Huddling closer, Margaret’s granddaughters held their breath, afraid they might miss their beloved grandmother’s last words. In her last instant of lucidity, Margaret peeped open her watery eyes and smiled at both the girls. “Adrian honey, be a dear and bring your grandmother a chocolate malt,” she said to the eldest. Adrian, a stunning girl with auburn hair and sun-kissed skin, gave her grandmother a confused look before nodding and hurrying out of the room in search of this final request.
Looking up at her remaining granddaughter, Margaret smiled and reached for the girl’s hand. Hazel, a shy girl of about seventeen, did not inherit her parent’s good looks, like Adrian had; instead she was a bit of a lumpy girl with nondescript features and limp brown locks. Her lack in beauty had immediately endeared her to the family matriarch, who herself was by no means a beautiful woman- despite her almost legendary history as one of the most sought after women of her time. “Hazel my love, lean a bit closer, your grandmother has a secret she wants only you to hear,” Margaret whispered, pulling from her last reserve of strength.
“What is it grandmother?” Hazel asked timidly. In all her time with her grandmother she had never known her to be secretive. Margaret closed her eyes for a moment and thought. A lifetime of experiences came flooding into her mind. And the men! From the time she turned eighteen, Margaret knew she would never be a beautiful girl, and had come to terms with the reality than she may never find a husband. Less than eleven months later, all that had changed and for the next decade and a half, Margaret Duncan would be wooed, courted, and proposed to by almost 800 men, including a handful of celebrities, politicians and even a future president of the United States. She had turned them all down; after she had a bit of fun of course, and it wasn’t until she met the girl’s grandfather did she settle down. Her undeniable allure was one of the biggest mysteries of the age, no one could understand how the plain girl with the unkempt hair and out-of-fashion clothes was able to steal the hearts of so many men. “Grandmother?” Hazel’s frightened voice brought Margaret out of her reverie.
“I’m sorry dear, I was just thinking,” Margaret said and she squnched her granddaughter’s hand weakly. “I want to tell you the secret, my secret, the one no one else knows,” the older woman said quietly. Hazel knew what secret she was referring to, and couldn’t help but gasp in surprise. “But grandmother, why tell me?” the girl asked, obviously worried she was somehow undeserving. “Was she really going to learn her grandmother’s secret? People had offered millions, had spied, lied and pleaded to learn Margaret Duncan’s secret, and yet, the woman had kept her lips shut. And now, she was going to tell me? Am I really the right person for such a huge secret, something that women have been seeking since Eve dropped the ball and ate the apple- how to attract (and keep) a man,” Hazel’s mind was spinning.
“Apple pie,” Margaret said with a calm dignity.
“Grandmother?” Hazel was sure she had just heard her grandmother say ‘apple pie’, which didn’t make any sense.
“The secret is apple pie,” Margaret whispered again, a gleam in her eye. “Every week, I would make a homemade apple pie. After it cooled, I would cut a slice and with two fingers would just dab a little right here,” indicating the hollow behind both ears, “and then I’d take a bit more and swipe it right through my hair before styling it for the day,” Margaret chuckled and nestled deeper into her pillows. “Oh, don’t look at me like that. I know how it sounds, and your grandmother is not crazy. When I was just a little older than you are now, I would go with my father to his VW lodge. One Thanksgiving, I was serving he and some of his friends some apple pie and by accident I must have gotten some on my neck and in my hair (I was always a bit clumsy). Well, when those men got a whiff of me, they started blushing and complimenting me and then as the night went on a few of the bolder men made advances. I knew I had stumbled onto something huge, and until I met your grandfather, I never left the house without a dab of apple pie somewhere on my person,” Margaret was exhausted from speaking at such length, but somehow felt lighter now that her secret was no longer hers alone. Looking at Hazel again, she was immediately worried that perhaps her granddaughter still did not believe her.
Hazel stared at her grandmother, deep in thought, “Could it really be as simple as apple pie?”
“Hey you two, what are you talking about?” Adrian bounced into the room, holding what hazel assumed was a chocolate malt for their grandmother.
Margaret flashed a worried look at Hazel who returned her look before giving her grandmother a small wink. “Oh we’re just chatting, Adrian. You know what? Why don’t you two talk for a while, I just got the strangest urge to go home and bake a pie,” Hazel said and giving her grandmother a hug and left the room.
The Not So Fantastic Reality:
OK, sorry this one is up a bit late. Decided to go on set with Andy tonight and was there into the wee hours of the night. Thanks for the patience!
The above story was inspired by the following tidbits I encountered today:
ONE: Traveling about an hour to the middle of Nowheresville, Florida I decided to keep Andy company tonight on the set of his current movie. The night was kind of a slow one for the props department, so the majority of my evening was spent fending of the swarm of mosquitos that seemed to appear out of nowhere and staying warm on what turned out to be a very cold night (we’re talking down in the high 40’s people!). In between all of that funness, I swiped a bowl of still-warm apple pie from craft services (aka the food guys) and somehow managed to get the sticky stuff all over me. I mean, it was in my hair, on my forehead, all over my hands and with no running water trying to get it off was basically impossible. I joked that it was going to be my new go-to hair gel, since my hair was stiff as a board (the image of Cameron Diaz in Something About Mary ran through my head), and maybe I’d start hawking the stuff as a perfume, after all, what guy doesn’t like a girl to smell liked baked goods, am I right? Oh, the silliness.
Love & Squirrels.