Here’s the deal: he doesn’t eat that bad at home. Sure, we have our share of treats, and it is Dairy Queen season, but we’re eating no worse than usual. Gotta admit, I was a little perplexed.
“Charlie, what’s goin’ on?” I asked.
“Beats me, Ida. I think I’m just too short for my weight.”
“You and me both, Sweetheart. So, you haven’t been eatin’ anything different?”
“Hmmm.” I wasn’t buying it. Clearly, some detective work was in order. I’m no Sherlock Holmes, but common sense told me to start down to the Busy Bee. Heck, it’s a good place for anyone to start, comin’ to Mahoosuc Mills. It’s famous for Bud’s Baked Bean Breakfast Buffet, served Thanksgivin’ through Christmas, as well as his wife Babe’s homemade cinnamon rolls with maple icin’. Oh, and her bacon biscuits with the cream cheese fillin’. To die for!
Then there’s the Big Boy Breakfast Sandwich. Picture this: steak, bacon, sausage, ham and cheese between two pieces of French Toast, smeared with maple butter. Charlie says he only orders it on special occasions, but I know for a fact that he and the boys are a little overly fond of the Big Boy. So much so, they have a nickname for it: “The Other Woman.” Why? Because “you have to sneak around to have it, and feel guilty after!” Well, I was wondering if Charlie had been spending a little too much time with “The Other Woman.”
Down I went to the Busy Bee, ordering up a bacon and cream cheese biscuit and a cup of coffee, you know, to be polite. Besides, detective work is tiring, and I needed to keep up my strength.
Small talk outta the way, I got down to business. “Babe, has Charlie been in here more than usual, lately?”
“Oh, Ida,” Babe says, smiling, “you know I can’t tell you that. What happens down to the Busy Bee, stays down to the Busy Bee.”
“I know, Babe, and I wouldn’t ask you to break your code of confidentiality unless it was a matter of life and death.” Sure I was laying’ it on thick, but I needed an answer.
“Goodness, Ida, what is it?”
“Well,” I explained, “Charlie’s weight and his blood pressure are up, and I’m getting’ a little concerned about it.”
“Gee, I’m sorry to hear that, Ida. But Charlie hasn’t been in much lately. Well, maybe every now and then for a cup of coffee. I think the last time he had a Big Boy was on his birthday, with you.”
“Weird. Well, thanks anyway, Babe!”
I had to get to work, and frankly, if I couldn’t get any answers at the Busy Bee, then the trail was cold. Babe knows about everything that’s goin’ on in Mahoosuc Mills and then some.
Next time I saw ‘em, I brought it up to the Women Who Run With the Moose, and Celeste said that, come to think of it, Bud was lookin’ a little bigger ‘round the middle.
“Junior’s been pudging out, big time,” Shirley chimed in. “Hmm, the plot thickens!”
So, a week later, just this past Thursday, I’m opening up my register down to the A&P when Babe comes in, all huffin’ and puffin’.
“Ida!” she gasps, “I think I know what’s ‘causin’ Charlie to pork out.”
I flicked off my register light. “Do tell!”
“Pumpkin (that’s our fire chief in town) has been into the Busy Bee, and he told me I can’t bring anymore donuts over to the fire house.”
“’Cause he says his volunteer firemen are getting’ too fat to fit through windows.”
Lights dawns on Marble Head. “I wondered why Charlie was spendin’ so much time down to the engine house. Figured they were just spiffin’ the fire truck up for the Fourth of July parade.”
“Oh, its all my fault. See, I’m been workin’ on this new recipe for maple glazed bacon donuts.”
“Hold on a minute, here. Did you say maple glazed bacon donuts?”
“Yup, and I needed some taste testers and Charlie and all them guys down to the fire department volunteered. It’s taken me awhile to perfect the recipe, so for weeks now I’ve been bringing a couple dozen donuts down to the fire station, and I guess the guys have been scarffin’ them down.”
“Well, who wouldn’t, Babe?”
“Anyways, thought I’d better fess up. You can stop worryin’ about Charlie. Pumpkin’s banned the donuts from the engine house, and he says he’s gonna make the guys do a little work out boot camp in the fall. You know, when the weather cools down.”
“Thanks, Babe, mystery solved.”
“Oh, here,” she says, reachin’ into her apron pocket. “I brought you one, you know, to say I’m sorry. This version’s goin’ on the menu.”
Let me just say, that maple glazed bacon donut was so good, I practically needed a cigarette after, and I don’t even smoke!
That’s it for know. Catch you on the flip side!
July 16: Book Reading, Rangeley Public Library, 6:00pm
July 20: Book Signing, Mooseville, 12:30-1:30pm, Farmington, ME
July 20: I Married an Alien!, Western Maine Storytelling Festival, 7:00pm, Farmington, ME
Comin’ Up This Summer
July 22: Book Reading, Huntington Common, 2:00pm (changed from 3:00), Kennebunk, ME
July 25: The Moose in Me, The Moose in You! Keynote Speech, DKG 2013 Northeast Regional Conference, Portland, ME
August 16: I Married an Alien!, Deertrees Theatre, 7:30pm, Harrison, ME
August 17: Islandport Authorfest, Book Signing with John Ford and Mark Ricketts, Kittery Trading Post, 11:00am-2:00pm, Kittery, ME
August 22: Ida: Woman Who Runs With the Moose!, ACT ONE Festival 2013, 2:00pm & 8:00pm, Portsmouth, NH
August 29: I Married an Alien!, ACT ONE Festival 2013, 2:00pm & 8:00pm, Portsmouth, NH
For details, please check out the schedule page on my website: http://www.idaswebsite.com/schedule