opportunity to spend his free time in the arms of a beautiful woman or with one who loved to nurtured him and take care of him...
Back on Lancer Johnny was known to be quite the ladies man there as well. Scott was aware that his little brother got exclusive treats that he didn’t begrudge Johnny any since he too was frequently the recipient of his brother’s good fortune. Teresa would bake Johnny’s favorite chocolate cake for dessert with the slightest hint he dropped that his sweet tooth was yearning for something rich and creamy that would go well with a tall cold glass of milk.
While Maria was quick on the uptake to make certain her Juanito had plenty of extra servings, after all he was still a growing boy. And in her eyes, he needed to make up for lost time when he was very young and his madre hadn’t done a good job of taking care of him. Maria watched him like a hawk to make certain he had plenty to eat and never had to ask for more helpings, she kept his milk glass filled, his plate heaping and often made his favorite Mexican dishes extra spicy just for him.
Johnny had to come clean that he had been known on more than one occasion to fall head over heels for any small girl child in need of a big brother to guide and watch over her. He gladly filled those boots for several. One being a small waif named Vinny Buttermere with huge blue eyes that looked liked two pools of fresh clear water as she looked right through a person. She had wisdom well beyond her ten years. Her lot in life was to have been saddled with an incorrigible flimflamming father with an Irish brogue was so thick you needed a sharp knife to cut through it. He had used her with brashness, heedless of the damage he was doing to her all to help promote his get rich schemes. But now she was safely tucked away at a boarding school back East receiving an excellent education. Johnny loved reading her letters with news about her adventures at school.
Pony Alice, the toughest little minx he had ever laid eyes on, quite capable of turning the air blue with her off the cuff comments that made him laugh at her impertinence. Yet she possess the frailest little heart he had ever seen as she pined for her no good, horse-trading, conniving, cheating Uncle Wilf who had auditioned her off to the highest bidder, which he made sure was him. She only wanted to be loved by her father’s brother, being an orphan and all. Johnny felt a lump in his throat each time he thought about her and he wondered how she was doing. One day he would ride back to Witness Tree to see for himself. Make certain Wilf and Florida were taking real good care of her. Besides he wanted to hear her latest cussing, it amused him coming out of the mouths of babes, he snickered.
Then there was Penny Rose, known as the “Little Darling of the Sierras” whose constant singing and banging on a tambourine drove everyone at the Lancer ranch batty with her heavy lisp and loud piercing voice, she couldn’t carry a tune unless it was in a bucket. Her recitations weren’t too bad, maybe just a tad over the top for Johnny’s taste in drama but at least she wasn’t singing and banging that damn tambourine when she was putting on her play-acting show. And after all was still another orphan in need of his family’s help. As Murdoch and Scott sorted out her sudden rags to riches good luck with the discovery of stocks and bonds, hidden away in her father’s old player piano, Johnny kept her entertained or she him. He figured he did get the raw end of that deal and was relieved to see her go off with her Aunt Hester. He and everybody else within listening distance.
But what Johnny refused to declare to anyone until today was his sincerest appreciation and affection for Bessie and all her charms. He was head over heels about Bessie. She had the biggest brown eyes he had ever seen, they were like windows into her soul. He would stare deep into them; she knew that to be factual as she had caught him doing just that on more than one occasion. Bessie had a pleasing smooth silky texture to her short hair that tingled and quaked under Johnny’s firm but gentle touch whenever he caressed her. Or even when he slapped her rump in true pleasure for her offerings which never failed to bring a wide smile to his face as he drank of her treasures.
Bessie always greeted Johnny with nothing but a boisterous welcome of true esteem each time they saw the other, which happened to be daily, every morning, like clockwork. She had such a weakness for Johnny that now she greeted him with big wet sloppy kisses every chance she got. Whenever possible she followed him around the barn and stable like she was his faithful watch dog until he took her back to her stall where she would munch to her heart’s content on the freshly mowed hay that he would place in her box. The other men at Lancer would guffaw and point at Bessie following him around but she didn’t care...this was her fella...she would follow him anywhere she could...nudging at his shoulder for his attention.
No question about it Bessie was smitten and would bawl loudly and long whenever Johnny mounted Barranca and rode off for what seemed like an eternity to her. He would of course milk her before leaving for the day as she would allow no other man’s hands to touch her down there. Oh no, only Johnny had that privilege of gently massaging her teats, tugging down on them, releasing her milk into a bucket. Sometimes when Johnny was being playful, he would squirt her fresh, warm liquid at the barn cats, who sat anxiously all in a row waiting for any of her offerings.
Bessie overheard Johnny talking to that strange girl in long skirts with dark brown hair that would fetch the full bucket of her fresh milk. She knew that the girl would take her milk and the other cows to make such things as butter, cream, buttermilk and something called ice cream. She felt enormously proud that her milk sustained her true love and would moo with satisfaction whenever he took a long drink, grinning at her in their share moment of intimacy as he patted her with affection...with the cutest little milk moustache that he would wipe off with the sleeve of his fancy shirt.
Bessie was sure that Johnny was hers and only hers as he brushed her coat until it shined like a new penny. He would carefully lift up each hoof and clean them to make certain nothing was caught there. Then only he could muck out her stall and put down a fresh bed of hay for her before leading her back inside.
But today was different! He talked excitedly to her and told her that she was so special that she had won first place in something called “Cow Appreciation Day” as he hung a bright blue ribbon on a wide blue ribbon around her neck. She had wondered why so many strange men had come to see her lately, as Johnny walked her around and offered samples of her fresh milk. This had to be it! This was the reason! She was the best of the best!! The cream of the crop! She felt so proud that she had made her Johnny so happy!!
Later back in her stall she mooed with contentment to herself, “How about that? Bessie mused, “I won first place just because of my wonderful Johnny.”
“Isn’t he just moovelous?” she mooed to the other two milk cows in the Lancer barn. “Don’t you wish the others pay so much attention to you?” The other two cows ignored her and chewed away at their cuds. But Bessie didn’t care; she knew that they were jealous of her special man and their special bond.
Patti H. – July 25, 2009
Reader Notes: In Honor of July 25th – Cow Appreciation Day! Which is only one of many days earmarked for this auspicious day in the month of July. Another one of those quasi American “holidays” probably created by restaurants to sell more products. Johnny saw it as an opportunity to talk about his special lady – Bessie.
P.S. I suddenly have the urge to have a hamburger! And maybe a black cow for dessert...