Now, this is one of those stories I heard passed down from my mother and I think it is so funny I want to share it with you. My uncle was Walter Franklin Moran and he was one of a kind, to say the least. He earned his name “Happy” early on in life because he was always smiling and jovial with everyone he met. And he especially loved the ladies. He liked to hug them and kiss them in greeting. “Uh-Oh…here comes Happy!” they would warn before skittering for cover.
In the 40’s, he moved from Arkansas to join his sister, Hattie, and her husband, Deroma, in Houston. Uncle Deroma had moved there a decade earlier from his job in the Smackover oil-fields to use his accountant’s degree with the newly formed Humble Oil Company…later named Esso.
They had a home on Oxford Street in the Houston Heights. A nice residence overlooking the glittering lights of downtown Houston. Uncle Deroma set Happy up as a mechanic with one of their service stations on N. Main Street. Unmarried, Uncle Happy was given residence in their guest room until the service station job began to “pay off.”
Now, besides his liking for the ladies, he soon developed other habits after arriving in the big city. “Carousing,” as it was called back then, was one of them. Each night after work and supper, he bathed and dressed and ‘went out’ for the evening. His return to the house grew later and later.
“Deroma, I want you to say something to Happy,” Aunt Hattie told her husband. His clothes are scattered all about his room each morning and I thought I smelled liquor on his breath at breakfast!” Uncle Deroma spoke. Uncle Happy denied. But the late night ‘carousing’ went on throughout that spring.
In July of that year, my mother, Ruth (Aunt Hattie’s and Uncle Happy’s older sister) came for a week’s visit. Aunt Hattie quickly explained her suspicious worry to Mother and the two decided that, “YES! Something must be done to save their brother’s soul from Hell.”
Now, I’ve told you what Uncle Deroma did for a living but Aunt Hattie had her own home business established as a seamstress specializing in wedding apparel. She sewed for friends and socialites, as well. Perhaps, you have seen the Christian humorist, Mark Lowry, in person or on T.V. His mother, Beverly, was Aunt Hattie’s daughter Shirley’s best friend from church. Aunt Hattie designed and made her dress and head dress/veil and those for all her attendants. This is just a tidbit thrown in!
Well, one night just before Mother was scheduled to return to Arkansas, she and her sis-ter were sitting after supper and trying to think of anything that might bring their wayward brother to his senses. I do not know which of them came up with “the plan”–Mother didn’t say–but this was it…
After Uncle Happy left that night, they took one of Aunt Hattie’s nude mannequins and placed it in his guest room bed. They knew he always slept on the right side by the open window to bring relief from Houston’s humid heat. There on the left side of the bed, they placed the man-nequin and Aunt Hattie added a blonde wig to her head. They pulled up the sheet to cover the breasts and left the room, laughing.
They tried to stay awake until he came in, but he was very late that night and they had to go to bed…
Morning came and both women were in the kitchen by 6:30 having coffee and wondering what was going on in the guest room down the hall.
After a while, they heard the loudest scream of an expletive beginning with the letter “S” along with a crashing sound. Rushing down the hall, they saw the still-partially covered blonde mannequin first and then noted the huge hole in the bedroom window screen. Rushing over, they saw Uncle Happy thrashing around on the ground, bleary-eyed and cursing.
They DID go to his rescue (as soon as Aunt Hattie removed the mannequin) and helped him inside the house to the kitchen and some strong, hot coffee.
“What happened, Happy?” Mother asked innocently.
“I .d.d.don’t know…have you been in my room?”
“No…but Hattie started down the hall and said she thought she saw a naked blonde wom-an run out the door and down the street.”
He blanched. “Call the station and tell them I’ll be late coming in.”
Containing their laughter, they did. Uncle Happy stayed in bed ALONE all day. Uncle Deroma repaired the window screen. And guess what? Happy’s carousing and drinking stopped that very day!
Brenda Miles is an award-winning columnist and author living in Hot Springs Village. She responds to all comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.