How’s Your Mom ‘N ‘Em?
After everyone finished eatin’, they all went out on the front porch to enjoy a lazy Sunday afternoon. Darcy and Lizzy sat together on the porch swing, and Mr. and Mrs. Bennet pulled up chairs close by so they could gab. Charlie and Jane sat on the glider not far away, talkin’ to each other and not payin’ no mind to anyone else, but Lydia and Wickham plopped down in chairs clean on the other end of the porch. Mary and Kitty sat on the front steps.
Mr. Bennet: So, Darcy, how’s your mom ‘n ‘em? You know, I went to high school with her.
Lizzy: (whispering) Answer my daddy. How’s your mom ‘n ‘em?
Darcy: (whispering) I have no idea. I didn’t even know I had one. What’s a mom ‘n ‘em?
Lizzy: (whispering) It means “your mom and them.” How’s your family?
Darcy: Oh. (louder) They’re all doing fine, sir. I didn’t realize you know my mom. Do you know my dad, too?
Mr. Bennet: Your dad warn’t from around these parts, was he? Didn’t he grow up down in Georgia?
Darcy: Yes, sir. He was raised on a peach farm. He came to South Carolina to go into the agricultural program at Clemson, and he met my mom there. She was in the education department. She’s a teacher at the high school. They decided to settle not far from Sugarfield and my grandparents.
Lizzy: Oh, no, you didn’t.
Darcy: Oh, no, I didn’t what?
Lizzy: You didn’t just tell my daddy your folks graduated from Clemson.
Darcy: Sure I did. What’s the problem?
Lizzy: He’s a Gamecock – University of South Carolina. It’s like the Hatfields and the McCoys. Clemson Tigers don’t mix with USC Gamecocks. He might make us stop datin’.
Darcy: Seriously? Did you graduate from USC, Mr. Bennet?
Mr. Bennet: I didn’t get to go to college. Barely made it out of high school. I’ve worked the farm all my life from the time I could put one foot in front of the other. Lizzy and Jane both went to the local USC campus for two years. Then they went to the big one down in Columbia to finish up. Made me right proud to see them in garnet and black. Her mom ‘n me went down to Columbia both times to see ‘em march in the big stadium. Lizzy said you went to college up North. Why didn’t you go to Clemson if your mom ‘n ‘em did?
Darcy: I wanted to see more of the country and experience a different culture. I also chose to study law, and Harvard seemed a good place to do that.
Mr. Bennet: I saw “Legally Blonde.” Lizzy rented the movie and brought it to the house one Saturday night. It was funny, I reckon, but I don’t know why anybody’d want to go there. I didn’t see hide nor hair of one person with a lick of sense. So, your mom ‘n ‘em are Tigers. Hmm.
Darcy: I think you’d like them anyway. I mean, does it really matter?
Mr. Bennet: You funnin’?
Darcy: I just don’t understand why you’d care since you didn’t go to school there. Why do you like USC better than Clemson?
Mr. Bennet: I can figure out why you don’t know, son, so it’s all right. When you’re born in South Carolina, they make you choose one or the other on your birth certificate. Your mom ‘n ‘em had to check a box for Clemson or one for USC. My folks checked USC, so I was always a Gamecock.
Darcy: Really? I’ve never heard of that.
Lizzy: Daddy’s pullin’ your leg, Darcy.
Mr. Bennet: It’s like shootin’ fish in a barrel. Too easy.
Lizzy: You can’t believe most of what Daddy says. He likes to yank your chain.
Darcy: So, can I keep datin’ Lizzy, even if my parents are Tigers and I went to school at Harvard?
Mr. Bennet: Are you a Tiger?
Darcy: I don’t really care one way or the other, so I guess not.
Mr. Bennet: Well, that’s not as good as bein’ a Gamecock, but it’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. I guess you can keep on hangin’ ‘round. At least you didn’t go to Clemson.
Darcy: Hey, Charlie! How’s your mom ‘n ‘em?
Charlie: (turnin’ as he hears his name) Fit as a fiddle.
Darcy: Doggone. You knew what it meant. Are your parents Tigers or Gamecocks?
Charlie: Gamecocks, of course. I knew your folks were Tigers, but I wasn’t gonna tell anybody. It only matters to me during football season.
Darcy: Football season? Why?
Charlie: How could you have grown up in Sugarfield, played football in high school, and not know the answer to that? You’re a smart guy, but sometimes I think you don’t have enough sense to spit downwind.
Darcy: I went to football games in Columbia and in Clemson. My family has season tickets in Death Valley, and I had plenty of friends at USC. I never cared as long as the South Carolina team won.
Mr. Bennet: (leaning toward Darcy) So, who did you pull for on the Saturday after Thanksgiving? The Gamecocks play the Tigers, and they’re both from South Carolina.
Darcy: I studied law at Harvard. I plead the fifth.
Mr. Bennet: Huh?
Darcy: The fifth amendment. I’m claiming the fifth amendment.
Mr. Bennet: Eh?
Darcy: To the Constitution.
Mr. Bennet: Wha’?
Darcy: Of the United States of America.
Mr. Bennet: All right then. Country trumps everything ‘cept religion and family. Faith, family, and then football.
Darcy: Good. I wouldn’t want to incriminate myself.
Mr. Bennet: What does that mean?
Lizzy: (whispering to Darcy) Leave it alone, and back away quietly.
Darcy: (whispering to Lizzy) Why?
Lizzy: (whispering to Darcy) You just implied that you pull for Clemson when they play USC. Otherwise, you wouldn’t need to claim the fifth.
Darcy: (whispering to Lizzy) So what do you suggest?
Lizzy: (whispering to Darcy) Change the subject.
Darcy: (yelling) So, Wickham! How’s your mom ‘n ‘em?