Last week while we were eatin’ breakfast Minnie was flippin’ through the paper and seen an ad for a meat darts tournament somewheres.
I thought Rosie was gonna choke on her cornflakes.
You went to darts together? Like the two of yis?
Yes, dear, I said. I know it’s hard for ya to believe since your poor parents are now a hundred years old, but a loooong time ago, before the pitter-patter of little feet, I was a hot young stud with slicked back hair and your mother was a saucy little brunette with more curves than the East Bay highway. And back in them days, before cell phones and the internet and everything else, what people did was, if a boy liked a girl he didn’t text her a picture of his parts – he asked if she wanted to go out together. Like, in person.
Your father came over and knocked on the door and when I answered it, he said – Ya got any use for a few steaks or a slab of deer meat? Which I guess was his way of askin’ if I wanted to go to this mixed meat darts tournament with him, Minnie said.
So we went, I said, and it turned out this fella we knew named Dougie wanted to propose to his girlfriend and I guess he thought to himself – well, there’s nothin’ more romantic than a meat darts mixed tournament.
So how did he do it? Rosie asked. Did he get down on one knee, like in the movies?
Ohhhh no, Minnie said. This fella had these special flights made up for his darts that had “Will you marry me?” written on them. So, his big plan was, he’d shoot his darts and then ask the girl to go get them.
That’s right, I said. The first couple of times she went and got them for him, but she didn’t look at the darts. But he asked again, and she started to get miffed. Get your own darts, she said. What am I, your personal slave? She got right wild at him and stormed off and everything. Poor Dougie didn’t know what to do – and the more he thought about it, the more he thought maybe she saw what the darts said but she didn’t want to say yes. So that just drove him to drink, and they kept playin’ darts.
Anyways, after havin’ quite a few, it got so Dougie was a bit wobbly gettin’ his darts, and he’s basically cryin’ into his beer, thinkin’ he bombed on the proposal. Anyway, his girlfriend sees him all a mess and comes over to try to help him get it together. What’s wrong with you? she said, sorta shakin’ his shoulders, which made Dougie drop his darts.
And when she picked them up, that’s when she finally seen the flights that said “Will you marry me?” on them, Minnie said. And she got so excited, she screamed YES! and flung her hands in the air and sent the darts flyin’.
And that, I said, rollin’ up my sleeve, is how I got this scar right here on my wrist. Another inch or two and it would have been in an artery, and then it’s lights-out for ol’ Billy. Imagine that obituary now? “stabbed as a result of a marriage proposal at a meat darts tournament”.
Rosie and Minnie were howlin’ laughin’ and that’s when Rosie came out with somethin’ that caught us off guard.
How did you propose to Ma? she said.
Me and Minnie looked at each other for a second and then at the same time, she blurted out “At the park” while I blurted out “At the beach”.
Or the beach, I guess that’s what I meant, I said, but Rosie knew somethin’ fishy was goin’ on.
Hmmm, she said. What was it like?
Well, Minnie said, it was a beautiful sunny day and we went for a walk and your father got down on one knee and took out the ring.
Happiest night of my life! I said.
Wait a minute, Rosie said. If it was a beautiful sunny day, how was it the happiest “night” of your life? What’s goin’ on here?
I looked at Minnie again, but she couldn’t keep a straight face. She had her hands coverin’ her mouth tryin’ not to laugh.
But Rosie’s one sharp cookie, I tell ya. She knew there was somethin’ goin’ on, and that just made her more determined to figure it out.
Ahhh, I think I can guess what it is, she said. Since you’re white as a sheet and she’s red as a beet, and you’re both tellin’ lies, it must be somethin’ bad. So what could it be, I think to myself. What would they not want to talk to me about? And there’s really only one obvious possibility. Do you want to tell me what it actually was, or do you just want to tell me?
All you need to know is, it was just beautiful, Minnie said, and Rosie tilted her head in a way that meant – You don’t really think you’re gonna get away with that for an answer, do ya?
Well, I said, you’re old enough to know the truth. I took your mother parkin’ down the old airport road and after a half hour of steamin’ up the windows I told her there was kleenex in the dash, but when she opened it, the ring was there and I asked her on the spot.
Billy! Minnie said, mortified.
Gross, Rosie said. I think I like the meat darts story better.