I can't believe... They got to be kidding...
"No I'm not going!" he has got to be nuts. There is no way I'm gonna leave the house in...that!
"Belle Anne Thorne. You will do as your father says and get dressed this instant!" Huh? When did I inherit a middle name?
"My name is Bill Thomas Thorne and there is no f**king way I'm gonna wear that any..." I didn't get to finish as dad got that angry look in his eye and started to remove his belt. Oh shit!
Apparently a girl is not supposed to use bad language. Even a temporary puesdo girl such as myself. Yeah I got in serious trouble for that slip. No I didn't get the strap from dad's belt. The threat was more than enough to put me in tears. Come to think of it I don't ever remember him doing more than pulling off his belt. Something not fair about that.
Mom got me into that ..dress. It's a flower and lace thing that older ladys wear, or pregnant ones apparently. Why because we are going to visit my grandma. Granny Smith is like really old 50 I think, and has never, to my knowledge, seen or heard of Belle. I was all prepared to wear the stretch jeans and one of dad's dress shirts but oh no that wasn't good enough. Didn't help that it was also my fault for something bad that I really still don't get how it was my fault in the first place. Don't ask me to explain it cause I really don't get it all.
Yeah I know I look way to convincing as a girl. The dress doesn't help but that was only part of it. I know Grandma. She loves going to church and last week well... Lets just say I want to avoid all old ladies till I look like myself again. Even Samantha is dressed very much like me but she has this black thing on the back of her hair just like mom.
Oh that uhm Grandma is a Mennonite Woman. To her women ONLY wear dresses, dresses they make themselves. Add the black thingy on the back of the hair and absolutly no makeup and you get the idea. The one thing that makes me shudder every time we visit is she never shaves her legs either. As the younger sister My hair is in a plait down the back of my head. It's a Mennonite thing.
Yeah mom was raised as one but she escaped as soon as she was able and wore pants. This got her uhm well not disowned or banished but shunned more like. It was not till Grandpa's death that a peace of a sort was made. It was viewed that as long as she and her family were presentable during a visit her satanic ways were overlooked. Oh we got frowns like you wouldn't believe but people were civil at least.
I got the impression that mom doesn't like this anymore than I do. Actually she was pretty mad all morning even before I threw my little fit. Dad is not comfortable exactly either. I know exactly why too. Those suspenders make ones pants ride up badly. Imagine a permanent wedgie and you would be close.
The whole reason we are going now is because of thanksgiving. It's actually next weekend not this one. However since we live in sin and all that we have to go this weekend. First its an incredibly boring 3 hour sermon in the parish church. Mostly filled with all the sins those who do not follow the ways..etc etc. Is it pointed as us? Most likely. That is followed by the church gathering for another hour and half. The women are separated from the men as soon as one walks into the church. I have never been to the women's side before so this should be a learning experience.
The drive out to the country was uneventful. I fidgeted a fair amount in the back seat since my baby was having a gale old time kicking me. I know its not really a baby but the experience is less than fun. The pantyhose I'm wearing is slowly sliding down my legs as we speak and there is not a darn thing I can do about it either. I hate dresses!
As we arrive and park the car I get a sudden total case of fear. I crouched down as much as possible in the back seat as I really did not want to get out of the car. These people are religious nuts to begin with. Having me enter as a fake woman is just so not gonna go over well.
"Belle come on out."
"No! I'm gonna stay right here! They will kill me if I get out!"
"Suit yourself since they already have seen you and will no doubt come over to wonder why you are sitting in a car all by yourself." dad can be so cruel sometimes. He is right and I know it. Doesn't mean I have to like it. Sub vocally uttering a few choice words I manage to get myself out of the car using the hand holds and grabbing the door.
As I stand up I can feel myself being peeled by everyone around us. A few shake their heads as I shut the car door. It took me two tries since the first time I got the skirt caught in the door. I put my head down to avoid looking around and joined my family walking to the door. I pushed Samantha's wheelchair for her. I may look like a girl but I'm a guy it's just something I do without thinking.
"Stupid girl" is said to me as I'm pushed aside by Jarod, my retarded cousin. I never liked him anyways. Mom catches my hand before I can let fly.
"Belle behave" it's hard but I let him push Samantha into the church ahead of mom and myself. Dad has been pulled aside already. Of course as soon as we enter the church there is Grandma looking daggers at mom. I suppose if you think about it really here is her heathen daughter being followed by her oldest daughter in a wheelchair with casts on her leg and arm and another very pregnant younger daughter.
It takes her at least a full minute to figure out that the youngest granddaughter is really her grandson. I could actually see the emotions play across her face as she realized it. I actually enjoyed this for a few reasons. One women do not speak during church so she can't make a scene even if she wanted to. Second I can see mom and Sam smile as they realize that she can't make a scene at all. The other women look at me with confusion but again can't say anything during church.
I made a few mistakes during the service when I started to speak amen and so forth and got hissed at as soon as my mouth opened. I was so tempted to try to speak with a deep voice like dad. I didn't but I was fairly sure I could make a few of them faint. By Sam's expression and mom's laughing eyes I think they got the same idea. Grandma sat right next to me though and gave me with worst dagger looks the entire service. I just smiled back as I watched her face get redder and redder. I was having a ball.
The service following with all the women going into there own room off the church was interesting. Mostly since I went to the men's side, amid many hisses, before I followed mom. She was trying to keep a straight face. Sam wasn't doing so well as she had her hand over her mouth as grandma pushed her into the room.
The church itself is sparten in decoration. White painted walls. No windows a few crosses and the wooden pews. The back room for men has some leather couches and chairs. The women's on the other hand has like lots and lots of painted scenes, all biblical, of how a woman should behave in reguards to her husband and family. I fully expected to get chewed out by Grandma or the women for my costume. It didn't happen they were all very polite. I was introduced simply as Belle Anne. It's a pregnancy simulator for school.
The simulator got more attention as many of the women had to feel the belly after they found that it kicked. The fact that a boy was wearing it never registered to them. I think Jarod's mom and sister figured it out but they didn't even come close enough to talk to. They never do so no loss. I did explain what the purpose of the simulator was and how it counted for a grade. A few of the women started to talk with me of all things how if feels to really be pregnant. Grandma was conflicted as she joined the conversation when she forgot about who I was until she remember then she would shut up.
Samantha had her own group after it was explained about her idiot boyfriend doing the whole Dukes of Hazzard thing. This was overheard by the parish priest and he favored Samantha with how if she was proper young lady she would never have been in such a position to be hurt. A young couple should be chaperoned at all times. An unwed pregnancy, a nod towards me, would be the result with bastard children. Mom myself and Sam all gave him the look. Grandma actually snickered at that one. The priest carried his Bible around a bit before he blessed the food waiting for the women to nibble on. Then he left to go back to his office. I suspect he went to get drunk but I could be wrong.
After the service was over and we were finally allowed to go back to the car to sit down my feet had swollen. Dad met us and let us into the car where the purses were. I didn't have one but it would have been left in the car as well. Dad told me about the fun he had in the men's side explaining about what happened to his son Bill, namely me. We had a bit of chuckle as he explained it after he was asked more than once who the cute younger daughter was.
Grandma's house was not all that far from the church. It was the same house mom and her brothers grew up in. So it was a fairly large house what I didn't expect was that it seemed every Uncle and Aunt seemed to be there ahead of us. Usually we are lucky if one of them shows up to say hi to us.
Now unlike Amish or Omish people Mennonites are only overly religious. They are not seperated from the world around them. Tv computers etc are quite common. Its just how one acts that is different. I was pretty much ambushed as soon as I walked into the packed house by the girls with questions of how it all happened. My male relatives on the other hand gave me a number of sneers. One of them looked at me with avid interest. This was probably the first time I had seen all my cousins as I didn't even recognize most of them.
The whole story was retold a few times to all the women with me as the centerpiece. Many complimented me on how I well I behaved as a woman in the church and were surprised at my wacky voice. I even did a good imitation of Grandma scolding myself for my shameful behavior. That got most of them including grandma cackling away, much to the confusion of the guys who didn't know it was me.
Thanksgiving supper was also much different than I remember. Instead of the bone dry turkey with acidic gravy we usually had, grandma seemed to have lost her tastebuds but we were always polite, this one actually tasted good. I found out later that one of my Aunts had , accidentally, dropped grans turkey on the ground and offered her turkey instead. I was of course seated with the women at the separate old wooden table. These tables have been in the family for generations. They collapse to small tables and aside from one or two catches are made entirely of wood. They open up with a number of sideboards that can be installed to a really long table. Hmmmm..
In their normal position they are maybe 4-5 feet long. But they extend to about 12 feet each. All with polished lacquered tops that usually gleam. They are really quite impressive. Mom hopes that she will one day inherit one of the two tables. They were built by my great great grandfather back in the early 30's
One of the tables is used to hold Grans ever increasing display of plants and crystal figurines. But today those figurines are in a box in the basement. The meal goes surprising well and I actually enjoy myself. My deportment lesson comes in handy as I display my ladylike charm at the table. Okay not really my elbows got knocked off more than once. But I did sit straight in the chair which grandma noticed.
Grandma does love us grandchildren. She shows affection and gives us presents every year even when mom and her were not talking. After the supper we spent some time in her sitting room looking at pictures of past family members. It was pointed out how Samantha looked like mom and apparently great grandmother as well. While I had some of grandma's features. It took a picture of her when she was young for me to see it. Her eyes and her nose. A quick comparison also showed me I had inherited another feature from the female side with my small feminine hands. Grandma assured me that it was not uncommon in the family for some of the boys to look like I do until they got to age 30. Although, she said, I was probably the first to actually look and act like a girl.
It was the first thanksgiving dinner that I ever remembered enjoying with my extended family. I can't wait to get rid of the fardling baby thing tomorrow. If I ever get a woman pregnant I'll make sure she gets lots and lots of hugs for these annoying ..uggg.
Id like to know how women go to the bathroom with this thing in the way!
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