Vernie Valenine Defines a Word for the Prof

“Omaha is a place I visited for a wedding once,” Vern said, “It was spring, and the air was sumptuous heavy with moisture and there were trees growing everywhere, and. . . .”

“Wait. Wait,” Dean put up his hand, “Hold it right there. Vernie old boy. You said “sumptuous.”

“Yes, I did,” the old liar said.

“Do you even know what the word means?” Dean was a school teacher and among his beer drinking buddies he was known as a dictionary packer and a stickler for accuracy—even in lies, stories, and sundry literary fabrications.

“Well, of course, I know what it means,” Vern said. He reared his tonsured noggin back and glared under his spectacles at the offending professor. They and four or five others were elbowed up for the evening at a table in Spike’s. Vern shrugged into himself again and continued, not to be intimidated by a fool with book learning. “The bride was as sumptuous as a meadow of ripe oats, a bit on the large size, for my taste, but sumptuous forthe all. . . .”

“And just how was this ‘large girl’ sumptuous,” Dean said. He was grinning into his mug of Montana Panther Brew.

“Well, for one thing,” Vern said, “She was about seven months past romance, if you get my drift. And looked to be pretty well equipped to begin with, if you get my drift.”

“And the groom,” Dean said his eyes wide with fake innocence, “What was sumptuous about him?”

“Listen,” Vern said, “Have you ever been to this Omaha wedding?” He was scowling under his specs again, his heavy brows magnified by the lens.

“Well, not Omaha, and not this one,” the Prof admitted.”

“Well then. . .” Vern said. He shook his shoulders again to settle himself, lifted his mug and sucked a long drink.

“Like I say, it was a sumptuous wet day with a sumptuous fullish bride and a groom looking like a wilted sunflower that had chanced on a drought.” He looked toward Dean waiting for his interruption and request for clarification. Dean shrugged and lifted his mug toward Dilly Alastead who was hustling drinks from the bar to the tables.

“I’m not saying the bride’s dad was carrying a shotgun. But its presence was pretty sumptuously felt,” Vern said.

Dean rolled his eyes but didn’t say anything.

“What,” Vern protested. “What.”

“Didn’t say anything,” Dean said.

“For your information, Mr. Smart Assiline,” Vern said, “’Sumptuous’ means—pretty much means—uncomfortably rich and over-lovely like a perfume that has been applied with a garden hose instead of a lspritzer. And that is what this spring day was like in Omaha, and this is what this smug bride was like riding her daddy’s shotgun with her baby bump and the harness of two derricks cutting into her bare shoulders to hold up her. . . .” Vern paused to think of a good word that would not offend Dilly who was dispensing another round at their table. He finally said, “. . . .cups.”

“I think you are a bit sumptuous in your cups,” Dilly said. She affectionately patted Vern’s bald old head.

Although the author recently attended his nephew’s wedding, nothing in this sumptuous lie resembles that wedding except that it occurred in Omaha. The groom was willingly at the altar, the bride was slender and lovely, and the bride’s dad was unarmed and generous.

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