Most Southern girls were still wearing longer skirts at the time of the Dukes, of course. So, why did Daisy wear those really short shorts? A short ficlet from Jesse's point of view. Hope you like it, it was tough to come up with something original, but I did think it made a nice little story.
I grinned broadly as I studied the picture of my late wife, Martha. She and I never could have no kids. As much as we prayed about it, the Lord just never blessed us with 'em, not like the other members of my family. And then, somehow, we was blessed with three of 'em. Martha an' me might not have had 'em since they was babies, but maybe that was for the best, what with her heart.
I looked toward the bedrooms, expecting to see my "little girl," the one I dreamed of walking down the aisle someday, come strolling out any minute wearing…
I raised my eyebrows. "What in tarnations is that?"
"it's my new outfit, Uncle Jesse."
"Well…where's the rest of it?!" I exclaimed. My little pride and joy had on the shortest shorts I ever did see. "Don't tell me you plan to go out in public like that! Next thing I know, you're gonna be like some of them girls who go burning their bras and all that other crazy stuff. Where do you think we live, California?"
"Come on, Uncle Jesse," Daisy said in a sweet, humble tone. "You know I wouldn't be like one of them. Why, you loved the dressed I picked out for when I was prom queen last week."
I was grateful to hear that tone. She was a feisty one, but she never gave me no trouble, not like Luke – who would hopefully grow up some in the Marines now – and Bo. She needed a few love pats a couple times, but never anything more. She knew not to get too sassy, and so I probably even gave her a little more leeway than some might get. She'd even try to convince me to be less tough on the boys when they were out of control.
Daisy was gonna make the best momma someday – but I wanted to keep her from becomin' one too early. "Look, Daisy, you know how I feel about modesty. I mean, why would you even want to wear somethin' like that? You're gonna stand out like a sore thumb, and some boy gets a look at you, and next thing you know…" She gave me a look, and I knew I shouldn't go there. That look was right – I did know her better. Still, "What's wrong with them fancy dresses you like to wear?"
"Ain't nothin' wrong with 'em. It's just that it's a different time. I know I'm gonna stand out, but you always said a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, right? And, I gotta have some freedom."
"Yeah. But, you ain't no man."
"Well, I'm gonna be graduatin' high school in a week, and I ain't gonna be tied down to nobody. In fact, I put in an application to work down at the Boar's Nest." I tried to remain calm. "That's where this'll really come in handy, even if I don't get that job."
I held my hands up as she kept giving me reasons why she should be allowed to do this. "Look, just…let me sleep on it, okay. This isn't a decision to take lightly. There's reasons we believe in modesty here in Hazzard, and I gotta do some thinking'. And that's final!"
She relented. She knew my tone – she'd worked me up to a maybe, but if she pushed any more it'd be a flat out "no."
I could see where she got her feistyness, growin' up around Bo and Luke, and her other cousins. Her dad was like that, too; so was her mom. But, with Bo and Luke, it was magnified. First it was rushing around the farm on bikes, and even wrestling with the boys a little. Then, it was drivin'; she took to her first car like a duck takes to water. Turns out she'd been sneakin' out with Luke, who could drive since he was older, and even hangin' out over at Cooter's.
I didn't mind that – Martha could sew the rips in her skirts, and we even let her wear shorts sometimes when we knew she was gonna get 'em all dirty. Our little tomboy had been raised to know what was play clothes and what was dress clothes, and if she ripped one of her skirts, she'd been raised to know she was gonna fix that rip herself. In a way, maybe that, too, made her feel a little more independent than I wanted.
I was possible she'd marry young – she and that Strait boy had looked like an item, but I was leery on account of he was taking the police exam someday, and I worried about how he might be influenced by my old Ridgerunner pal, J.D. Hogg, if he got on his payroll. Still, Enos was pretty nice.
I was worried, though. I tossed and turned that night, thinking about the negatives. Most Southern gentlemen didn't take kindly to a woman who took the lead in things. I was scared she'd be an old maid someday. There was a part of me that wanted her to just do the Southern ladylike thing and stick to babysitting and other "womens' work," and wait for the right man to come along.
As I wandered out into the kitchen, though, and gazed up at the stars, I knew that was wrong, though. "Lord," I whispered softly, "I got lots of dreams for that girl. But, I know some of this is just my own foolish pride. Maybe you got a different road for her. Who knows, maybe someday she'll adopt a bunch of kids, or run the orphanage. You sure didn't have Martha and me have kids in the normal way." I couldn't help but chuckle. "Might need her to help keep Bo and Luke in line, too."
It was difficult, I knew, but I also knew Who was in charge of things. I counted the Lord as a friend, Who I could talk to about anything. It wasn't just in saying grace. And, though Daisy wasn't as close to the Lord as I was, she knew Him, too, and had pretty strong faith. I guess girls tend to be that way a bit more than boys, for some reason.
I sat in a chair and pondered things, and woke up a few hours later to the sound of the rooster. It was Saturday morning, but farm animals don't take off weekends. Bo and I did the chores, while Daisy fixed breakfast. And, I kept thinking.
Finally, after Bo had driven into town, I asked Daisy to sit at the table with me. "Well, Daisy, I've made up my mind." She looked at me expectantly – somehow, she seemed to know the answer. "I'll let you wear them outfits."
"Oh, thank you, Uncle Jesse," she said, leaping up and giving me a big hug.
"Now hold on a minute," I cautioned. "Before you go running out to by more, we need to talk." She sat as I spoke authoritatively. "Now, I admit I had to swallow some pride in order to get to this point. We Dukes, we always fight for what's right, and I still think them's a bit immodest. But, you know why I'm lettin' you?"
"Why's that, Uncle Jesse?"
"Well, you got self control. I was worried with Luke, and now I'm really worried with Bo when it comes to them drivin'. I'm afraid one of them's gonna end up drownin' in Hazzard Pond one of these days."
She tenderly touched my shoulder to reassure me. "Oh, Uncle Jesse, I'm sure that's not gonna happen."
"I suppose you're right. It don't do any good worrying, anyway. I can't just strap 'em to my waist and never let 'em leave my side. They'll run moonshine, they drive fast, but you…well, I guess I'm lookin' at it as your way of rebelling just a little."
"I don't know if I'd call it that."
"Now, just let me finish. There's things that are expected of girls in Hazzard, and things I dreamed about, that maybe you're not ready for yet. I understand that. I just know what some people think about girls who show all that stuff, and what they'll do. And, I ain't sayin' this 'cause I think you'd do this. I'm just sayin' this 'cause it's something a man's gotta say when he's raisin' a girl. If you ever would fall for that temptation, and have a baby, you'd be raisin' that baby, and you'd have full responsibility. But, you'd always have a home here to raise him in, and I'd love you no matter what."
I could tell Daisy didn't like that I'd brought that up. "Well, just know I ain't never gonna be like that!" she declared.
"I know. That's just one of them things that needs to be out in the open, 'cause it does happen." She sighed, fuming a bit at the implication, but getting over it fast, too. "That part about swallowing a little of my pride? Well, I think every man dreams of walkin' his little girl down the aisle. I guess since I was runnin' shine when I was barely old enough to drive, I hoped you and the boys would each choose the gentler life; a nice, comfortable marriage on a farm near here, without all the worries I had."
"Well, maybe I will, Uncle Jesse. But, if I do, it's gonna be on my terms."
"I know." I sighed; Duke pride was awfully hard to swallow sometimes. "I know. I guess this is just one of those things I gotta learn to deal with. When I think of how rough things are in Hazzard, in a way, it's like the Old West. And, I long to see you protected from anything bad that can happen."
"I know, Uncle Jesse. But, I'm a tough girl. I can make it on my own. Goodness knows, if I didn't have faith in that, I'd never apply to work at the Boar's Nest," she quipped. We shared a laugh together, and she added, "But one thing's for sure, Uncle Jesse. I'm glad you'll always be there to back me up. No matter what I'm wearin'."