Lucille was older now. She’d been married three times. Had four children with two husbands, three boys and a girl – there were seven grandkids. Current husband, husband number three, was named Roscoe. Retired now, he had been the sales manager at Simmons Chevrolet in OKC. He was a good man and he had talked her into touring the country in their RV. They’d been on the road for almost a month.
“Look at these woods Goldie, they’re beautiful,” Roscoe nudged her awake. He called her Goldie sometimes, a pet name, because although her hair was now silver he had seen photos of her when she was young – photos that showed her golden blonde hair worn curling over her shoulders and framing her radiant smile.
She rubbed her eyes, stretched and yawned. She looked out the window for awhile and then turned towards Roscoe. “Roscoe, I know these woods, I grew up here. Pull over when you can, would you?”
A few miles further on, they came to a rest stop on the side of the road. Not much more than a wide spot and a picnic table. Lucille undid her seat belt and went back to the door. Stepping out of the RV she looked around, closed her eyes and breathed in deeply. “God, I forgot how good it smells in the forest. Roscoe, come out here and breath, will ya?” She spun around slowly, studying the trees.
“I know where I am,” she said. “I used to have friends with a cabin not far from here. Let’s go see if we can find them.” She took Roscoe by the hand and led him straight to the woods where they disappeared between two large pines. It was darker in here than it had been at the rest stop and, it smelled a little mustier.
“I don’t know Luce, do you think it’s safe to wander in these woods?”
“I used to do it all the time. Besides, we’re not really wandering. I know where we are and where we’re going.” She clutched his hand a little tighter and headed deeper into the forest.
In almost no time they crested a rise and looked down on a pastoral valley. The tree line ended about halfway down the slope and a verdant meadow prevailed. A small creek meandered through, making a crooked pathway towards a log cabin nestled there. A wisp of smoke curled from the cabin’s stone chimney.
“Let’s go say hi.” She said excitedly.
Running down the slope Roscoe hurried to keep up. When he got to the cabin door Lucille was already there, straightening her blouse and her hair. After prepping, Roscoe took her hand and she knocked. There was no reply so, she pushed on the door and leaned forward, as it swung in. “Hello?” she said tentatively into the void behind the door. “Are you guys’ home?” Still no answer.
Pulling Roscoe inside she said, “come on, we’ll wait inside for a while and see if they come back.”
“I don’t know Lucille. It doesn’t seem right going into their house when they aren’t home. We should wait out here.”
“Don’t be silly, this is what folks do in this neck of the woods. If it wasn’t OK they wouldn’t have left their front door unlocked,” she argued. Reluctantly, Roscoe followed her in.
As his eyes adjusted to the dim light he became aware of the surroundings. The cabin was a single room. It was tidy, as neat as a pin. There were three beds on one side of the room and a kitchen on the other. There was no TV but an old Philco Radio stood on a low table under the front window. On the dining table sat a Bundt cake on a porcelain plate. Goldie headed to the table and took one of the chairs. She pulled another, slightly larger one, out for Roscoe.
“How well do you know these folks?” he asked her.
“Pretty well,” she replied, “but, I haven’t seen them in years.” She picked up a knife, carved off a large slice of cake and handed it to Roscoe. She carved off a smaller one for herself and took a dainty bite. “Mmmm.”
“I don’t think we should be eating their cake.” Roscoe looked worried.
“Don’t worry silly, if it wasn’t OK they wouldn’t have left it on the table.”
At that moment the front door swung slowly open and a large bear lumbered in. “Who’re you?” the bear rumbled.
Lucille dropped her cake and jumped to her feet. “Papa bear,” she exclaimed. “It’s me Goldie. It’s great to see you. Been a long time.”
“Goldie?” The bear said and he put on his specs to get a better look. “I’ll be damned, it is you. Look how you’ve grown.” He came over and gave her a big bear hug. “Last time I saw you, you were eating our porridge. Now you’re eating our cake, huh? Who’s your young man?” he smiled and looked at Roscoe.
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