They Gave the Ball Without Me
For the 32nd consecutive year, I did not receive an invitation to the annual Harvest Ball at the Piedmont Driving Club. Obviously, there has been some kind of mistake.
Every year, I anxiously await the arrival of the white envelope beckoning me to what is certainly one of Atlantaís most prestigious and gala social events.
And every year, I am disappointed. Could the problem be I have moved around too much and they donít know where to find me?
I could just drop by the club and pick it up, you know, and I promise to leave the truck on the street.
What happens at the Harvest Ball is some of the cityís loveliest and tenderest and most charming your girlpersons, whose daddies also have a big stash, make their "debuts" to society.
That makes them "debutantes." I have never quite understood what a debutante is, but Iím sure there are lots of good things to eat and drink at their parties.
"When a girl makes her debut," somebody who should know told me, "it means her parents are presenting her to their friends and that she is now a part of the social scene."
I think the male comparison to that Ė on a lower social strata Ė is your old man taking you for a beer at the VFW and letting you shoot pool with Scooter Haines who was once eight-ball champion of all Heard County.
They held this yearís Harvest Ball last week, and again, I had to be satisfied with reading about it in the paper.
It was a grand affair. Proud fathers, said the report, beamed as their daughters curtsied to the audience in their expensive and chic gowns.
One of the debs did express concern her escort might get too drunk to cut in on her father when it came time for the eveningís waltz. That shocked me.
I can understand getting too drunk to shoot eight ball with Scooter Haines, but the Piedmont Driving Club ainít the Moose Lodge, sport.
Dinner was divine, the story went on. Everybody had tomato aspic with shrimp, breast of chicken, spinach soufflť with artichokes and almond mousse and even Scooter Haines, who once went all the way to Houston for a pool tournament, never wrapped his gums around anything like that.
Sadly, the closest I have ever come to a debutante ball was the annual Fourth of July Street Dance in front of the knitting mill on the square in downtown Moreland with a live band that played "Down Yonder" over and over again because thatís all the band knew except for "Alabama Jubilee," which didnít play so well.
What always happened at the dance was farmers from as far away as Luthersville and Arno-Sargent showed up with truckloads of daughters they wanted to marry off. If any of them had teeth, they got to ride up front in the cab.
Some grand old girls got out of trucks at those street dances. The only curtseying they did, however, was over behind the depot where nobody could see them. We were a polite society, too.
There was Cordie Mae Poovey. Cordie Mae always came in just her "bermudalls." Thatís a pair of overalls cut off just above the knee. Cordie Mae couldnít dance a lick, but donít tell her because she weighed a good 220 and was stronger than she smelled.
And who could forget Lucille Garfield? Lucille carried her pet pig everywhere she went. The way you could tell the pig from Lucille was the pig wore a hat and was the better conversationalist of the two.
Betty Jean Turnipseed didnít miss a dance for 15 years. Betty Jean wasnít very smart. One time somebody brought an armadillo to school for show-and-tell and she thought it was a possum on the half-shell.
But Kathy Sue Loudermilk came to the street dances, too, and when she danced, even the preacher broke a sweat. Nature blessed that child beyond the limits of this timid vocabulary.
Itís like my boyhood friend and idol, Weyman C. Wannamaker Jr., a great American, said of her: "That dog can hunt."
So Iíll probably never make the Harvest Ball. But I would have paid to have seen Kathy Sue Loudermilk debuting at the Piedmont Driving Club.
One curtsey from olí Kathy Sue in something tight and low-cut and the whole crowd would have been knocked squarely on their tomato aspics.