This evening I got a late-night call from our local Constable to see if I could come and bail Dame Covington out of jail! Seriously? It seems the dear old gal had become belligerent and created a ruckus at a fancy cocktail party here in town. Apparently there was an argument about politics and Covington used her gold-handle cane to trip her opponent - an equally elegant lady of roughly her age who didn't take it well and called the cops!
Of course I jumped out of bed and drove over right away. In my world I always have access to bail money, be it for my crazy old employer himself or for his occasionally unruly guests. But Dame Covington is a special case and I'd use my own money to bounce her out of jail, if need be.
This charming wise old woman has been a friend of my employer's since childhood, elementary school in fact, and was a best friend to his first wife who died some years back. She's like a fixture in this house - always around in the background. She can be found in the library quietly reading a book, down at the pond with parasol in hand watching the swans glide by, or unobtrusively making herself a hard boiled egg in the kitchen. In fact, I'd be worried if I didn't see her around here on a daily basis. For those evenings when she's had a few too many cocktails and can't quite make it home, she even has her own designated bedroom on the second floor, next to the elevator.
Among her multiple marriages, no one seems to know or care where she gained the title Dame along her journey in life. But she has a regal air and carriage which gives her all the respect she deserves. It's rumored that she was once quite rich, but now is almost totally dependent on other people's cocktail buffets for her daily nutrition.
Bless her dear heart, she has all kinds of issues in staying out of jail. The dents and scratches on her ancient Rolls Royce testify to her driving skills. While she doesn't drive on highways anymore, apparently she's a terror on streets here in our little community. Our local cop Michael is very lenient with her, but here's some funny exchanges he's shared with me:
Michael: Did you see that red light, Madam?
Covington: Of course I did young man, but there's so many of those in town - do you expect me to stop at all of them?
Michael: There was a stop sign at that intersection, Dame Covington!
Covington: Yes, but it appeared like more of a suggestion and I wasn't really in the mood.
Covington: Why did you stop me young man, can't you see I'm in a hurry?
Michael: Speed signs are there for a reason!
Covington: Alright then, I'll take it under advisement. May I go now?
I met Dame Covington the first week I worked here, it was in autumn. Upon escorting her and my employer's new wife (both with cocktails in hand) out to the balcony to observe the brilliant fall colors of red, yellow, orange and purple, she said to the new wife, "Your grounds are lovely my dear! Who does your trees?" And I've been in love with her ever since.
After posting bail, she fussed all the way home about the embarrassment and discomforts of being thrown into the clink. But coaxing her with a Hot Toddy I finally got her tucked into bed, up on the second floor. And I'm going back to bed myself, right this minute!
As always, thanks for stopping by this evening, even at this late hour.
PS: Her bail was only $50!