Suds in the bucket
(Inspired by the song by Sara Evans)
Every life has micro revolutions. Those moments so tiny you never notice at the time. Only when looking back do you realise how different life would have been without them. For Peggy Hayden that moment came just a little after nine AM. In her parent's backyard. Stood under the golden Oklahoma sun, humming a tune from the radio, she took a shirt from the bucket of wet clothes and hung it out on the line. Just as she secured the final clothes pin and a white pick up truck pulled up outside the house.
It was a small town, so the sight of a strange truck was bound to arouse curiosity. So Peggy went to take a look.
"Hi, could you help me, I err seem to have got lost." Came a voice from inside the truck as Peggy strolled around the porch and out into the front yard.
"Were you headed?" She yelled over.
"I'm trying to get to California, Mill valley in fact. Been kind of taking a road trip. Took a wrong turning somewhere and got hopelessly lost. Could you tell me how to get to the freeway? I'd know my way from there."
So Peggy went on over, set to give him directions for the only road out of town. Well nothing could have prepared her for what she saw inside; a young man, honey blonde hair and warm laughing eyes.
'Here's my prince' Peggy thought. For surely this was how a good love story should go.
"I'm Peg" She said, extending her hand, deciding in that second to shed her childhood name.
"BJ" Said her prince, taking her hand in his. There was something about this sweet country girl that he couldn't explain. Something almost magical.
"BJ" She repeated, letting it roll around her tongue. "What's that stand for?"
"Anything you want it too."
They exchanged a look, their eyes saying what words could never explain.
"So, California, that sounds nice." She finally said
"Yeah it is." He replied, then in a moment of total rashness, added "Want to come see it with me?"
Well she was plenty old enough, and you can't stop love.
"Sure, give me fifteen minutes."
Peggy threw some clothes and her things into a battered suitcase, then hurtled out the door. Wild and glowing with the future that lay ahead. The glorious magic place of California, with her prince at her side.
Feeling she ought to leave a note, Peggy grabbed a pen and paper, sat down on the porch to write her farewell, but couldn't find the words.
In the end all her note said was 'Sorry but I had to go.'
So with note fluttering pinned against the screen door, Peggy and BJ headed off into the horizon. Not looking back for a moment. She left the suds in the bucket and the clothes hanging out on the line.
Eventually her folks found the note and her Mama's heart broke. Her Daddy Floyd stood in the kitchen, staring out the window at the trembling clothes. Scratchin' and rackin' his brains.
"How could 18 years just up and walk away." He wondered
"Our little pony-tailed girl growed up to be a woman. Now she's gone in the blink of an eye. Heck she even left the suds in the bucket and the clothes hangin' out on the line."
He took a sip of brandy (much needed at a time like this)
"Lord don't you wonder what the preacher's gonna preach about Sunday morn. Nothin' quite like this has happened here before.
Well he must have been a looker. The smooth talkin' son of a gun. For such a grounded girl to just up and run."
He gave a small sigh
"Course you can't fence time, and you can't stop love."
Of course it was a small town, so word got round fast as a forest fire. The biddies in the beauty shop had a field day gossiping, whist sipping on their pink lemonade.
"How could 18 years just up and walk away." They'd wonder aloud.
"Well that sweet pony-tailed girl has grown up to be a woman ..."
"Now she's gone in the blink of an eye."
"They say she left the suds in the bucket and the clothes hangin' out on the line."
Not that Peggy cared about all that, as she kicked off her shoes and let her pretty bare feet hang out of the window.
"Were to my lady?" BJ said
"Vegas" She replied "I wanna get married tonight."
How could 18 years just up and walk away
Our little pony-tailed girl growed up to be a woman
Now she's gone in the blink of an eye
She left the suds in the bucket
And the clothes hangin' out on the line