The Wedding Dress In McGaffigan’s Store, c. 1890

Its origin, not unlike its continued presence

In the store, was shrouded in mystery

And the subject of considerable discussion.

Some said a drummer happened to catch Mac

In a frivolous humor, while still others insisted

The dress was intended for a future Mrs. McGaffigan

Who high-tailed it out of town just before entangling herself

In any legal and emotional complexities

Which might have resulted from donning the garment

With malice aforethought.  In any case,

There it stood, just in front of the counter

Containing tincture of mercurochrome

And the treatments for women’s complaints,

A wedding dress from the noted design team

Of Sears and Roebuck.  To say that Mac

Was somewhat loathe to clear up any vagaries

Related to the outfit’s continued presence

Would be understatement at its finest—in rare cases,

He would grunt something about it being his token nod

To goodness and purity, but more likely he would greet

Such inquisitions with a stare as black as the abyss itself,

And on one occasion, when a drifter carried the matter

Just a bit too far, he met the question with a tire iron

To such an extent that only the closing of ranks

By the sheriff, Doc Cathey, and several hastily arranged witnesses

Kept the storekeeper from an extended stay in the state pen.

The dress remained at its post, gradually fading and yellowing,

Becoming further bespotted with cigar ash, fly specks,

And the paw-prints of candy-laden children

Who—briefly, mind you—evaded the watchful eyes of their mothers

As they haggled and settled with the man behind the till,

And it became understood that the dress was not a subject

One broached if one wanted to retain access to the store

And full use of one’s arms and legs.

One Friday night of politics, poker, and just shooting the bull,

Jenks Leavitt, all loud checked suits and mail-order spats

And better known for the quantity than the quality

Of his witticisms, happened to opine that,

In all his years, he’d never seen two things less suited for each other

Than the storekeeper and a wedding dress.

The store became silent as abruptly as the shutting of a coffin lid

In anticipation of God only knew what havoc Mac would wreak upon

The unfortunate Leavitt, but he just smiled and said Jenks, it appears

That I have wholly misjudged you.  You just may not be beyond

The power of reason after all.


4 thoughts on “The Wedding Dress In McGaffigan’s Store, c. 1890

  1. Well, the man is mad, and so am I. Evidently I am not different than the nosy townsmen. I think there is no harm in speculating since it is not as bad as asking or opining. On the other hand, is there a point? I would say a woman is nice. A wedding dress is nice too, and it’s better to leave things like they are.

  2. If I remember correctly, dear Munir, you admitted your madness in the last story of yours I read. It’s not good to do that in print; it gives the authorities all the ammunition they need.

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