Hank Brown, as I said before was Norm Brown's cousin. The flowers in his shop were always fresh and he knew how ta put together a real nice arrangement. The way he decorated the High School stage for the Talent Competition each year was a sight to behold. He always seemed ta be the number one winner at the County Fair for his displays. Why one year his Orchids made the National News and weren't we just so proud! I often pondered on why Hank Brown didn't move to some big City and become some famous big time Florist to the Stars or somethin. I guessed he was just as happy ta be right here in our town. He wasn't one for socialisin. I heard he'd gone ta some big high standin school and had a real good education but I guessed the flower business was his only real concern. I guessed it didn't matter what kinda education ya had just so's you were lucky enough to be doin somethin ya liked doin.
It seemed Hank was preparing all year for the County Fair. He had a special knack with Roses, I know cause he'd let me watch him sometimes as he took his time prunin them and such. He treated them like children, talkin to them and all the while hummin as he went around to each bush. He had names for each of them. There was Caroline, Rosemary, Katharine and I don't know what. One year some fella from up north who'd heard about Hank's Roses had come especially to see him and take photographs of them, seems he was responsible for the beautiful posters of the Roses that were spread around the countryside. Hank's Roses sure were famous.
Every year the County Fair Board of Directors would attach a theme to the Floral competition. This year it was ta be a Fairy Tale theme. Now, each participant was ta keep their display plans a secret until the opening day of The Fair. It made it more excitin that way I supposed. They could choose any Fairy Tale they wanted to. Hank, as I said before was a real smart man and seems Josephine Barker who was the Librarian had watched Hank go through every book she had on Fairy Tales. She had even ordered some especially that the Library didn't have on hand so's Hank could do a complete study. Seemed like a whole lot of work for nothin I thought but guessed Hank knew what he was doin and it was all that important to him.
About a month before the Fair Hank became real busy preparing for his exhibit. His shop'd almost closed down he got so busy with his work. In fact this one year he did close down for three days each week of the month before The Fair and wasn't it interestin how Eleanor Hampton was spendin a lot of time gettin herself all dolled up at Janice Buzzy's place practically every other day. Janice had practically had to use a crowbar ta get it outta Eleanor as ta why she suddenly had ta be lookin her best every minute of the day. Eleanor looked real good most times anyways, her bein an Ex-Beauty Queen an all. But the way Janice told it Eleanor wasn't foolin around about somethin. She's get her nails done, her toes done and anythin else done that she figured needed fixin. It was terrible interestin.
One Friday mornin as I was settin in May's Coffee Shop I just happened ta mention that wasn't Eleanor Hampton lookin extra special these days. Of course that's all I had ta say ta get her on her way. As I said before May was sure one for a story and knew just about everything that was goin on in our town. She was sure entertainin and ya figured you'd get the truth from her in an exaggerated sort of way. Look how she'd pulled my leg about Billy and near got me grabbin her throat, wasn't I so riled.
Anyways she starts. It was sure preculiar she says how Hank Brown and Eleanor Hampton were just bumpin inta each other so frequently of late. Just by accident, if you knew what she meant and just so regular your could set your clock by them. It was all to funny ta watch. One of em would get there first, they never came in together, and before you knew it they'd be sharing a table together, just by accident. They'd get real cozy she says and both of em'd have a grin on their faces that reached from ear to ear. Sometimes they'd spend near two hours settin there smilin at each other and she figured they never even tasted their coffee. The even funnier part was that they never left together either. As if it wasn't so darn obvious that they were seein each other. This, she says, had bin goin on for at least a month and she figured it all started this one Sunday at Church.
May, as you know was the Choir Master and she got a pretty good view of the Congregation from where she set. Seems Eleanor and Hank never paid any mind ta each other. They both came to the Service alone every Sunday and set alone. Neither one of em ever seemed to get involved with the goins on before or after the Service. They'd just come and go. This one Sunday The Reverend Plaskett had given one of his best sermons and more people seemed ta want ta hang around afterwards than was usual. May was chattin up a storm with anyone who would listen to her, when she noticed Eleanor and Hank hangin around sorta cozy in the Coffee Room. Well, she figured that that was the beginnin of this whole affair. As May set there laughin and shakin her head about the whole thing I guessed I had the whole story and was wonderin whether Hank would even make it ta the County Fair this year. Seems he had a lot of other things on his mind. I guessed that was one reason his shop was closed so often. Between trips to the Library and coffee outtins with Eleanor I don't wonder, if ya know what I mean. I was beginnin to wonder if Eleanor had also been furtherin her education at the Library at certain times when Hank's shop was closed. Seemed like a good time ta take out a book, if ya know what I mean.
Turns out that Josephine had the same story as May, or close to it. Didn't they just set there across from each other sorta readin and watchin each other for the longest time. Didn't both of em look like they'd just swallowed the canary.
Well Hank and Eleanor started meetin with The Reverend and didn't that just spell it all out. Hank got to the County Fair and did a spectacular job as usual. His Caroline Rose won a special prize. Turns out he'd used Alice In Wonderland as his theme and Eleanor was his Alice. He'd got himself a rabbit and had all the characters from the story mixed in amongst his display. It was sure beautiful was what everyone said. As usual he took first prize.
The Weddin took place a week after the Fair and Eleanor looked better than ever. Hank never looked better. I guessed things'd never looked better for both of em. And so it goes......
Harmonyville - Home
The Folks of Harmonyville - A list
The Busy Bee - A Story
Dog Days - A Story
May Jones - A Story
The Bake Off!- A story
Guiness - A Billy Story
The Talent Competition