Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Frontier Doctor

© Guyspencer 2015

Frontier Doctor

In 1861, Samuel Stephens was a lonely young man. A city boy and a recent orphan, he was alone in the world. However his response to his loneliness was at least helpful, he buried himself in his studies at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

The medical schools of the day stressed Latin, which left their graduates able to fluently describe their patient's symptoms in a dead language, but little able to cure them. Of more practical use was Sam's hands-on experience in Philadelphia's hospitals, where he did everything from setting broken bones to delivering babies.

Only five years earlier, Sam's parents had died of a fever, leaving the teenager alone in the world and too young to run his father's business. Sam's family doctor convinced the boy to sell his family home and business to pay for his education. To the doctor's surprise, Sam chose medical school.

Sam did well in medical school, but his savings barely saw him through school. So the handsome man in his early twenties did what many medical school graduates do, he perused the advertisements in the medical journals of the day looking for a job.

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Shortly before Sam's graduation, a doctor in a small town in Texas became ill. Perhaps because he was the only doctor in the county and there was nobody qualified to care for him, he died.

In a popular medical journal, an advertisement appeared in the name of the Mayor of the town of Trailhead Texas seeking a doctor for an established medical practice. The ad offered an “office with living quarters” free to a qualified physician.

To be fair, the townsfolk of Trailhead were looking for an experienced physician, not a wet-behind-the-ears recent graduate. Their last physician had been an older man who semi-retired to Trailhead from a big city practice.

To be equally fair, Sam had hoped for a better offer than that little office on the edge of nowhere. But Sam was nearly broke and in no position to choose. So he made the arduous journey to Trailhead.

For a city boy like Sam, Trailhead came as a cultural shock. The entire town had an unfinished look, buildings were mostly rough looking and unpainted. The town consisted of only two “streets”, a main street for business and a narrower street for homes. Both streets had random gaps, as if buildings were missing. The streets were paved with Texas dust and were liberally strewn with animal dung which was never cleaned up. It hadn't rained yet, but Sam had been told that the streets melted into a disgusting mixture of shit-laced slime when it did.

On windless nights the smell of the place could be downright oppressive, a pungent mixture of dust, smoke, animal dung, and outhouse.

Sam's new “office and residence” proved to be a two-room building. In front was the medical office, while the back room held a cot, a table, and a stove that served both for cooking and heat. Behind was a nasty outhouse and a rickety little one-stall barn. There was no horse, but that was OK because Sam could barely ride!

Fortunately, the office retained everything that his predecessor had left behind, so he was immediately equipped to see patients. The trouble was, they were few!

For the first few days, Sam had little to do except to acquaint himself with the town and it's occupants. Since Trailhead was so tiny, that didn't take him long.


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Trailhead got its name from its location at the end of a cattle drive trail that lead to the famous Chisholm trail, a conduit to Kansas cattle markets and railroads. Every spring, ranches would round up their cattle and then combine them into giant herds for the long walk down the trail to market. So each spring the population of Trailhead would briefly expand until the tiny town seemingly burst at the seams.

Between cattle drives, Trailhead was a sleepy place.

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Fortunately, Sam arrived at a “sleepy” time for the town, giving him time to meet the town's few permanent citizens, and to learn how the place worked.

Among the first things he discovered was that the town didn't work the way he had first assumed. He had received a letter from the town's Mayor accepting his application and offering him the use of the town's medical office. But he soon discovered that the “Mayor” was the town drunk and didn't actually run the place. (Although he could deliver a rousing holiday speech if properly sobered up.) The town was actually owned and operated by a diminutive but strong-willed and red-headed lady named Mildred Ross. Woman's suffrage was still a half-century away. So even in Texas it was unthinkable for a woman, even a rich woman, to call herself Mayor of a town. So the town drunk served as a convenient and complaint figurehead for the practical-minded woman.

So now Sam realized that Mildred was actually his landlord and “sort of” his boss, although she never once mentioned it.

A chronic asthmatic, Mildred was as weak in her body as she was strong willed. The town of Trailhead actually occupied a corner of Mildred's huge ranch, which is how she owned the town. Mildred had inherited the ranch from her husband, who had died in an unfortunate accident. However, “inherited” implies that Mildred had done nothing to earn her ownership, and that simply wasn't so. It was largely through Mildred's brainpower that her husband had managed to find markets for his beef and ways to get the cattle there. While her husband had been driving cattle to market over the new cattle trails, Mildred ran the ranch with an iron fist and made land deals that grew it. Now the Ross ranch (its brand a stylized “R”) was known throughout Texas.

Since her husband's untimely death, Mildred, with help from a trustworthy Superintendent, ran the Ross ranch. Running the town was merely a sideline for Mildred. Trailhead was important because its businesses were vital to the Ross ranch and other local ranches, and because it hosted the annual cattle drives.

Fortunately, Sam managed to quickly get into Mildred's good graces. No medical genius, Sam at least had the benefit of the very latest in medical knowledge. So where the last doctor couldn't help Mildred's asthma, Sam introduced her to a treatment, an herb called atropa belladonna, that actually relieved her coughing fits.

Trailhead was a tiny place, and the population was mostly young, male and healthy. Also, excepting Mildred, the few women of the town avoided Sam entirely except when desperately ill. It wasn't personal, just an understandable reluctance to show their bodies to a young man. So poor Sam had lots of spare time, and was barely making a living.

Fortunately, Trailhead lacked a veterinarian. The previous doctor had also served as the area's animal doctor and his reference books were still in the office. Sam studied those books and worked often at the town's livery stable to gain experience and confidence with animals. A city boy, Sam had much to learn before he could call himself a veterinarian!

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Like most places in the American west, the few women in Trailhead were mostly either taken or not worth taking. Attracted by adventure and opportunity, couples and single men migrated west, but rarely single women. Thus, their scarcity. So single men, obviously including Sam, had a big problem finding mates.

Sam had only briefly been in Trailhead before spotting the town's one eligible and desirable female. She was quite unmistakable, a shapely but compact lady about his own age mounted on a huge spirited stallion galloping through town with her golden red hair streaming behind her. Shockingly, she wore man's pants. Equally shocking to this city man, she was riding astride her horse rather than sidesaddle or in a carriage as respectable ladies do.

As she passed by his office, she locked eyes with him just long enough to acknowledge his existence, and then she was gone. After that, he spotted her often, but she never again seemed to notice him. Although her bright red hair provided a clue, he easily learned her identity. She was Ethel Ross, Mildred Ross's daughter.

One day when Mildred came by for another batch of asthma medicine, Sam obliquely mentioned Ethyl. Mildred grimaced at the mention of her daughter's name, “That Ethyl will be the death of me yet! If only you had a medicine that would turn her in to a responsible adult. She runs around on that horse instead of tending to ranch business. I'm afraid she's going to hurt herself. That girl is as wild as a Texas thunderstorm.”

Her voice lowered, she added, “She doesn't think I know, but she likes cowboys a bit too much. I hope she doesn't end up in the family way.”

Sam had no reason to be jealous of a woman he hadn't even met, and he assumed that a poor city boy like him didn't have a chance with her. Still, his stomach twisted at the thought of her with another man.

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Sam would never forget the first time he saw Ethyl close-up. Intent on buying beans, he had walked into the general store. He must have seen Ethyl's white stallion at the hitching post, but his thoughts were elsewhere. So he walked into the store and almost collided with Ethyl. The sight of her took his breath away! To a man used to seeing ladies only in figure-hiding outfits with multiple layers of petticoats underneath, the sight of this shapely pants-clad woman was a shock. Ethyl was a short woman, a younger and curvaceous version of her mother. Her face had delicate features and lightly freckled skin, framed by her mother's bright red hair.

Ethyl looked Sam up and down and said, “You must be the new doctor.” This wasn't Sam's best moment! He could only nod mutely. Not having received a response, Ethyl simply turned to finish her business with the clerk. Sam found himself staring at the delightful, but naughty, outline of Ethyl's buttocks, which were straining the seat of her pants. When he realized where he was staring, Sam blushed and quickly turned his head.

Embarrassed and aroused in equal parts, Sam fled the store, his need for beans forgotten.

Sam would never forget the sight of those buttocks. Thoughts of Ethyl filled the young man's nights. But still, tiny as Trailhead was, he seemed unable to meet her.

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That all changed one day when a cowboy galloped up to Sam's office. “Come quick,” he yelled through Sam's open window, “Misses Mildred says that Ethyl is in a bad way.”

The cowboy's horse was too winded to immediately return to the Ross ranch, so Sam ran to the livery stable to hire a horse. (By now, he could at least remain in a saddle.) It was five miles to the Ross ranch house, and Sam rode as fast as he dared.

Mildred led Sam to Ethyl's bedroom, where he found her suffering cramps. Here again, Sam's medical training was easily equal to the task. In his hospital experience, Sam had seen this condition in women often. Ethyl was having a miscarriage.

There was no keeping the truth from Mildred because the evidence would soon be clear enough, so he was forced to tell her. The lady was instantly furious, but her Irish temper quickly passed. And then they got to work.

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It was midnight before Sam returned home. In the process of caring for Ethyl, he had seen her most intimate parts, but it had been no thrill at the time. His mind had been totally on business.

Later however, was different. Now his nightly visions of Ethyl were anatomically accurate, and all the more tantalizing for it. Still, Sam glumly assumed that Ethyl's embarrassment would erase what little chance he had ever had with her.

To deal with typical small town rumor-mongering, Sam, Mildred and Ethyl had agreed that Ethyl's short-term malady had been “a severe digestive upset”. Sam had pledged complete confidentiality, and would keep that promise. However, one young cowboy had guessed Ethyl's diagnosis correctly. But there was little chance of him telling! A drifter, he lived in the Ross Ranch bunkhouse. The night of Ethyl's “sickness”, he disappeared without collecting his pay. He assumed that Mildred would discover who had gotten her daughter pregnant, and wished to be elsewhere when it happened!

So life quickly returned to normal for Sam. Or so he thought!

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Besides being the town's doctor and veterinarian, Sam's predecessor had served another vital function; as a stand-in disciplinarian. The cattle business, especially long cattle drives, took Trailhead men away from their families for weeks at a time. Occasionally an older child would need punishing while his father was away, and the mother didn't feel capable. In that case, the old doctor would take the errant child to a convenient woodshed for punishment. The child was usually referred to him by the mother, but sometimes by the Sheriff.

The doctor usually punished boys, but didn't shrink from doing the same to girls. The only significant difference with girls was the mother's presence for propriety's sake.

Sam had only been in town a few weeks when he was asked to punish a boy, but he adamantly refused. Sam lacked the experience and the confidence for that job. Except for his own childhood punishments, he had zero experience with corporal punishment.

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That changed two weeks later when Mildred appeared at his office to ask him to punish Ethyl!

“Sam I need your help,” she had said, “Ethyl is recovered now. I must deal with what she did, but I'm no longer physically able.”

Sam's eyes widened, “You can't possibly mean...”

Mildred's eyes hardened, “Yes, that's exactly what I mean. You've already seen the part of her that needs punishing, and you're the only person who knows why. So clearly you're the man for the job.”

Sam started to refuse, but one doesn't tell Mildred Ross “no” when she wants something. Mildred's forceful personality soon wore down Sam's objections.

Mildred's final argument almost closed the deal, “Don't worry about Ethyl. She's sorry for what she did and has agreed to accept punishment. But for reasons that I've explained to you, you're the only punisher she will agree to.”
Sam had one more objection, “Mrs, Ross, the problem is that my feelings for Ethyl aren't totally...”

“Professional?” Mildred asked with a raised eyebrow.

Miserably, Sam nodded.

“I saw your face while you were caring for Ethyl, and you only saw a patient in need of your help. As for your 'unprofessional' thoughts regarding Ethyl, I'd be concerned if it were otherwise! You are young, male and human. Ethyl is both single and a fine specimen of young womanhood. Still, you're the man for the job. I promise, Ethyl won't hold it against you. She knows that the punishment comes from me.”

Sam was helpless against Mildred's personality. He reluctantly agreed to appear at the Ross ranch house the following morning to punish Ethyl.

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Then next morning Sam rented a horse to ride to the Ross ranch. To his surprise, Ethyl met him at the door. Her freckled face blushed sweetly at the sight of him. This was the first time that Sam had ever seen her in a dress. It was a thin and plain affair. In the fashion of the times, it was nearly ankle length. From the way the dress conformed to her hips, Sam guessed that she wore no petticoats under it. When he realized that their absence was likely purposeful to facilitate her imminent punishment, Sam's heart galloped.

“Welcome,” Ethyl said as she stood aside to allow him to enter, “I appreciate you coming, and I'm sorry for my part in dragging you into this business. Mother is in the parlor. We've sent the help off for the morning, so this will hopefully be private.”

Before she could turn, Sam took her arm, “Are you sure that you want this Miss Ross? If not, I'll leave.”

Her eyes misted, “Please Doctor Stephens, my name is Ethyl. And yes, I consent. I fully deserve to be punished. It's the only thing that will repair matters between me and mother.”

“In that case Ethyl, lead on. And after your punishment, please call me Sam.”

She smiled sadly, nodded, and then gracefully turned. Sam followed her into the sitting room.

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He found Mildred in the parlor, a grim look on her face. He gulped at the sight of a sturdy wooden armless chair that obviously didn't belong in the room. A large ivory hairbrush rested on the chair.

Mildred pointed him to a comfortable chair, Ethyl sat on the couch next to her mother. Mildred got right to the point, “Thank you for coming here Doctor Stephens. I know that you wanted no part of this, so I appreciate you accommodating us. Naturally Ethyl and I have already had a long and difficult talk about her behavior. So now she will explain to you why she must be punished.”

This came as a surprise to Ethyl! Hesitantly, she started, “Well, naturally it's about my silly and selfish behavior that got me pregnant, but it's more than just that.”

The normally self assured young lady choked back tears before continuing. She explained that her literal “roll in the hay” with that young cowboy, a ranch hand, had been about curiosity and thrills, not love. “So I childishly and selfishly risked everything, plus I messed up that man's life on a silly whim. I'm supposed to help mother run this ranch. As she ages, I'll need to take her place. I'm afraid I haven't done my part, but I'll do better after today. I'm truly sorry mother!”

Mildred nodded her acceptance of her daughter's confession and oath, “I love you Ethyl. But yes, we both have huge responsibilities to face up to. So I hope this is the turning point you need.”

Spontaneously, mother and daughter hugged. Sam felt embarrassed to see this private moment, but being here hadn't been his idea.

Mildred wiped a tear from her eye, “Shall we get on with it Ethyl?”

“Yes mom.”

Not mincing words, Mildred proceeded to explain to Sam exactly how to punish Ethyl. Ethyl would bare her bottom and lay across Sam's lap. Sam would give her a hard spanking, first by hand and then with the hairbrush. Both Sam and Ethyl blushed at her frank language and detailed description of the punishment she demanded Ethyl receive.

“Is that clear to both of you?” she finally asked.

Sam gulped, but agreed. Ethyl promised, “I'll see that it happens mother.”

“In that case,” the lady said, “I will depart.”

To Sam's astonishment, the lady stood, briefly squeezed Ethyl's hand, and then exited.

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Through this entire family drama, Sam had seen no hint of the bratiness he had expected from Ethyl, but her former spirit still glowed in her eyes.

Sam spoke first, “I can't believe she left us alone!”

“As you can imagine Doctor Stephens, my mother and I have had some rather extensive 'discussions' about my behavior. She insists on this punishment, which I agree I deserve. The only concessions I asked for was that you be the punisher, and that it happen privately. Don't feel sorry for me! I've earned this. Also, neither I nor my mother will thank you if you go easy on me.”

Sam gulped, nodded, and then moved to the armless chair. He hefted the hairbrush curiously, and then placed it in a handy spot.

He watched Ethyl approach his right thigh. She blinked tears away, and then with almost a superhuman effort, she pulled herself together. She stood straight up and then looked him in the eye. “Assuming you do this correctly, I'll be shrieking and begging you to stop long before you finish the first part of my spanking. Ignore me and just do it!”

Her voice cracked, but then she continued, “As my mother instructed, be sure to bruise my bottom with that hairbrush. She must see results! Nothing can be settled between me and mother unless I'm properly punished. OK?”

Mutely, Sam nodded.

“Well,” she said as she gathered her dress behind her and then raised the rear hem high, “at least you won't see anything that you haven't seen before.”

Holding her dress above her waist at the rear, Ethyl awkwardly placed herself across Sam's lap.

It was clear to Sam that Ethyl had thought of everything in advance. As he had suspected, she was bare under her dress.

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Ethyl's pregnancy, which she didn't even suspect until her miscarriage, had been a huge wake-up call to Ethyl. It had forced her to take stock of herself, and she wasn't happy at what she found. So this spanking wasn't only to make amends to her mother, it was also a way for Ethyl to make amends to herself. She had decided that after her punishment the childish “playgirl” Ethyl would be history.

As Ethyl bared her bottom and laid herself across Sam's lap, her head bubbled with a potent stew of emotions; self-reproach, contrition, fear, determination, embarrassment, and even strange feelings for Sam, an educated man whom she feared would never look twice at a country bumpkin like her!

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The buttocks looking up expectantly at Sam were compact, pure white, and separated by a tight cleft. He knew that her horse riding had probably toughened them, but what did that mean? Did it mean that she wouldn't feel pain? As a doctor, he doubted if that could be true. He did know that this young lady was no fragile rose. She was obviously robust enough to safely take plenty of punishment. The thought gave him confidence.

“Here goes,” he warned as he raised his hand high.

Spanked often in his formative years, spanking certainly held no mysteries for Sam. However, this was the first spanking he had ever given. In fact, those clear instructions from Mildred had increased his meager spanking knowledge more that he had let on. So it was no surprise that his first efforts were quite artless. At first he used the heal of his hand more than the palm. He figured out the difference when his spanks didn't sound right. Also those first few spanks were to the same spot, igniting her right buttock into unimaginable pain.

Ethyl had planned to “tough it out” as long as possible before reacting to her punishment, but the unintended severity of those first spanks, all targeting the same spot, quickly changed that plan. She screeched and bucked, imparting a motion to her bottom that Sam found fascinating. Finally Ethyl found her voice and loudly begged Sam to spank her other side, a request that he quickly honored.

By the time that Sam had spanked her left buttock so that it matched her right, Ethyl was clearly in tears and wriggling her bottom with each spank. Ethyl's increasingly loud response to her punishment gave Sam confidence. He couldn't believe how bright red her bottom had become on the twin patches where he had concentrated his spanking. But that reminded him of Mildred's advice to spank the whole surface of Ethyl's bottom, not just certain spots. He noticed that the color served as a handy guide. Therefore he simply had to spank her bottom to an even red hue. So with rapidly increasing confidence and skill, that's exactly what he did.

By now Ethyl was shrieking and loudly begging for respite. As he had been instructed to, he closed his ears to those entreaties and simply continued to do his duty.

Remembering Mildred's instructions, Sam landed some experimental spanks on the backs of Ethyl's thighs. She shrieked even louder and kicked dramatically, in the process favoring young Sam with a peek at her most intimate anatomy. As a doctor, Sam was well acquainted with that body part, but had never before viewed it from that particular angle. The unexpected view stirred Sam in a very base way. In a single heartbeat, Sam's penis stiffened, causing him pain as Ethyl bounced and thrashed atop his rigid member. He wanted to adjust himself, but couldn't do so surreptitiously. Guilty at his inappropriate arousal, Sam accepted the pain as a penance and stolidly soldiered on with his task.

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With a forgotten cup of coffee, Mildred sat in her kitchen and listened to her daughter's punishment. The young physician's efforts had sounded predictably uneven at first, but he soon found his stride. The first sounds of Ethyl's distress came sooner than she had expected. Now she heard the sharp clapping sounds of a spanking that was nearing its climax, along with Ethyl's shrill shrieks.

Finally came a relative silence. The spanks stopped, Ethyl's shrieks became sobs. Mildred assumed that the first part of Ethyl's punishment was over. She had wondered if the mild-mannered Sam was up to the job, but it sounded like he was acquitting himself quite well!

Mildred's motives for prevailing on Sam to punish her mostly-grown daughter included the ones that she had explained to him. Namely, Mildred really wasn't physically up to doing the job herself, plus Sam already knew the real reason for Ethyl's “illness”. Further, he had already seen her body. Finally, he was the only male whom Ethyl was likely to allow to “do the job”. But Mildred also had another motive behind selecting Sam, and this one overrode all of the others: By her reckoning, Sam was the best man for Ethyl. At least, he was the best man who was available in the small world of Trailhead Texas! Sam was both civilized and educated, simple facts that stood him head and shoulders above any other unmarried man in town. Also he happened to be good-looking, reliable, smart and personable.

She knew that pushing them together in this manner was dangerous. Ethyl might be angry after her spanking and push him away. Or they might retreat from each other out of mutual embarrassment. But the practical Mildred had decided that these were worthwhile risks. It seemed more likely that this shared intimate experience would draw them together.

Mildred put her hand to her mouth as the first impacts of the hairbrush rang through the house and Ethyl screamed out in pain. She peeked out the front window to ensure that nobody was around to hear the ruckus. But if they were, it was too damn late!

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In his hospital experience, Sam had seen enough injured flesh to know when to stop spanking Ethyl with the hairbrush. It had taken him only minutes to spank her buttocks just beyond the bruising threshold. He expected that her bottom would carry painful marks for a few days. Young and healthy as Ethyl was, she would heal fast, and be back on her horse quickly.

His job done, he allowed the bawling lady back to her feet. When she stumbled, he quickly rose from his chair to support her. Ethyl misinterpreted his helpful gesture, turning it into a hug. Swaying together like a tree in a breeze, they embraced while Ethyl sobbed into Sam's chest. Finally Ethyl released him to rub her tortured bottom through her dress, which had fallen back into place.

“I suppose that you're mad at me Miss Ross. Should I leave now?”

“No!” she answered, “Please stay. I'm not angry, and please call me Ethyl. Now that I've been punished, may I call you Sam?”

“Yes Ethyl, I'd like that.”

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It would make a dramatic ending if I could describe how the two fell onto the couch to make passionate love, but the truth was much more mundane. Once Ethyl regained control of her emotions and rubbed some of the sting from her posterior, they sat side-by-side on the couch. There, Ethyl actually thanked him for her correction.

And then they finally had their first conversation.

To Mildred's joy, Ethyl invited Sam for supper the next day. Horse riding was out of the question for Ethyl, so the two enjoyed a walk after supper.

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Their unhurried and decorous courtship somehow restored Ethyl's somewhat tarnished reputation. The wedding was the biggest happening in Trailhead in decades.

Naturally Sam moved into the Ross ranch house after the marriage. He quickly became involved in the running of the ranch, so a new young doctor took over the doctor's office. Sam and Ethyl gradually took over management of the ranch from Mildred. Taking exactly the opposite roles that Mildred and her late husband had occupied earlier, Ethyl managed the outdoor part of ranching whilst Sam handled the business aspects.

The Ross ranch and the town of Trailhead prospered as never before.

The town drunk remained the Mayor, but Sam actually ran the town.

The “old” Ethyl never totally went away, but her brief illicit pregnancy and her subsequent punishment at the hands of her future husband had helped her shed her childish ways. Like her mother, Ethyl never lost her spirit, plus she retained a wild and impulsive streak. Therefore, she never lost the need for an occasional trip across her husband's lap.

But surely nobody would be interested in hearing about that!


© Guyspencer 2015


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