Derringer Award winning author Earl Staggs has seen many of his short stories published in magazines and anthologies. He served as Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Magazine and as President of the Short Mystery Fiction Society. His novel MEMORY OF A MURDER earned thirteen Five Star reviews online at Amazon and B&N. His column “Write Tight” appears in Apollo’s Lyre. He is also a contributing member of Murderous Musings and Make mine Mystery. He hosts workshops for the Muse Online Writers Conference and The Catholic Writers’ Conference Online and is a frequent speaker at writers’ gathering. Visit his Homesite at: earlwstaggs.wordpress.com
Surrounded by Beautiful Women
by Earl Staggs
It all started when I married Carol, a beautiful girl. We had two daughters, also beautiful. Before long, we had a family dog, also a female and beautiful for a dog.
So there I was, surrounded by beautiful women.
The dog passed on to the big kennel in the sky years ago, and our daughters are grown to full adulthood and off living their own lives with their own families. Cindi, our youngest, lives in Houston, about four hours away, and Chris, older by five years, lives in New Jersey, about a million miles away from us. Very rarely do we get to spend time with the two of them at once, but they’re both here in Fort Worth now for a visit, just them, without their husbands and our grandkids. It’s only the four of us, as it was all those years ago when they were growing up.
So here I am once again, surrounded by beautiful women. And loving it.
We raised our girls in Maryland and experienced everything parents can go through. We sold a lot of Girl Scout cookies through those years. Naturally, we bought as many as we sold. If you have daughters, I know you can relate. Girl Scouts also go on camping trips. Carol and I found it hard to sleep knowing they were out there in the woods where bears, snakes, wolves, poison ivy and who knows what else lurked.
All little girls have to go to dance classes, of course, and parents have to take them there, sit and wait, and bring them home. That was boring, so Carol and I came up with the crazy idea of joining the class. We did and learned enough tap to take part in the recitals. Yes, we actually did, and it was fun.
Then came sports. For Chris, it was volleyball and cheerleading. For cheerleading, she had to learn to throw a backflip. We dragged a mattress into the back yard, rigged a harness with rope, and spent hours practicing that stupid backflip. She fell a lot, but that’s why the mattress was there.
Cindi chose softball, which meant I had to pitch the ball to her so she could practice her batting swing. I’d pitch, she’d hit, and I’d have to chase down the ball. The better she got with the bat, the farther she hit the ball, and the farther I’d have to go to retrieve it. I spent more time searching for the ball than she did hitting it. Back to the drawing board. I drilled a hole in the ball, ran a long cord through it, and tied the other end of the cord to a cinder block. I’d pitch, she’d hit, the ball would only travel the length of the cord, then I only had to pick up the cord and pull the ball back. Much easier on me, and she became a darn good hitter.
We taught them to ride bikes and, later, to drive cars. Those tasks were easy compared to the most daunting and fearful challenge. We’d worried about bears and snakes on those Girl Scout camping trips. This was worse. Now we had to worry about the worst danger of all. Boys. OMG! The worst nightmare of parents of girls. There were no nice boys. They were all evil predators intent of leading our babies astray. If you’ve raised daughters, you can relate to that, too, I’m sure.
Now with the two of them visiting us, we sit around recalling stories from those days. One of their favorite stories is the one about the pancakes. We were watching TV at the time. I carried my plate into the kitchen and with my attention on whatever we were watching, reached for the syrup. I picked up the bottle, opened it, poured a liberal amount on my pancakes, and took a bite. Thought I would die! I’d picked up the bottle of dishwashing liquid instead of syrup. They love to drag out that story. Even I can laugh about it now.
We loved amusement parks and did Disney World, Six Flags, Hershey Park and more. I’ll never forget Cindi’s first roller coaster ride. It was Hershey Park’s newest ride, a big one that went very fast and rolled you upside down a few times. She was only four, scared to death, and I had to coax her to go on it with me. While we waited in line, she watched wide-eyed and open-mouthed, not saying a word, as the monster ride sped past overhead with people screaming upside down. I knew she wanted to run into mom’s arms and not get on the ride. She hung in there, though, and the first thing she said when it was over was, “Can we go again?”
We have grandchildren now. Chris presented us with two granddaughters and, yes, they are beautiful. Cindi added two handsome young men to our family. Now, our daughters are going through many of the same experiences Carol and I did. I smile to myself and think, “Welcome to parenthood.”I have pictures, of course, hundreds of pictures. Come by sometime, and I’ll bring them out and show you what life was like for a man surrounded by beautiful women. I know you’ll agree I’m a lucky man.
The four of us, back in the day. Carol and the girls are still beautiful. I’ve aged a tad. (And lost the mustache)