Rated: E · Short Story · Contest Entry · #1996626
True story for Comedy story contest 450 words
|I decided to join the Grange because as private land owners we were about to be embroiled in a county wide issue on property rights. I was in my early forties, and with all the kids needing me less, I had become involved with a policy change on the next ballot. I was aware that the Grange was established in the 19th century to protect farmers and ranchers from the land grab by the railroad companies. When they first met, they kept spies out by initiating a secret handshake and password. Though the handshake was not as foolproof, the ever-changing password was. |
Usually the password was a virtue; honesty, fidelity, charity, and such. The year I joined it was fraternity, but I did not know that yet. I was asked by my Grange group to attend a larger assembly at another Grange. I found the building at long last, nervous I would be late. I knew there was some secrecy to the event, though not for any real political reasons, just part of the ceremony. When I got to the door, I was met by an elderly man who ushered me into the waiting hall where he bent over further than his ancient posture was already bent. I think his title was “Key Master”. He turned his cheek to me and seemed to be waiting.
I don’t know why I did what I did exactly, except the position of his cheek seemed to indicate it. So, I kissed him. He stood up with delightful surprise and told the next two gentlemen who were the “Gatekeepers”, “She’s in."
The doors opened and inside the bleachers were filled with groups talking quietly among themselves. I did not see my people, so I just took a seat towards the front, knowing they would find me and direct me to where they were sitting. I looked around the room which had murals of farm life in a sequence of seasons on the four walls.
As I waited, a buzz of conversation increased with a crescendo of laughter coming from the corner by the doors from which I had entered. Finally after several minutes, my neighbors and fellow Grangers found me all atwitter with big smiles.
“Oh man are you the talk of the meeting!” The leader of my group stepped forward to inform me.
I stared unknowingly, wishing for the reason I should be a conversation item in a room of people dressed like pioneers with a mean age of around 75. There was plenty of fodder for interesting questions from where I sat, but I was the subject?
My thoughts were interrupted by my Grange Master’s chuckle as he told me, “We forgot to tell you the password, but I guess the kiss you planted on old Will’s cheek did the trick. He said you were welcome anytime!”