Juliet Then and Now

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

A very unusual Monday.

Sebastian is new to the town of Hawkins.  I thought I would invite him to go with me to the senior center for the day.

Little did I know the invitation would start a chain of events that left me wondering about a lot of things, my sanity was just the start.  Sebastian had mentioned he liked playing dominoes.  There is an entire group of ole goats who love to sit around, talk about what they used to be, and play dominoes.  I know because George, my previous neighbor used to invite them over to his house when the center was closed until everyone could get vaccinated.

  The two friends he had were also from New York, so I was not sure what to expect between Sebastian and these two particular Yankees.  They are a couple of odd fellas to my way of thinking but what do I know. Maybe in New York, the squirrels do run up your pants leg… from the inside?  That is what they were afraid of when they were in my house.  Oscar sent them into pulling their socks over the cuff of their pants.  I tried to reassure the men that in Texas our squirrels look for nuts in the yard, but they were sure there might be a mix-up.  They really did think that.  Surprised me for sure.  Tell you for sure I have no desire to ever go to New York.  Poor dears.

Anyway, when we got to the senior center Sebastian got in on a new domino game that was starting, and I proceeded to go visit a few people.  I like to read to those who have been shut in and to just visit with them.

I was barely into a visit with three ladies who were talking about the usual grandkids and such.  Four… no five men came running over to our table.  Two of the ladies started the batting the eye routine.  I wanted so bad to straighten the false eyelashes on one of them.  It was very crooked and made it look like she had a black eye she was hiding.  Her lipstick was on her teeth... I guess that is okay too.  At least she had her teeth in.

“Sebastian was telling us about your Funny Farm.  Do you think we could all go out there for the day?  We could get one of the people here to drive the bus that takes us all to the grocery store.  It would get us out of here for a while and give us some fun.  How about it?”

Sebastian, walked up about that time with a grin on his face.  “Honest, Jane, I was telling them about you picking up those miniature donkeys, and then I got to tell them about Tarzan, Hamstring, and of course Loverboy.  I think this afternoon you are expecting the first three donkeys to be delivered.”

  “Let us help?  Please.  The ladies were squealing now.  All were up and ready to go tackle the management here at the center for transportation.  “If they can’t take you-al I will get some help getting you there.  Just let them know Sebastian is on the job.”

I glanced a Sebastian as he took charge.  Just like they did the day Becky went missing.  I guess his Navy Seal training just kicks in whenever he needs it to.  I wonder if any of these ladies realize his hobby is raising roses?  Nah!  They would not believe it.  I threw my hands up as if I had just given up.  The thought of IGiveUp came to mind.  I guess he is still on the job.  Since we rescued Becky that day, Sebastian has helped complete the rainbow, butterfly, and dragonfly garden out at the pond.  It is a magical place just to sit and think about what this blue-eyed, bearded, rose gardener was doing in my life right now.  I guess I will just see what ‘blooms’… I made myself blush and laugh.  Sebastian caught my eye and gave me his pretty grin.  “So, it is a go?”

“Yes, let me know how many are coming and we will make a day of it.  Heck.  This is the only Monday we are going to have this week.  Let us make it a good one.”

The ladies started squealing and clapping their hands. “Oh, my lord.  What have you gotten me into?  I want liability waivers signed by all you ole goats and you nanny goats too.  I ain’t goin’ to get sued if you fall in the pond or if Loverboy spits on you.”

Sebastian, you arrange for the transportation.  I will head out to the farm to get things ready.  I turned to get up and a funny little man, hat in hand, stepped in front of me. 

  “Jane, let me go with you to the farm.  I would so enjoy it.  My late wife and I had a wonderful little farm up in Colorado.  We raised flowers for the flower markets everywhere.  She loved the baby’s breath.  Juliet always wore it in her hair.  She had the most beautiful silver hair.  I just know I could help you get things ready.  My Juliet loved donkeys; we even had a couple of those little ones.  She was from the Sardinia area.  You know that is where the miniature donkeys are native to.  I bet you did not know they are naturally three feet (or under) from the shoulder.  They are not bred down, it is natural…. I”

“Before you go any further.  If you know miniature donkeys, you are welcome to come with me now.  What is your name?”

“They call me Shakespeare around here, but my given name is Ramon or Romeo.”  I rolled my eyes.  Just what I need at the Funny Farm.  I watched this funny little man. He was shy and soft-spoken.  He had a chain around his neck with a pendant on it.  He had glanced at it several times before he spoke to me.  I figured it must have a picture of Juliet in it.  There was also a tiny tape player in his pocket.  That had me curious. 

I stopped at the house and called the farm.  The donkeys were indeed scheduled to arrive later today.  Preparations were being made in the barn for their housing.  Oscar and the dogs, thank goodness we're already there.  I knew I would be going back out Monday so just left them there last night.

Shakespeare and I are headed out to the farm.  I guess this is as good a time as any to ask about the tape recorder.

“You want to listen to some music?  What do you want me to call you?  Shakespeare or Romeo?”  I had to chuckle.  His snow-white hair did not conger up an image of someone named Romeo.  He did have a nice beard, but it was silver and very curly.  He wore a beret hat.  Bright red hat on a shy man… His eyes were sad though and I was sorry about that.

“Jane, refer to me as Romeo, please.  I am not highbrow enough to be Shakespeare even though I do like to recite his stories. I have the entire collection.”  He once again glanced at his pendent.  Closed the claps and then pulled out the tape recorder.

“What is that.  That is the recording of my sweet Juliet talking to the miniature donkey we had in Colorado.  I bet you did not know that donkeys can make sounds when they breathe in and when they breathe out.  That is why they do the hee-haw.  Horses can’t do it or zebras either.  Only donkeys.  Each one has a distinct voice though.  Just listen to my Juliet talking to the baby.”  He turned on the recorder and played it.  Juliet had a wonderfully soft voice, but she and the donkey were doing a duet together with the hee-haw sound.  It was fun to listen to and it seemed to bring him great comfort.

We listen to Juliet sing her duet with the donkey several times before reaching the farm.  I had decided to do a buffet and let everyone just snack on whatever they wanted throughout the day.  If they had dietary restrictions, they knew what they were.  Barbra had pulled enough rabbit food out of the garden to accommodate anyone.  We had several salads; veggie medley-type dishes and I think four pasta dishes.  Hot dogs, hamburgers, and one spiral sliced ham are all set up.  I think Becky was even able to make a mess of potatoes as well.  We had em’ fried, mashed, sliced, and diced in butter, and some in cheese.  We even had brown gravy for anything we had not thought of that might need it.  The long bread loaves had been sliced diagonally and slathered with garlic butter then toasted on the grill.  Yum.  I could hardly wait.  Bowls of different fruit also adorn one end.  Pineapple, peaches, pears, and of course the apple pears were supplied by George and Carol.


Even if they don’t eat it all we have enough food set up to take care of anyone.  I felt good about that.

Romeo got out of the car.  The goats started butting him, Loverboy spits on him first thing.  Oscar was on the fence post waving at everyone.  Hamstring was trying to untie “loafers” again.  He was surprised, to say the least.

Tarzan flew over and landed on my arm. He looked at our guest with his one eye, up and down thing, then let out a siren sound.  Romeo threw up his arms, palms-up, and said, “Take me to your leader.”  We both laughed. 

When we entered the house, we got a surprise I was not expecting.  There in the living room.  Yes, I said the living room…. Three miniature donkeys were standing.  One had a baby’s breath around its head and had a silvery color.  She had big brown eyes and turned her head just as Romeo came into the room.  The duet started.  Barbra, Becky, and Betty stood there.  I thought it was the tape playing and was about to explain it to the girls.  “This is Romeo.  He and his wife used to have a couple of miniature donkeys.  He has his wife recorded…

“Jane, I don’t have the recorder on.  Juliet.  Is that you?"  Romeo had reached her and had his arms around her neck.  He was holding her head and stroking the ribbons and baby’s breath flowers.

“This is Juliet.  She has come back to me.  I have missed you so much.  Please, darling walk with me.”  The donkey followed Romeo out onto the porch.

I sat down unable to speak.  What do you say to a man who thinks his wife has come back as a miniature donkey?  “Hee-haw?  Has his grief brought on dementia?  I am in unchartered territory here.  I guess no one is being harmed and he seems to be overwhelmed.  Barbra, where did that donkey come from?”

“Let me get the paperwork.”  She picked up the papers for the little donkey.  I read as follows:  Name Juliet.  Originally from a farm in Colorado that was sold when one of the owners passed away.  I felt the goosebumps come up on my arm.

“What do I do now?”

Everyone is a bit taken back.  “Let’s see what unfolds.”  Romeo and Juliet spent the afternoon helping us get things ready.  She was such a sweet donkey.  She helped the other two donkeys get acclimated to the farm.  I think I overheard Romeo speaking Italian to Juliet.  She answered with the now-familiar hee-haw that was her voice inflections.  It was exactly like the recording or maybe I just imagined it was.  The fact that she is the same donkey he must have given up when he sold his farm is why all seems familiar to them both.  I had heard from one of the people at the senior center he had been grieving her death for two years.  Maybe this will help him find at least some comfort and peace.  Oh, wow.  I don't think the man is having dementia, I think he is finding a way to pull out of it. 

We had a wonderful day.  Two more romances popped up while the group made their way to the rainbow and butterfly pond.  No one fell in the pond today.  That alone made me happy.  I did take notice that someone had put a sign up that simply said, "If you fall in the pond, stand up."  I had to laugh, what a simple solution.

But watching these people made me realize that all they wanted was to have a little bit of a social life again.  This little farm could provide that.  Yes, the miniature donkeys are necessary for the little people that will be going to school here.  But more importantly.  I checked it out.  The miniature donkeys are therapy animals for several groups, including senior citizens.  I chatted with the management at the center to make The Funny Farm one of their outing spots.  There would be a fee to pay for food, etc.  That should help the budget a bit.  The school would not be funded for another year so it was coming at a good time.

“I need to get the vet out here to check out our new Funny Farm residents.  I am not sure when he can come out, but I guess we gotta get the ball rolling on that.”

“Jane, say no more.  I am a vet, retired, but a vet.  Is there enough room and space for me to put a small mobile home on the property?”

Before I could answer, George and Carol, answered for me.  “We have a cabin on the Northeast end of our property you can use as an office.  You can live there as well and take care of our farm animals here at the Funny Farm.”

“Jane, if it is okay with you, I would like to call my son.  He has a practice in Houston, Texas and he has been looking for an opportunity for both of us to work together again.  He and his wife were my caregivers before I went to the senior center.  I only did that because I did not want to be that close to the weather down there.”

“I am getting older, and it would be foolish for me to try and live alone again.  Besides, I must be here to take care of my Juliet.”  The man was holding that funny little hat in his hand.  His arm was draped around Juliet’s back as he spoke.  She slowly walked over to me.  She nuzzled her head on my shoulder.  Then she started in…. Hee-haw…. Tarzan chimed in too.  I started laughing.

“Jane, you said you wanted to see what would unfold.  It looks like the whole blooming outfit is part of the Funny Farm going forward.”  Sebastian had pinpointed it.  I was looking at the picture of Juliet then and scratched her behind the ear… and looking at her now.  My mind says no.  My heart says… maybe.  Why not just accept the blessings that have unfolded and say thank you, Father.  It makes no difference how many God Winks it took to move everything into place to bring about multiple blessings for all of us this Monday.  The blessings were real.  Again, Thank you, Dear Father.

Submitted: September 27, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Texasjane. All rights reserved.

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