Unforgettable Jesse
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I did not think there was much to Jesse when I first met him. I knew he was an ultra quiet widower of 87 years from the farming and logging area of Nipissing, and I felt he was more at home listening to others. Then I saw and heard him speak at his great granddaughter’s wedding reception.

“And now,” said Mary Elizabeth, the master of ceremonies. “Would you put your hands together and help me welcome our family patriarch, great grandfather Jesse!” A hearty applause followed from the ninety or so guests. With a spring in his walk, he approached the front table with his bandaged hands held close to his ears. The guests and bridal party, showing plenty of anticipation, leaned forward in their chairs.

He looked every bit an accomplished orator in his new tuxedo. Each strand of his white hair was in its place. He seemed to stare at each person individually as the Legion Hall became ‘pin drop’ quiet.

He looked to his left, nodded at the bridal party, and waived at two nearby babies in their mothers’ arms.

“Gentlemen,” he said with the grave and scornful look of a hanging judge, “I was the victim of a terrible crime last evening while hosting the young ladies of the bridal party at my home.” He waited for the ripple of laughter to subside. “Now, I don’t mind waking up and seeing six pairs of panty hose hanging from my shower curtain and various under garments strewn over my living room furniture.” A heavyset man fell backwards in his chair. His wife fell on top of him. Jesse hid a small smile at one corner of his mouth.

“Last evening the bride painted my fingernails as I was enjoying my evening glass of milk. She wanted to see the colours on me and then decide.” The guests broke into sustained laughter while the bride’s face reddened.

They then looked at him intently while his front teeth tore away the bandages that surrounded his hands and fingers. He kept his fingernails hidden from view and leaned closer to the microphone.

“Just think of how I now feel after my best great granddaughter and fishing buddy had the absolute gall to do this,” and he held up his ten painted fingernails for all to see. Two matronly overweight women laughed and lurched out of their seats. Which one got to the washroom first was never determined.

“I looked up the names of ALL the colours,” he said while staring at the guests and fixing the bride with a wry smile. Her veil fell off as the room erupted with table thumping and laughter.

He held up a pink index finger and waited for quiet. Again he leaned closer to the microphone and sounding much like a university scholar, he said, “Hawaiian Grapefruit Polynesian Pink Passion.” As hilarity ebbed and flowed, he held up a thumb. A hushed and still silence filled the hall. He waived the blue painted thumb like a hitchhiker begging for a ride.

“Suckee-Wuckee Midnight Reassuring Blue.” A mouthful of beer spewed from a bridesmaid’s nose. His new great grandson-in-law squirmed and laughed while his bride rocked sideways. Jesse then held up a little finger covered with many colours.’

“Gentlemen, this is most unsettling, and we shall never put up with any more of this nonsense.” His eyes drilled all the wet face guests.

He cleared his throat and continued, “I have thirteen more great granddaughters to marry off, and never, I say NEVER, will there be any more Lovey-Dovey Captivating Rainbow Rapture at any of their wedding receptions!”

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