To read part one click here.
The First Grandson.
Who knew dowdy Marjory would be the first to give Ole Cripple Chester a grandson? In 1984 Marjory fell in love with an astoundingly dull ophthalmologist, Dr. Jacob Weisberg, and the two of them married at the big gazebo in Peek’s Park. The mother of the bride was heard whispering, “That’s an awfully terrible waste of a perfectly fine dinner glass, but they have their customs, I suppose.”
Then in 1986, Mrs. Marjory Chester Weisberg gave birth to a six pound baby boy. It was rumored she didn’t cry a peep during the delivery. Marjory simply sighed and it slid right out of her.
So very dull.
All of Cedartown waited for the news that the fifteenth Chester DuBois Chester (albeit Weisberg) had been born. Fittingly, ornery ole Cripple Chester refused to “waste” his name on his dullest daughter’s infant son. He had his hopes for a second grandson riding firmly on Caitlyn’s perky bosom and her quarterback boyfriend's vigorous handshake.
Chester DuBois Chester’s reservations were indeed prudent. Young Jacob DuBois Weisberg proved himself to be the dullest young man ever born in Polk County, Georgia, ever.
Georgia rouged herself up and stood center stage in the International spotlight. The 1996 Olympic Games had finally made their way to Atlanta. Remarked Ole Cripple Chester, repeatedly, “Last time a damned Yankee carried a torch into Atlanta, ’twas my great, great, great grandpappy who shot him dead. Right ‘tween the eyes!”
The excitement of the Olympic Games set pulses and fevers racing across Cedartown.
Miss Cookie was inspired to do something about her loneliness. At forty-eight, she got herself an America Online account and found an internet boyfriend in one of those “big girl chatrooms". She visited him in Ohio a few weeks later. He even flew her out in an economy-business seat. It was her first time on an airplane. She had such a wonderful time. Cookie was in love.
At seventeen, Caitlyn the cheerleader and Bryan the quarterback officially started going steady and swore vows of virginity at First Methodist Church. Caitlyn was in love.
Both sisters were pregnant within a month.
Both sisters were expecting baby boys. Both sisters’ men, upon hearing their fatherly obligations, fled to parts unknown. Both due dates were guessed to be within days of one another, and both baby boys would be taking the Chester surname.
Ole Cripple Chester acted like he won himself a gold medal.
Not only was there a baby boy to take his name, and only his name, but there’d be a spare baby incase something went awry. This was the happiest he’d ever been in his pissy, old life.
But which grandson would get the honor?
Unbeknownst to the family, and Cedartown, a bitter sibling rivalry had developed between the elder and youngest daughters. Cookie and Caitlyn both lived with mom and dad. Cookie more so to help the aging Mrs. Bethanny and Caitlyn cause she was still in high school. Three decades separated the single, expectant mothers, yet you’d never guess it the way they fought over absolutely everything.
Caitlyn dropped out of her senior year at Cedartown High School. Cookie turned over Broadway Hair management duties to her best friend Mark. (As a kid, I loved getting my hair cut by Mark. We shared a peculiar fellowship as he gossiped about the goings-on of Cedartown’s society ladies.)
Relations between the sisters were bad enough when they had day-to-day obligations to occupy their attention. Now, with nothing to do but sit and look at each other's swelling bellies, the snippy comments became full on maternal mayhem. Accusations of deceit and jealousy were tossed. Caitlyn blistered Cookie for trying to ruin her baby’s chance at having the family name. Cookie fought right back. She was eldest; her baby deserved the prestigious family name. Caitlyn countered at least she wouldn’t be in a nursing home by the time her baby made it to high school. Cookie countered at least her baby would graduate high school!
The ruckus would quiet down come time for “All My Children”, but soon as those credits rolled, it was back to fighting. Something had to be done. A decision had to be made as to which grandson was going to be named Chester DuBois Chester the Fifteenth.
Who knew mousy Marjory would be the one to set things straight? It happened while the three sisters were on an emergency snack run to Winn-Dixie. Cookie had a hankering for ice-cream sandwiches lined with dill pickle slices. Caitlyn wanted Nutter-Butters and Mellow Yellow. Both sisters were eight months pregnant and neither was allowed to drive. They called Marjory for help.
Right there in the parking lot, during the middle of a heated argument over which sister’s sonogram was the cutest, Marjory freaked out, and I mean she freaked the fuck out.
“Will you both, will you both please be quiet? Please?”
You have to remember that for Marjory, this was indeed a major freak out. Ten year old Jacob Weisberg sat next to his aunt, eight years his senior, in the backseat, quietly staring at his knees the whole time.
Marjory brought the car to a soft idle in the deserted parking lot. The pregnant sisters looked at her agape. Marjory was tired of hearing them fight. They had to consider how upsetting it must be for the little babies in their tummies. She suggested they settle the debate once and for all at the WGAA Radio Macarena-thon 1996.
It was by far the most exciting notion Marjory Chester had ever come up with.
Sweeping the Nation!
In 1996, Cedartown was snared in the lethal grip of two national sensations. The first being the Olympics, as mentioned, and the second being the Macarena. The two seemed rather synergistic. No sporting event, be it a Braves’ game or horeshoes, was complete without stadiums of obese Southerners following the Hispanic-lite dance addiction of Los del Rio. Who didn’t love the Macarena in 1996?
Marjory’s solution to determine which would-be mother’s son would become Chester DuBois Chester the Fifteenth was a simple one: a Macarena dance-off was being organized for that Saturday night by the local public radio station. WGAA planned on playing the infectious tune nonstop over the air and the entire town was asked to show up and do the Macarena in the old farm lot near the Big Cedar Creek. Someone said a representative from the Guinness Book of World Records would be there to count the dancers. Cedartown history was in the making.
Chester family history was in the making too. The sisters agreed. They’d Macarena and whichever sister was last dancing would earn the right to name her son Chester DuBois Chester.
Immediately, additional rules and clauses were tossed onto the table. Caitlyn was an unfair advantage because she was younger. Caitlyn countered that her big sister was fatter, so had more energy to burn. Cookie offered to break Caitlyn’s leg. Caitlyn said she’d still win the contest. The arguing lasted well past bedtime that Friday night and continued the next morning as the sisters fought over who would wear what to the big dance. Apparently both of them wearing a tangerine maternity top with purple Capri pants constituted a fashion no-no.
Practically all of Cedartown showed up for that 1996 Macarena-thon. Only a third of them were there to dance. The rest arrived to see the expectant sisters Chester dance and brawl.
And dance they did. And brawl they did too.
to be continued...