The Observer went back to the hometown on Memorial Day to put some flowers on some graves, as we do every year. It’s little enough in the way of remembrance. No relatives of the deceased still live in the town. The Observer’s annual flowers are the only ones those graves get.

Or so it was until a few years ago, when The Observer discovered that someone else had begun leaving flowers at the marker of one of our honorees, an Air Force captain lost in Vietnam in 1966. (And it is a marker only, not a grave. The remains never got back from Vietnam.)

The mysterious flowers were there again on The Observer’s latest visit. Who could it be, we wondered. Some 70-year-old former high school girlfriend perhaps? Maybe it’s some patriotic person who simply appreciates what the captain and others did. There are many graves of veterans in the cemetery, including the captain’s father, and on Memorial Day they’re all decorated with little American flags, probably put out by the American Legion or some similar group. But the other veterans’ graves, at least the ones nearby, don’t have flowers on them. The captain’s tombstone may be the only one in the cemetery that honors someone who died in combat. Maybe that’s the reason for the mysterious flowers.

Whatever it is, The Observer is appreciative.

Overheard in a liquor store:

CUSTOMER (an edgy young man): I’m looking for a wine called Pussycat.

CLERK: I don’t think we have any of that. I never heard of it.

CUSTOMER: I’ll just look around. I was told you had it. It’s a fine wine.

CLERK: Look around if you want to. I never heard of it.

CUSTOMER: But this is Broadway, right?

CLERK: No sir, this is Kavanaugh.

CUSTOMER: But it is North Little Rock?

CLERK: No sir, this is west Little Rock.

Undeterred, the customer was still looking for his Pussycat when The Observer left the store.

Marie Crawford of Central Arkansas Water called The Observer to object to last week’s kvetching that soon we won’t be able to afford even our water bills. It’s not water, Crawford said, but sewer service charges that are high and getting higher. She wanted readers to make the distinction. She’s right. Sewer costs more than water, and it’s going to cost more over the next several years, to pay for court-ordered improvements and to build a new sewer plant. The Observer is guilty of calling the utility bill the water bill. So drink up.

The Observer’s spouse was worried all weekend — and a long weekend it was, since it was the Memorial Day weekend — that we’d left the check to the Internal Revenue Service out of the envelope when we mailed in our tax return.

As it turns out, one can actually call the IRS and talk to a person about such a problem. And as it turns out, we did include a check, and, in fact, it was for too much. We will get a refund.

Our spouse was doubly relieved. The check was in, and, spouse said, “The lady on the phone wasn’t in India.”

A friend of The Observer has returned from a week at Daytona Beach, where she stayed with her aunt, who was attending a romance novel writers’ convention.

The scene sounded surreal — like Federico Fellini meets Larry David. Nearly all of the writers were middle-age women or older. A group of male models (presumably Fabio look-alikes) were hired to hang around the convention. The nightly parties included a costumed affair to which the women wore their favorite period outfits. Presumably there were plenty of bodices for the ripping. The Observer’s friend said there was plenty of flirting going on, and who knows what else.

The Observer initially thought this was pretty amusing. Then we got to thinking. Why are women the only ones interested in reading and writing romance novels? Are women stimulated by words in the same way men are stimulated by visuals? Does that make romance novels the equivalent of pornography? If so, what if a convention of male pornographers hired a bunch of female models and had a fantasy dress-up party? Wouldn’t we say that was sick, rather than amusing?

Conclusion: Romance novel writers are sex-crazed perverts. Glad we could clear that up for you.



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