A story inspired by the 2015 Lancer Meet Up in York, originally posted on FB. I’ve revised the story a little as one of our number (whose name I have anglicised for the sake of the story) felt that she should have a speaking part (and I totally agreed). No beta, no profit, no ownership. All errors mine (and Wikipedia’s). A bit of fun to honour a very fun day..
The members of the Green River Ladies Guild were coming to the end of their monthly meeting, held this month in the great room at the Lancer hacienda. The group was without its usual venue at the church as there had been a small fire, resulting in some smoke damage. Therefore Murdoch Lancer, patron and chief tune-caller at the biggest ranch in the area, had kindly stepped in and offered the ladies the use of his home until repairs were complete. Murdoch was sensibly keeping well out of the way by doing paperwork in his study.
The group members were mainly from Green River but some came from Morro Coyo and Spanish Wells. Distance however was no barrier, for each member agreed that any effort required to attend was well worth it. Each month one member of the Guild would attend the town council meeting and report back on any important agenda items. The ladies relished the opportunity to discuss and have a say in local business and also, when the official business was completed, they could have tea and cakes and exchange gossip about everyday things, such as recipes and how their children (or in some cases grandchildren) were faring at school.
The last official agenda item was a run down from Lucy on the progress being made with the repairs to the church. Lucy, all business as usual, was able to report that things were going well and by the following month the Ladies Guild should be able to meet once again at its usual venue. Lucy, a stickler for details, expressed some concern about the length of time the repairs had taken and the cost. However, she knew that any action regarding this matter would rest with the Mayor. Lucy was fully determined to make her opinion known though, when given the chance.
Now that the ‘official’ business was completed it was time for the ‘guest speaker’, Victoria Nelson, to give her talk. Vicki (as she preferred to be called) was on an extended visit to the area from England and had quickly made friends with several of the local ladies. It soon became apparent that Vicki was a woman of the world and had a wealth of experience to share. She was therefore invited to come along to the Ladies Guild meeting and talk about a subject of her choosing.
The subject of her talk was eagerly anticipated by the Guild members and its title was ‘Women’s Suffrage’. As the state of Utah had recently granted women the right to vote it was a subject that was on everybody’s lips. Vicki described in detail what was happening in the United Kingdom, comparing the progress there with that in the United States. She also explained how she had become involved and what her role entailed.
There then followed a very lively discussion and at the end of it Vicki felt rather proud of the fact that this group of ladies would go away from the meeting with a much better understanding of the subject. The fact that the men of the community would probably not appreciate her expertise to the same degree did not deter her at all.
The ladies warmly applauded Vicki and thanked her, then started chatting excitedly amongst themselves.
At this point Anne, Chairwoman for the meeting, cleared her throat and attempted to bring the meeting to a close. Keeping a group of women in order was something that she excelled at. As well as being an accomplished writer she also taught part time at the local school. She was therefore well qualified for this particular task.
"So ladies,” Anne said, "now we come to the final item on the agenda; Any Other Business."
Knowing that some of the ladies were a little backward in coming forward Anne liked to give each of them an opportunity to speak. To facilitate this she went round the table and asked each member in turn.
"Lynne? Geraldine? Catherine? Louise? Polly? Lyn? Sue? Angie? Roberta? Lucy? Vicki? Kate? Doreen?" Each lady shook her head, except Vicki, who thanked everybody for the invitation to speak.
Last but not least was Tracey (the newest and youngest member). She thought this would be the ideal opportunity to express her thanks for being accepted into the group and therefore indicated her desire to say something.
However, before she could say anything, she was stopped by the sound of the front door opening. Then came the jingling of spurs and happy whistling.
All chatter stopped as Johnny Lancer sauntered into the room. His whistling petered out and he stood still, lips still pursed, as each and every one of the ladies swivelled round to look at him. For several moments nothing happened as Johnny looked at the ladies and the ladies looked at Johnny. Both parties seeming just as surprised at the other's presence.
After a morning's hard work moving cattle, rounding up strays and generally getting the dumbest creatures on God's green earth to do his bidding, Johnny was somewhat dirty and sweaty. He was suddenly all too aware of his scruffy appearance as fifteen pairs of eyes scrutinised every inch of him (or at least that's how it felt).
Johnny then regained his composure and remembered his manners. He took off his hat, bowed, then said, "good mornin' ladies."
There was a chorus of 'good morning' from the women and then another period of awkward silence, which Johnny felt the need to fill.
The youngest Lancer scanned the faces, all of which looked vaguely familiar, although he couldn't think why. Then he spotted a face that he knew and he locked eyes with the lady in question. "Howdy Miz Catherine. How are you this fine day ma'am?"
Catherine (feeling rather pleased that the young man had remembered her name) gave Johnny her sweetest smile and said, "I'm very well thank you John." The other women looked at Catherine with a mixture of amazement and envy; amazed that she was on speaking terms with the younger of the two Lancer sons and envious of the dazzling smile which he bestowed upon her.
Johnny remembered that Catherine, and a friend, had had occasion to visit Sheriff Val Crawford a few days before. Val had been called away on urgent business and Johnny had been 'holding the fort' for his friend. He'd explained the situation then made a cup of coffee for the two ladies while they waited for Val's return. Johnny had been nervous that he would not know what to talk to these rather refined ladies about but in no time at all they were chatting and laughing together.
"And how is your friend Miz Tsamp . . . . er . . Tsam . . .?" Johnny seemed to be struggling to get his tongue around this particular lady's name.
Catherine came to his rescue. "Cousin Tig is very well Johnny. She mentions you often and made me promise to pass on her regards if I crossed your path today."
"Oh?" Said Johnny, clearly perplexed . . . . . and interested. He quickly filed that little gem in the 'requiring action' part of his brain.
Catherine smiled and thought to herself, 'mission accomplished'.
"Yes indeed," she said with a twinkle in her eye.
"Yes, well, it's very nice to see all you lovely ladies here today. Um . . . I'll leave you to your business," said Johnny, not really knowing what else to say. He tipped his hat and with a cheeky grin he turned to walk out of the great room to the kitchen, where he hoped lunch was waiting.
As he walked away Johnny could feel the gaze of the women boring holes in his back . . . . and lower parts of his anatomy. Now Johnny Madrid Lancer was no stranger to the attentions of the female of the species but he couldn't help but feel flustered at this much attention, from this number of females. He tried very hard to appear nonchalant as he carried on walking and prayed that his usual grace wouldn't desert him now.
Once Johnny had disappeared from view there was a fair amount of jiffling, face fanning and sighing as the ladies tried to focus their attention back to business. Each of the ladies attempted to put the mental picture of Johnny Lancer's perfect posterior, clad in skin-tight leather pants firmly out of her mind. Needless to say it was difficult.
Once again it was left to Anne to bring the meeting to order.
Seeming less composed than usual, the Chairwoman said, "right ladies, let's not backside . . . oh! Er . . . I mean backslide. We need to finish the meeting and decide which concerns will be taken forward to the town council meeting." The last sentence came out in a rush as Anne tried not to think about the clanger that she had just dropped.
Unfortunately, at this slip of the tongue, the women who were just barely holding onto any semblance of control completely lost it. Great gales of ribald laughter filled the great room and Anne gave up trying to keep control and joined in.
In the kitchen Johnny joined his father and brother for a sandwich and a glass of milk. Just as Murdoch started to explain to Johnny that the meeting had been a last minute thing and he'd forgotten to mention it, the uproarious laughter was heard from the next room.
Scott snorted and almost inhaled his sandwich while Murdoch raised both eyebrows and gave his younger son a very stern look.
"Johneeeee," he said. "What did you do in there? I hope you behaved like a gentleman."
"Aw Murdoch," Johnny replied, with his best hurt expression. "Can I help it if the Ladies Guild ladies ain't really ladies?"
"Aren't really ladies,” Murdoch corrected automatically
"Exactly, so we're agreed," said Johnny, deftly moving around his father and avoiding the large hand that snaked out to deliver a swat to that much-admired derriere.
The (Rear) End