Vol. 10


The Fox Stole the Show

1955; on a flight to St. Louis, Missouri, USA

It was a winter’s Friday in 1955 — in other words, the most humiliating day of Papa’s life.

My grandfather, Papa, was comfortably perched in the first row of a forty-seater jet, coming back to St. Louis after an important business meeting in Chicago. He was sitting next to a lady with a magnificent red fox stole draping from a magnificently wide neck. As Papa looked away from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch crossword puzzle that he had been absorbed in for the past half hour, this smooth Friday afternoon took a turbulent turn.

As for what Papa saw? His unzipped fly. In order to make as little a deal out of this dilemma as possible, he casually laid the newspaper on his lap and zipped his pants — a piece of cake. Afterwards, Papa returned to his crossword puzzle and settled upon “propel” for 11-across. With ten minutes left of the flight, Papa took a little snooze, without a worry in the world.

When the flight ended, Papa was startled awake to the sound of people stumbling to get their luggage. Quick as lightning, he leapt to his feet.

“Excuse me, sir! Just look what you’ve done!” exclaimed the woman with the fantastic fox stole.

Papa looked around, baffled, not processing that this woman was speaking to him. That is, until he looked down — and saw the great expense lodged into the fly of his beige slacks: the red fox stole! He immediately felt his face grow red hot and his cheeks begin to flush brilliantly.

Papa muttered an embarrassed “sorry,” and bustling about, found himself in the aisle, holding up thirty-nine passengers. Now, fur may be easy to zip in, but the process of getting fur out of a zipper is not so simple. So there Papa was, desperately trying to unzip his pants — thirty-eight pairs of eyes all staring intently at his size small men’s slacks, and one pair of eyes (the pair belonging to the magnificently wide-necked lady) piercing him with rage and hatred.

Papa yanked and yanked but could not budge the zipper more than a centimeter or so. He tried to step aside so that the people behind could exit, but found this ridiculously hard in the tiny plane. Just as Papa was getting ready to give up and offer the woman a replacement stole instead, the stole ripped loose. Papa hastily grabbed his luggage and briskly strode down the aisle without a glance back, yanking stray fox fur from his pants zipper as he went.

Belle Gage; Missouri, USA


This copyrighted story may be copied for limited classroom use or reprinted in an article about The Grannie Annie.


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