Chapter 7

When the camera focused again, the stage was slightly rearranged. Ted was standing between the MC and a willowy model who was rubbing the sleeve of a full length fur coat against his cheek. ”You had to go and tell me about the prize, didn’t you?” he asked the MC, who nodded.

“The audience wanted to know.  What can I say?” The model left the stage and the MC turned to Ted. A drum roll sounded. “Now, for your final question. Take a big breath, Ted, and try to relax.”

Ted looked as though he gulped in a large breath. and then let it out in one big burst of air.

The speaker laughed, “Not that way. Take one deep breath and let it out very slowly.” It was obvious he was stalling for time, “Here is your three part question, Ted. We all know and love the work of Fred Astaire. Ted, the question is to name his leading ladies in the following films.

  1. Daddy Long Legs
  2. The Barkleys of Broadway
  3. Easter Parade. You will have 15 seconds for each, in any order.”

It was quiet through the theater. Ted looked as though he was deep in thought. Jenny clenched her fists and the kids screamed in the kitchen.

Carol whispered to Jenny, “How on earth did he learn so much about movies?”

Emma sniffed and answered in a loud voice, “That’s all he ever did, hang out in the movies. As soon as he saved the price of admission, he was off to the show. Now he stays up half the night and watches the old ones on TV.”

The music stopped and they turned their attention to Ted, who appeared worried.
The MC ticked them off on his fingers.” Daddy Long Legs.”

“I’d like to come back to that one.”

“All right, number 2, The Barkleys of Broadway,”

“That was. Ginger Rodgers.”

“Number 3, Easter Parade.”

“Judy Garland,” Ted was firm in his answer.

“And now, I must have the answer for number 1, Daddy Long Legs.”

“This is strictly a guess. It’s the one name that comes to mind. I think that was Leslie Caron.”

Lights flashed, the MC threw his cards in the air and the audience went wild. Ted looked weak, He ran his fingers under the edge of his collar and a grin creased his face.

“Well, well. For a swinging bachelor, what are you going to do with all those prizes, a full length fur coat, sable none the less?”

“I’ve thought about it. I’m going to send my mother the grandmothers clock.”

Emma groaned, “What the hell am I supposed do with a big clock in a two room apartment? I don’t even like them.”

Ted continued,  “As for the trip, camera  and gown, I won’t have any trouble using them. I have a girlfriend who would look great in the dress.  I’m going  to give the fur coat to my sister in Pennsylvania. I hope she’s watching. It’s all yours, sis.” He threw a kiss, and the camera cut to the commercials.

Everyone in the living room screamed at that final declaration. The children ran in from the kitchen. Her friends patted her back, Jenny couldn’t speak. She looked for Jim, standing in the dining room. He was silent.

Pete leaned over and whispered something in her ear. She sat back with a sly grin on her face and tried to imagine what she would do with a full length Russian sable coat.