Hillbilly Santa Barbara
Winnie (Aka Poohbear-29)
"Youíre number cannot be completed as dialled," Harriman Nelson slammed the phone back in itís cradle in frustration. "Here we go again Lee."
"I take it you still canít get through to the Clampetts," Lee Crane stated, a grin plastered on his face as he remembered the last time Nelson had been unable to contact this particular family.
"I bet it has something to do with that banker. Probably thinks Iím going to ask J.D. Clampett for another donation."
"Donít you think he learned his lesson after what Uncle Jed told him the last time?"
"Youíd think so wouldnít you? But men like Drysdale simply canít help their greed. Lee I hate to ask you this especially after what happened the last time."
"Admiral," Crane interrupted, a smile lighting his face. "Are you asking me to go visit the Clampetts again?"
"Iím afraid so Lee."
"Iíd be glad to go. The last visit wasnít too bad except for the ammunition it gave Chip. Hillbilly Lee is not going to be repeated," laughed Crane.
"They are a nice family. You know what, Lee maybe I should go myself this time. I could go for some more of Grannyís Smoked Crawdads and Possum Pie."
"I thought you said you have too much to do before the dedication ceremonies for Clampetts Fins."
"Thanks for the reminder Captain Crane. Maybe I should make you deal with the ceremonies and Iíll get the Clampetts." Nelson smiled at the disappointed look that came over his friends face. "Iím kidding Lee. I know how you hate setting up functions. Just make sure you bring the Clampetts back in time for the dedication of the minisub."
"I will sir. See you in three days," Crane said. Truth be told he was looking forward to seeing the hillbilly family again. He walked to the door and had his hand on the handle when the Admiralís voice stopped him.
"Oh Lee," Crane turned, "Chip is meeting you at the airport with the tickets."
"Tickets? Who else is going?" Crane asked suddenly suspicious.
"Chip volunteered to go with you." Nelson said with a mischievous laugh. He could picture his two officers paying plenty of attention to one particular female hillbilly.
"I bet he did." Crane said. As he closed the door he heard Nelson surrender to the laughter heíd been holding in check.
"Hi Lee. All set?" Chip Morton asked as he met his Captain at the airport entrance, a grin on his face.
"Hello Mr. Morton." Crane said trying to convey the annoyance he felt at having the exec tag along with him to see the Clampetts.
"Hey, whatís wrong Lee? I thought youíd be happy to have some company." Morton said innocently.
"Sure you did, Chip. I know you better than that. You just donít like the idea of me going to see Elly May without you."
"Ah come on Lee. A little friendly competition for the lovely girls attention, or are you afraid that she might really like me?" Morton asked, his eyebrows rising.
"Thatís a laugh Chip. Remember the last time you tried to kiss her." Crane grinned at the vision of Elly May Clampett tossing the unsuspecting blonde man over her head.
"Donít remind me." Chip stated rubbing his backside. "I was sore for a week. Hey wait a minute; you had a lot to do with that. If you hadnít set me up she never would have been able to flip me," he stated confidently.
"Oh I wouldnít count on that Chip. If she can Ďwhupí her cousin Jethro I donít think sheíll have any trouble with you." Crane said as a voice announced that boarding of their flight was about to begin. "Letís go before we miss our flight." Crane said and the two men walked to the boarding area.
Crane drove the rented Ford Mustang through the gates of Five Eighteen Crestview Drive in Beverly Hills. The first thing he saw was a large bear looming over Elly May. Without a word to Morton he screeched the car to a halt and jumped out. "Elly, are you ok?" he asked running towards her.
Elly turned at the sound of his voice and smiled. It was one of the warmest smiles Lee had ever seen and he knew immediately that she was in complete control of the animal. She looped the leash through a pole and ran to him. She wrapped her arms around his neck and he picked her up and swung her around easily. "Iím so glad you came back Lee," she stated happily.
"Me too Elly," he said placing her back on the ground.
"What about me Elly?" Chip said, slightly jealous of the attention she was bestowing on his friend.
"Hi Chip." Elly said reaching out to shake his hand in a friendly gesture that made Crane smile.
Chip hid his disappointment as he pointed to Ellyís bear. "Who is that?"
"That tharís Fairchild. Heís my pet bear. Pa got im fer me last year. Poor thingís got hisself hung over again."
"Hung over." Morton stated, "You give that poor animal liquor."
"NO!" Elly said indignantly, "Of course I donít. He just kinda finds where Granny hides her stash of Ru-Matiz medicine and helps hisself," she explained.
"Elly would never hurt an animal Chip." Lee told his friend.
"What brings ya back ere Lee?" Elly asked.
"Chip and I are here to invite you, Granny, Jethro and Uncle Jed to Santa Barbara."
"Why donít we go find the others and Iíll explain everything," Crane said smiling at the girl.
"Ok Lee. I think there all out yonder by the cee-ment pond."
Lee and Chip followed Elly May into the house and out into the backyard of the beautiful Beverly Hills mansion. "Pa, Granny, Jethro, we have company."
Granny looked up from her still, dropped her paddle and ran over to throw her arms around Craneís neck, "Why didnít ya let us know ya was comin Lee? I woulda cooked ya up some fancy vittles." She turned to the blonde haired man, "Howdy Mr. Morton." She said.
"Howdy Lee, Mr. Morton," Jed Clampett said as he took Leeís hand and shook it boisterously. "Itís good ta see ya again."
"Thank you Mr. Clampett." Crane said.
"What happened ta callin me Uncle Jed?"
Crane smiled at the friendly man, "Sorry, Uncle Jed it is. Hello Jethro," he said as the young man joined the group.
"Howdy Lee. Mr. Morton." Jethro said.
"Hi Jethro. Please call me Chip." Morton told them.
"Uncle Jed we have something to ask all of you." Lee stated.
"Why donít we go sit in the kitchen? Iíll fix some nice cold lemonade, or you can have some of my Ru-Matiz medicine if yaíd rather, Lee?" Granny said with a grin.
"Lemonadeís fine Granny. Thank-you." Lee said returning her grin as they walked into the house.
Granny fixed her special Lemonade and Elly helped her pass it around. When they were all seated Jed turned to Crane, "Well Lee, what can I do fer ya? Does Admiral Nelson need some more money fer the oceans?"
"No, no, Uncle Jed." Crane told him, "Actually weíre here to invite you to come to Santa Barbara with us."
"Santa Barbara, why in tarnation would ya want us ta go ta Santa Barbara?" Jed Clampett asked.
"Now Jed, give the youngun a chance ta explain." Granny scolded her son in law.
Chip tried hard to suppress a smile at the idea of this little woman berating the tall man seated at her side.
Lee smiled at her, "Thatís ok Granny. I donít mind if you want to ask questions. Do you recall Admiral Nelson saying he wanted to call the new research mini sub after you?"
"I recollect him sayin something about callin it Clampetts fins." Jed stated.
"Thatís right. Well theyíve finished building it and they are going to dedicate it on July eighteenth. We would really like to have you come to the ceremonies as guests of NIMR." Lee explained.
"Whatís NIMR?" Elly asked.
"Thatís classified ya dumb girl. All us double knot spies knows that." Jethro told his cousin.
"You take that back Jethro!" Elly exclaimed angrily.
"Jethro, apologize." Jed stated in a voice that reminded both Lee and Chip of Admiral Nelsonís authoritative voice when he was in no mood for arguments.
"Sorry Elly," Jethro said recognizing his Uncleís tone.
"Thatís better. Now let Lee and Chip tell us what they have ta." Jed told them.
"Jethro, NIMR is not classified. It stands for Nelson Institute for Marine Research." Chip explained.
"Nelson. After Admiral Nelson I take it?" Granny stated.
"Thatís right Granny. Admiral Nelson is the head of NIMR. Heís the driving force behind the institute and all the research that goes on there." Lee told the curious family. "Heís responsible for the Clean up our Oceans Project that you invested in. He wants to thank you all for the help youíve given the project with your donation and he wants you to be his guests."
"Do we get ta see yer Submarine?" Jethro asked in a voice heavy with childlike excitement.
"As a matter of fact Jethro, yes. The Admiral has agreed to take you all on a tour of Seaview." Crane said.
"Can we go Uncle Jed? Please. I want ta see the Seaview. Maybe we can even take her for a ride. I can drive right Lee?"
"Now Jethro, driving a sub is not the same as driving a car." Lee told the excited young man, "Iím sorry but you have to be specially trained to drive a sub."
"Canít ya train me Lee?" Jethroís voice had gone from excited to disappointed.
"Iím sorry Jethro, you have to go to a school to be trained."
Jethroís face brightened again as he realized what Crane was saying, "But Lee, Iíve already been ta school," he said happily.
"Thatís right Jethroís got his grade six education." Granny said proudly.
"Jethro, thatís really good but you need to go to a special school for training in Subs." Chip tried to dissuade the excited young man.
"The dickens ya say. Never heared tell of a school fer subs." Jed exclaimed in disbelief.
"Uncle Jed itís not a school for subs." Crane said trying to hide his amusement at the naiveté of this family heíd grown to care so much about. "Itís a school for men to train in the running of a sub," he explained in the simplest laymanís terms he could think of.
"Well then maybe Jethro can go ta sub school?" Granny asked.
"I wanna go to!" Elly exclaimed excitedly.
"Dumb girl cousins donít go ta sub school!" Jethro stated.
"Jethro so hep me Iíll whup the tar outta ya!" Elly shouted as she got up from her chair.
Jed caught her before she had a chance to get to the object of her ire, "Jethro, apologize ta yer cousin," he stated with quiet authority.
"Sorry Elly," Jethro said, recognizing his Uncleís soft tone as the one that was usually followed by a trip to the woodshed.
"Thatís better. No ones goin ta sub school right now. Letís listen to what Lee and Chip ave ta say."
"Yes sir Uncle Jed," Jethro replied.
"Yes Pa," Elly agreed.
"Go ahead Lee," Granny told him.
"As I was saying Admiral Nelson wants you to be his special guests in Santa Barbara. He would like you to be there for the dedication of Clampetts Fins." Lee explained.
"Iíd like ta go Jed," Granny said quietly.
"Me to!" Jethro and Elly exclaimed in unison.
"Well now I canít see any reason why we canít go. Iíll get Mr. Drysdale ta look after everything ere," Jed said, thinking aloud. "When is this Dedication supposed ta take place Lee?"
"This weekend Uncle Jed." Crane told him, "Thatís why I need your answer as soon as possible."
"Our answer seems ta be yes. Iíll go call Mr. Drysdale on the teleeee-phone and ave him keep an eye on the place." Jed Clampett said with a smile.
"But, Pa, what about muh critters?" Elly asked worriedly.
"I think Mr. Drysdale can get that young fella that works at the zoo ta come look after em again. He did a right fine job while we was in Bug Tussel fer Grannyís birthday. Ok Elly?" Jed asked her.
"Yes sir, Pa. Thatís jus fine." Elly stated happily.
"When do ya want us ta be ready?" Granny asked.
"That depends on whether you want to drive or fly?" Chip told them.
"If itís ok with yaíll weíd sooner take the truck. Maybe Lee could come with us ta show us the way. What do ya think Lee?" Jed asked.
"The tr...truck," Lee Crane stammered. "Are you sure itís safe for such a long drive?"
"Course tis. That truck done drove from here ta Bug Tussel at least four times with nary so much as a cough. Itís got more gumption than any of those newfangled cars. Come on Lee maybe Jethroíll even let ya drive." Granny exclaimed.
"Lee," Chip Morton began, a grin spreading across his face, "You know the Admiral would want you to keep the Clampettís happy and if they want you to drive back with them I think you should."
"Come on Lee, itíll be fun. Granny can sit in her chair and you can sit in the back seat with me. What do ya say?" Elly May asked, smiling radiantly.
"All right Elly. Iíll drive back with you. Oh, Mr. Morton."
Chip looked at his friend innocently. "Yes Captain Crane?"
Crane glared at the grinning man and stated, "Keep it up and youíll find yourself keelhauled."
"Now Lee, you wouldnít do that to me would you?" Chip asked not at all sure his friend was kidding.
"Try me, my friend," Crane stated in a deadly serious voice. He had to turn his face away from Chip before he lost it in a fit of laughter. "Uncle Jed, if itís ok by you weíll leave in the morning," he said, not wanting to drive to Santa Barbara in Jethroís truck after dark.
"Thatís fine Lee. Weíll be ready."
"Jethro, fetch up the bags and Iíll commence gettin the clothes packed. Come along Elly." She turned to Crane, "Oh, Lee, do we need ta take our fancy Sunday duds?"
"I think that would be a good idea Granny. The dedication ceremony is a big party and everyone will be wearing their best clothes."
"Fancy duds it is then." Granny said as she and Elly left the men alone.
"Lee, Iím going to head back and let the Admiral know youíll be bringing the Clampetts tomorrow. That way he can confirm their reservations at the hotel." Chip said as Lee walked him out to the rented Mustang.
"All right, Chip, just make sure they are next to our rooms. The Clampetts are going to need escorts wherever they go. See you tomorrow Chip."
"Ok, Lee, have a good trip back," he said, grinning as he started the car.
"Keep it up Chip! That keelhauling is looming in the near future," Lee grinned back at him.
Lee Crane was pleasantly surprised by the smooth ride he was having in Jethroís truck. He was nestled into the passenger seat with Elly May. Jed was in the front passenger seat next to Jethro and Granny was in her rocking chair high above them all. He grinned as he realized heíd have to thank Chip for goading him into this comfy ride. Not only was it a smooth ride but also he had one of the loveliest companions heíd ever seen. Her simple beauty was stunning. He shook his head as he realized Elly was talking to him. He spotted the Beverly Hills city limits sign as they drove by and smiled as Jethro began to pick up a small amount of speed.
"Sorry Elly, what did you say?" he yelled above the loudly screaming wind.
"I asked if ya was ok? Ya seemed ta be miles away," she said, grinning widely.
"Iím fine Elly," he reached for her hands and forgot to hold his hat. The wind tore it off his head and it flew back the road away from the truck.
"Jethro, ya ave ta go back fer Leeís hat." Elly screamed.
"What did ya say Elly?" Jethro screamed without turning around.
"I said Lee lost his hat. Ya ave ta go back."
"Hang on, Iíll pull over." Jethro pulled the truck over to the side of the road and began to back the truck up slowly.
"Thar it is!" Granny exclaimed as they drove slowly backwards.
Jethro stopped the truck and got out to retrieve it, "Ere ya go, Lee. Maybe ya should hold it in yer hands fer awhile," he chided.
"I think I will Jethro, and thanks," Crane said, grinning as he placed his hat under his hands.
They were soon on the road again and Granny began to sing from her rocker. Lee was surprised at how loud and clear her elderly voice could sing the notes to the familiar tune, "I wish I was in the land of cotton, old times there are not forgotten, Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie land." He stared in awe at the woman as she sang the song from beginning to end without missing a beat.
As she uttered the final words of the song Elly, Jed and Jethro let out a loud, "Yee-haw!" and Lee saw Grannyís face beaming with happiness.
"You can still do em Granny," Elly told the older woman happily.
"Granny, thatís some voice you have there," Lee told her honestly.
"Awe, yer jus sayin that Lee, but thank-ya anyway."
"Iím serious Granny. I donít know any one else who could sing that song from start to finish while driving in an open topped truck and the wind blowing in her face. Granny that really was well done."
"Well then I thank ya kindly Lee," she said proudly as she perched in her rocking chair.
"Which way now Lee?" Jethro asked excitedly, as he drove through the city of Santa Barbara.
"The next street is Channel Drive. I want you to turn left."
Jethro did as he was told and Lee watched their faces as the Four Seasons Resort came into view.
"Is that where weíll be staying?" Elly asked.
"Yes it is Elly. Admiral Nelson arranged for you to stay at The Odell Cottage. It was named for the original owner." Lee told them.
"The Odell Cottage," Granny said. "It sounds like a little house."
"Well, Granny, The Odell Cottage is far from little. It is the best suite at the Four Seasons."
"The dickens ya say. Maybe I should have Mr. Drysdale send me some more money." Jed said seriously.
"Uncle Jed, you donít have to pay for anything. NIMR is picking up the tab. We want you to think of this as a vacation. Here we are Jethro. Just pull up to the front doors."
"Oh Wow!" came a cry from behind them.
Lee Crane smiled at the parking attendants reaction to Jethroís old Truck. He looked at the mans nametag and asked, "Do you think you can drive it, Charlie?"
"Well now, Iíve worked as a parking valet at The Four Seasons for twenty-two years and I thought Iíd driven every make of car or truck but this, this takes the cake." Charlie told him.
"Cake? What Cake?" Jethro asked suddenly realizing he was hungry.
"Jethro, get yer mind off food." Granny scolded him.
"But, Granny, Iím hungry. Itís been almost two hours since we had lunch." Jethro whined.
"Jethro, weíll eat as soon as we check in. Ok?" Crane asked.
"Guess so, Lee." Jethro said in a melancholy voice. "Where do I park?" Jethro asked Charlie.
"Well, sir, you give me your keys and Iíll park it for you." Charlie told him.
"I canít do that. I wonít know where it is when we ave ta go somewhere!" Jethro exclaimed.
"Itís ok Jethro." Crane explained, "this is a service provided by the hotel for all their special visitors. Theyíll park your truck in a safe place until you need it. Then theyíll bring it back to you right here."
Jethro looked as if he still didnít understand, "Are ya sure itís safe Lee. What if he gives the truck to the wrong person?" his eyeís brightened as he realized what this could mean, "Does that mean I get the other persons car?" he asked excitedly.
"No, no Jethro," Lee laughed, "Charlie will make sure you get the right car back."
"Ah, shucks," the young man said in disappointment. He pulled the keys out and passed them over to Charlie.
"Letís get your bags before Charlie takes the truck away." Crane said as he passed the parking valet a couple of bills.
"Lee, why didnít ya say ya had ta pay fer parkin. I coulda done it fer nothing." Jethro exclaimed.
Lee and Charlie smiled at each other. "Thatís ok Jethro. Remember I told you everything was being taken care of by NIMR?" Jethro nodded and they all climbed down from the truck.
Charlie could tell from the way the young man talked that they were not used to being catered to in fancy hotels. He helped pull the carpetbags off the back of the truck and before the Clampetts had a chance to pick them up they were loaded onto a brass trolley and pushed into the hotel.
"Well doggies, look at that. They even take yer clothes fer ya!" Jed Clampett said.
"This eres some place Lee." Elly stated as she looked in awe at the buildings.
"It is beautiful isnít it Elly," he said as he ushered the hillbilly family through the front doors and into the luxurious lobby of the five star hotel.
"Land Oí Goshen." Granny exclaimed happily. " Jus look at all them fancy tables and chairs. Did ya bring us ta the wrong place Lee? This looks like a fancy eatin room."
"Granny," Lee smiled at her innocence, "This is the lobby. See that desk over there?" Granny nodded, "Thatís where we go to sign the register."
"Whereíd they go with our bags?" Jethro asked.
"The bags are already in your cottage," Lee told them. "Here we are." Lee said as they stood in front of the large mahogany desk.
An older man looked up at the family and his eyes narrowed suspiciously. "The servants entrance is out back," he told them.
"Excuse me." Lee Crane said angrily. "We are not servants and if you value your job youíll learn to talk to your guests properly. My name is Lee Crane, you already have me registered and these people are the Clampetts. Theyíll be staying in The Odell cottage as guests of NIMR," the man tried to say something but Lee was so angry with him for jumping to conclusions, that he wouldnít give him the chance. "I think you owe this family an apology, donít you think so?"
"Yes sir. Sorry sir. I....I have a bad habit of speaking to quickly. Iím terribly sorry Mr. Crane," he finished.
"Youíre not done. You still owe the Clampettís an apology." Lee stated.
"Iím sorry Mr. Clampett, I apologize to you and your family for my rude behaviour," he said honestly. "I really am sorry. I have no excuse for talking to you in that manner."
"Apology accepted," Jed said graciously.
"Now then Mr. Wilkes. Can you please check your books and weíll finish registering Mr Clampett and show him and his family to their cottage."
"Yes sir," Wilkes told him. When they were finished registering Wilkes called for a bellhop and gave him the keys to the cottage the Clampetts would be staying in. "Mr. Clampett, I am truly sorry for the what I said and Iíd like to treat you and your family to lunch in The Patio Restaurant."
"Well now thatís mighty neighbourly of ya." Jed told the man.
"Thank-you Mr Wilkes. I think we can forget this little misunderstanding for now. Just make sure it doesnít happen in the future because the family youíre talking to might not be as gracious as The Clampetts."
"I understand Mr. Crane. Jimmy please show the Clampetts to The Odell Cottage. I hope you enjoy your stay." He said as Jimmy led the family out into the courtyard.
"Right this way please. Mr. Crane, I donít like to talk out of place, but Iíd sure like to thank-you for telling Mr. Wilkes off."
"Well now Jimmy, is it?" and the bellhop nodded his head. "I think you should be careful that Mr. Wilkes doesnít hear you." Lee told him.
"Naw, he wonít fire me. Heís my uncle and my fatherís his boss. Iíd love to say those things myself, but my father says, if you canít say something nice donít say nothing at all. He was a Bambi fan."
"I think youíre país right on that score," Jed Clampett laughed.
Jimmy stopped in front of a beautiful white cottage; he put a key in the lock and opened the door, "After you," he said motioning them inside.
"Land Oí Goshen, look at the tables in ere Jed. How many people are gonna stay ere with us?" Granny asked her son in law.
"Tarnation Granny, yer right. Lee, I thought ya said Granny wouldnít ave ta cook fer company. With all these tables and chairs and couches sheíll be constantly cookin vittles." Jed exclaimed.
"This cottage is just for the four of you, and Granny will not be cooking anything. Weíre going to pamper her and treat her like royalty. No cooking, cleaning or any other kind of work." Crane smiled as he passed Jimmy a bill and took the keys. "Iíll show them around Jimmy."
"Thank-you Mr. Crane. Just call the front desk if you need me," he said grinning at the rather generous tip Lee had given him.
"Go ahead and have a look around," Lee told the family.
Granny walked over to a large overstuffed love seat. She ran her hands over the soft white satin material. Smiling, she pulled off her boots, and stretched out on the seat. Her tiny body fit the seat perfectly, "Oh, Jed ave ya ever seen anything so fine?"
"Granny, that thing musta been made jus fer ya." Jethro told her.
"Mmm, I think Iíll be sleepin ere." Granny sighed contentedly.
"Iíd wait until ya see these bedrooms Granny. They sure are big." Elly cried excitedly. "The beds are bigger than the four poster Elverna Bradshaw has in her room back in the hills."
"Aw Go On," Granny said as she jumped up from the seat and hurried to look in the room Elly had just entered. "Land Oí Goshen. Sheís right Jed and thars two a them." She said as she plopped herself down in the middle of the nearest one. "This eres big enough fer all of us and more. I guess Elly and Iíll take this one and we can put a barrier up between the beds so we can have privacy from the men folk."
"I donít think we need ta worry Granny. Thereís another bedroom back ere." Jethro yelled from across the salon.
"The dickens ya say." Jed stated as he left the two women where they were and went to check out the other room.
"Well looky ere Granny, we even ave a bathroom but this eres some kinda weird bathtub." Elly exclaimed. "I ainít never seen one like this before."
Lee couldnít help laughing as he walked into the room the two women would share. "Youíre right, Elly, this isnít an ordinary bathtub. Itís called a Jacuzzi. You fill the tub to the top and when you get in you press this button and powerful jets make the water bubble up around you. Itís very soothing."
"Yer pullin my leg, ainít ya Lee?" Granny said as she swatted him on the back.
"I wouldnít do that to you Granny. I swear thatís how it works."
"Aw Go On. I canít say I ever hear tell of Jets that small. The ones I seen way up in the sky would never fit in there."
Lee Crane fought the urge to laugh at the pure innocence of this woman, "Theyíre not the same kind of Jets Granny. These jets donít fly. They turn in circles and force the water out through the holes."
"They must be small ta fit in there." Elly stated.
"They are Elly. Now if youíre ready I think Jethro mentioned something about being hungry and Iíd say itís as good a time as any to take Mr. Wilkes up on his offer for lunch."
"Ok, Lee, letís go." Granny said going into the salon. "Jed, Jethro, are ya ready fer vittles?"
"Yeehaw, Iím ready Granny. Iím so hungry I could eat a horse." Jethro said.
"Are ya ever any other way Jethro Bodine?" Granny said as they exited the cottage.
"Hi everyone," Chip Morton said as they stepped onto their private patio. "When did you get in?"
"About an hour ago, Chip. We were just going to have lunch at The Patio Restaurant." Lee told him.
"Hey, mind if I join you. Iím starved." Morton said grinning at Crane.
ĎI wonder if you and Jethro are related in some way, you both have rather large appetites,í Crane thought, "Sure Chip, glad to have you." With that the small group headed for the famous restaurant for lunch.
A man dressed in black pants, white short-sleeved dress shirt with ruffles down the front, and a black velvet bow tie, met them at the entrance to the Patio Restaurant. He smiled at the odd group of people in front of him, "Good afternoon. I am Maurice and it will be my pleasure to seat you in our lovely patio garden. How many in your party?"
"Hello Maurice. Weíd like a table for six." Lee Crane answered.
"My pleasure, sir. If youíll just follow me." They were taken to a marble topped table overlooking the ocean. Beautiful white and yellow roses that had just begun to open up surrounded them. The scent of flowers mingled with the enticing aroma of the food being served to the other patrons.
"Boy oh boy, Iím so hungry!" a drooling Jethro stated as he was passed a menu.
"Maurice, youíre friendly desk clerk as kindly offered to pick up our tab. You can call him to verify if you like." Crane told him.
"Yes sir, I will send your waiter right over. Enjoy your meal." Maurice said as he left them alone at their table.
"Well doggies, look at all these glasses and forks. It looks like theyíre planning to fit an army at this table with us," Jed exclaimed.
"No, Uncle Jed, itíll only be us. There are two glasses, one for water and the other is used for wine," Lee explained.
"Couldnít they ave jus put one glass and when ya finish yer water they could put the wine in it. I pity the poor woman who has ta wash all these extra dishes when thereís no need. Why three forks?" Granny asked sternly.
"Granny, thereís one fork for salad, one for the main course and one for dessert." Chip told her.
"Land Oí Goshen, this place must be run by men who donít care how many dishes their women ave ta do. Iíd like ta ave a talk with them. Make them wash the extra dishes."
Lee pictured Granny in the hotels spacious kitchen yelling at the men or women for using the extra dishes. He was barely able to contain his laughter, "Granny," he said reaching out to take her hand.
"Thereís more than one person doing the dishes and they also have a big dishwasher. All they have to do is put the dishes in and turn the machine on and it cleans and dries them."
"The dickens ya say." Jed said incredulously.
"I never heard tell of a machine ta do dishes. Jed ya gots ta git me one of them things." Granny said, looking at her son in law hopefully.
"Weíll ask Mr. Drysdale where ta git one when we go back home." Jed told her.
"Thank-you Jed." She stopped as a young man dressed almost exactly like Maurice came over to the table.
"Hi, My name is Allen. Are you ready to order?" he asked in a courteous voice.
"Well now, Allen, I donít think anyone even looked at the menu. Why donít you give us a couple of more minutes?" Chip told him.
"Yes sir. Would you like me to tell you the chefs special?"
"Yes please," Lee answered.
"The lunch special is baked sea bass in a creamy wine sauce, served with your choice of fluffy white and wild rice, or baked Idahoan potato. The soup of the day is creamy broccoli and cheese. Iíll leave you to look at the menus and be back in a moment."
"Thank-you Allen, thatíll be fine," Lee said to the retreating waiter. "Any idea what youíd like ladies?" he asked.
"I think Iíll try these ere es...escar...escargot." Granny said sounding out the foreign word. "What are they?"
Lee Crane had been sipping from the water glass and almost choked when he heard what granny was thinking of ordering. "I wouldnít advise Escargot Granny," he advised, knowing she would not enjoy the appetizer.
"Why not Lee?" Granny asked innocently.
"Granny Escargot is a French delicacy." Chip told her. "Theyíre snails." He said not knowing any other way to explain what they were.
"Snails, yuck. Look at this place. Fancy floors, fancy lights, fancy tables and chairs, even the waiters are fancy. Wouldnít ya think they could afford ta serve real meat, like possum and squirrel? Ten dollars fer snails." She said at what she thought was an outrageous price for slugs. "I think Iíd like ta have ya order for me Lee."
"Ok Granny, Iím going to have the chefs special. Would you like to try that as well?" Lee asked her.
"Iíll try it but I may not like it. Oh I want a bowl of that soup as well. At least thatís somethin I know I like."
"Iím gonna ave the hamburger delight," Elly said, turning to her father she asked, "What are ya gonna ave Pa?"
"I think Iíll ave the same as Granny and Lee."
"Me too," Jethro told them, hungrily licking his lips in anticipation.
Lee Crane signalled for their waiter and they each placed their order. It wasnít long before they had their soups and Granny was pleasantly surprised that a restaurant that would serve snails could make such a delicious soup, "That sure was a fine drop of soup," she said as she put her spoon on the table.
Allen was very efficient as he cleared the bowls and utensils, and then brought out the main dishes.
"Uh oh," Granny said when heíd left them alone. "I donít think thatís gonna be enough fer Jethro. Heís a growin boy ya know."
"Iíll jus ave a bigger dessert Granny," Jethro told her, a huge grin on his face as he dug into his meal.
Lee still found it hard to believe how quickly Jethro could put away large amounts of food in such a short period of time. He looked down at his own plate as Jethro finished the last morsel of sea bass, ĎI wish I had half his appetite,í he thought as he pushed his half eaten entree away from him.
"Hey Lee, ainít ya gonna finish that?" Jethro asked, hungrily eyeing the leftover food on Cranes plate.
Lee pushed the plate towards Jethro and smiled, "Help yourself Jethro. Iím glad itís not going to go to waste."
"Now, Lee, how ya gonna gain weight when ya donít eat enough ta feed a bird?" Granny exclaimed.
"Docís always after him to eat more," Chip told the family.
"See, all yer doctors give ya the same advice. Yer only a youngun and have ta keep up yer strength. Now ya listen ta doctor Granny. Order yerself a big heapin bowl of dessert and donít give it ta Jethro."
"Ahh shucks, Granny. I wasnít gonna take his dessert." Jethro stated, trying to hide his disappointment.
The waiter arrived and finished clearing away the remaining dishes. He soon returned with a dessert cart filled with strawberry shortcakes, black forest cake, cinnamon rolls with a buttery icing, assorted cheesecakes, puddings, Jell-O molds and whipped creams. There was also a large assortment of fresh fruit. "What can I get you?" he asked the group.
"Iíll have one of each," Jethro said seriously, bringing a laugh from Lee and Chip. "Whatís funny? Iím still hungry." Jethro asked.
"Ya heard the boy. Give him what he wants." Jed said.
Allen shook his head as he cut small pieces of the cakes and placed them in front of Jethro. He began to dig in and Lee had little doubt as to whether he could finish them all off.
Lee and Chip asked for pieces of blueberry cheesecake while Granny, Jed and Elly each asked for pieces of the cinnamon rolls topped with whipped cream.
When the meal was done Lee and Chip followed the family back to their room where they could finish unpacking and decide what they wanted to do with the rest of the day. Chip had to leave to attend a meeting with Harriman Nelson and Lee had been left alone to keep the family occupied for the remainder of the day.
"Ok, Lee, what do ya suggest fer this afternoon?" Elly asked.
"Well, Elly, I was thinking about taking everyone to the Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens."
"Whatís that? Jethro asked.
"Itís a place where you can see animals from all over the world."
"Critters, Yeehaw," Elly shouted excitedly.
"I donít want ta go see no critters, "Jethro stated. "I want ta go see yer submarine Lee. Ellyís got lots a critters at home."
"You will get to see Seaview, Jethro," Lee told him. "We just canít go there today. You all need to get visitors passes and they wonít be ready until later this afternoon. By then it would be to late to have a tour. I really think youíll enjoy the Zoo. There are so many animals there. Have you ever seen an elephant or a tiger?"
"Whatís an elephant?" Jethro asked becoming interested in spite of himself.
"The elephants at this zoo are from Asia. They weigh over ten thousand pounds. Have big floppy ears, and a trunk. Why donít we all just go and you can see for yourself. Trust me, Jethro, itís worth seeing."
"I ainít never been ta a zoo," Granny stated. "I donít think any of us ave."
"Thatís right Granny. Ok, Lee, What do we need ta take?" Jed asked.
"Actually, Uncle Jed, everythingís been taken care of. I knew how much Elly liked animals and I figured the rest of you would enjoy seeing them as well. Just grab a light sweater and weíll be on our way." Lee said with a grin.
"I donít think weíre gonna git in there Lee. Look at all the people." Elly said, disappointment written on her face.
"Thatís where youíre wrong Elly. We have a VIP tour scheduled. That means weíll be going through that gate over there," Crane said pointing to an entrance that was devoid of people. "There should be a tour guide waiting for us. Admiral Nelson is one of the Zoos biggest contributors and they like to make sure that heís able to get in at any time." He told them as he led the group to the gate in question.
A young woman wearing a blue skirt and white blouse met them; her long brown hair was tied back in a ribbon of blue and white stripes that perfectly accented her uniform. "Captain Crane?" she asked, looking straight at Lee.
"Thatís right Sandy," he said looking at her Zoo nametag. "These are the Clampetts," he said indicating the others. "This is Jed Clampett, his daughter Elly May, his mother in law Daisy May Moses, and his nephew Jethro Bodine."
"Pleased to meet you all. My name is Sandy Miller and Iíll be taking you on your guided tour of the famous Santa Barbara Zoo. If youíll follow me weíll get your VIP packages and be on our way."
The group began to follow Sandy into the white visitors building. Once inside she gave them each a badge with their names on them. She also passed them each a book on the history of the zoo that included pictures of the species that inhabited the grounds.
Granny opened her book and the first thing she saw was a picture of a large Gorilla. "Elly, look at this monkey. If Betsy gets ta be this big weíre gonna ave ta give her a bigger room."
Lee looked over her shoulder and smiled as he explained what she was really seeing, "Granny, thatís not a chimpanzee like Betsy, itís a Gorilla. Gorillas grow much bigger than chimps."
"Thank goodness. I wouldnít wanna ave ta make dresses fer this critter. Itís bad enough makin them fer the rest of Ellyís critters." Granny grumbled.
"Do you have a lot of pets, Elly?" Sandy asked, smiling at the pretty blonde.
"Elly probably has more critters than this ere zoo does." Jethro said seriously. "She even has a big old lion."
"Not a real Lion?" Sandy asked as she led her group from the building to a waiting trolley.
"Wishbone is a real Lion. Heís real friendly to, wouldnít hurt a flea." Elly told her.
"Is he full grown?" Sandy asked, concerned that this family would have a lion as their family pet.
"I think so. I got im two years ago. His owner was being real mean ta him. Iíve looked after him ever since and heís just like a little kitty."
"Elly, lions can be dangerous," Sandy explained.
"Not Wishbone." Elly stated.
"I hope your right Elly," Sandy told her. Climbing into the front seat she introduced the man behind the wheel, "This is our driver, his name is Jay and heíll be taking us on our tour." Everyone said hello and the trolley began its run through the zoo. She turned in her seat so she was facing her group, "There will be compounds on both sides of the path and weíll be making stops at each one so you can get out and see the animals up close. If you have any questions please feel free to ask." Sandy told them. "We should be coming up on the first of our bird exhibits. The compound on the left contains mostly waterfowl, while the one on the right contains many different species of songbird."
"Birds, Elly can tell ya all about birds. Member when ya went birdwatchin with that fella, oh whatís his name, ahh, Casper Biddle, thatís it. Right Elly?" Granny interrupted excitedly.
"Yes it is Granny. Casper Biddle of the BBWC."
"What does BBWC stand for?" Sandy asked.
"Biddle Bird Watchers Club," Elly told her. "Casper was always lookin fer birds. He was a strange goomer. Knew the name of every bird we saw."
"He sounds like he knew a lot about birds."
"Knew more about birds than girls," Jethro said quietly.
"Thatís fer sure, that goomer was more interested in lookin at birds than at Elly. Maybe he needed glasses." Granny stated and everyone laughed.
"Here we are. Why donít we get off and weíll take a walk through the path and Iíll show you our bird collection." The group followed her into the compound that housed the waterfowl.
"What a racket!" Jed stated putting his hands over his ears to tune out the noisy squawks, tweets and whistling sounds that greeted him upon entering. "Is it always this noisy?"
"Iím afraid so, Mr. Clampett. But we get used to it. If you look to your right youíll see one of my favourite birds in the exhibit. Itís called the East African Crowned Crane."
"Hey, Lee, is that one of yer relatives?" Jethro asked with a laugh.
"I donít think so, Jethro, although I do have a cousin who has his hair styled the same way." Lee said grinning at the young man.
"Whatís that funny lookin one?" Jed asked, pointing at a bird that stood on itís own.
"Thatís a Roseate Spoonbill, Mr. Clampett, and the ones on his right are called Black necked swans. There are also many kinds of ducks."
"Ducks make fer good eatin. Iíve hunted them back in Bug Tussel. Wouldnít be much of a hunt ta catch these though." Jed Clampett stated innocently.
"Thereís no hunting allowed on Zoo grounds Mr. Clampett. All the animals are protected." Sandy explained.
"The dickens ya say," Jed declared. "I ainít never hear tell of a place to protect animals. Elly protects all her critters so I guess our mansion could be called a zoo."
"How many animals do you have, Elly?" Sandy asked curiously.
"I dunno. I never counted em. Must be near a hundred or more, leastways it seems like it." Elly told her as they left the bird sanctuary, "Grannyís always complainin when they get underfoot, but I think she loves them."
"Iím glad to hear you take care of your pets, Elly. Maybe you can send me some pictures of your critters."
"I will Sandy." Elly assured her.
"Now in this sanctuary we have a large variety of parrots and songbirds. Elly, maybe youíll be able to recognize some of them from your bird watching days. I can use the help." Sandy told the girl. "Here we are," she said as she stopped in front of the first set of large cages.
"Hey I know that one," Elly said excitedly pointing to a small bird perched on a branch at the side of the cage. "Casper showed me a picture, itís a Toco Toucan."
"Your right Elly. Thatís what itís called."
"Whatís that coloured one over there?" Jed asked pointing to a group of small birds.
"Those are aptly called Lilac-Breasted Rollers, because of their colourful plumage. There are many types of finch in here as well as the Pintail Wydah, Orange Cheeked Waxbills and Blue-Grey Tanagers." Sandy informed them.
"What are these big ones over here?" Granny asked as she walked up to another large cage.
"These are our Parrots. The group in the corner are Sun Conures and they come from the Amazon Basin."
"Oh, they are so beautiful!" Elly exclaimed.
"Yes they are," Sandy agreed before pointing out another parrot. "The big one there with the long brightly coloured tail is called a Scarlet Macaw." They spent another half hour learning the names of the different species of birds. Sandy finished the tour of the bird sanctuary and they returned to the waiting trolley.
When the trolley began to move Sandy told the group about the next stop, "This next building holds American Alligators as well as many species of lizards, snakes and turtles. Here we are," she said as the trolley came to a stop and they all climbed out. "This way please," she said as she took them into the first of the exhibits. "This is the American alligator, females can grow up to eight feet while the male can reach lengths of twelve feet. The alligators jaw is very powerful and when opened can snap down with extreme force."
"Back in the hills near Bug Tussel there was a goomer who had an alligator for a pet, kep him in a cage. This guy would stick his head right in the alligators mouth whenever people would visit." Jed Clampett told the group.
"That man was crazy! Itís a wonder the Alligator didnít bite his head off." Sandy stated.
"He tried but was never fast enough," laughed Granny.
Sandy smiled and pointed out the next cage filled with different lizards, "In here we have Bearded Dragons and the common Green Iguana. We are planning on adding many more species of lizards as we grow. Now if we move on to this next cage youíll be able to view our snakes."
"Snakes, yuck," Granny exclaimed.
"I donít like snakes very much either but at least these are in cages and canít get at us," Sandy laughed.
"What is that pretty green one called, Sandy?" Elly asked pointing at a lone snake.
"Thatís an Emerald Tree Boa."
"Is it dangerous?" Jethro asked.
"All snakes can be dangerous, Jethro, especially when mistreated. People have been keeping snakes as pets for a long time. Unfortunately when the snakes reach maturity their owners become frightened and most of them just set the snake free in parks or forested areas. That can be very dangerous. We would prefer they called animal rescue and ask them where to bring the unwanted pet. We do have an adoption program for every species," Sandy explained.
"Thatís sad," Elly said.
"Yes it is," Lee agreed.
They moved to the next set of cages and Sandy pointed out the Burmese Python, California King snake, and a King Cobra.
"If youíre all ready weíll move along to the larger exhibits which house such animals as lions, tigers, elephants and many more." Sandy said as she led them once again back to the trolley. "Most of the exhibits youíre about to see are made so that the animals can be viewed in their natural habitat. We pride ourselves on being one of the few Zoos that take the time and money to do this. Of course the Lions and tigers are kept separate from the Giraffes, gazelle and other herbivores."
"Whatís a herbivore?" Jethro asked.
"A herbivore is an animal who eats chiefly grass and plants."
"Like cows and horses?" Granny asked curiously.
"Thatís right," Sandy told her. "Here we are," she said as she pointed to a fenced in area. Turning to the driver she said, "Jay, I think weíll just walk through these exhibits since theyíre so close together. Why donít you take a break and meet us at the lion cages in two hours?"
"Thanks, Sandy, I am getting kind of hungry. Feeding time at the zoo you know," he said, laughing at his own joke.
"Right you are, Jay. Go feed that bottomless pit of yours." Sandy told the young man.
"Hey, what about me? Iím hungry too." Jethro exclaimed, rubbing his growling stomach.
"Jethro Bodine, youíre always hungry!" Granny stated.
Lee was beginning to believe Granny was right. "I tell you what, Jethro, when weíre finished our tour of the Zoo weíll have an early dinner. Ok?"
"Iíll try to hold out until then," Jethro whined petulantly.
"You got a belly like a long boot," Jed told his nephew.
"What are those critters with the long necks?" Granny asked pointing at two spotted, long legged, long necked animals.
"Those are Baringo Giraffes. The long necks help them to reach leaves that are to high for other animals to get to." Sandy explained.
"Oh, Granny, look at the tongue on that critter," Jed told her.
Granny couldnít help but laugh at the way the animal was able to stick its tongue out and latch onto the leaves that were well above its head. "Must be related to Elverna Bradshaw. I swear her tongue is probably longer than that critters. She sure does talk a lot, seems like I can never get a word in edgewise. Even looks a little like Elverna," Granny laughed.
"Now, Granny, be nice." Jed said.
"I thought I was being nice. You know Elverna as well as I do. Sheís probably runnin me down ta anyone whoíll listen." Granny complained.
"I take it you and Elverna Bradshaw donít like each other very much?" Lee asked.
"Oh we like each other just fine as long as sheís where she is and Iím where I am." Granny laughed. "Thatís enough about Elverna, why donít we see some more of these critters?"
"Does any one have any questions about Giraffes?" Sandy asked.
"I do, Sandy," Elly said, "Where can I git me one?"
Sandy smiled at the young woman before her, "Elly, these animals are not allowed to be kept as private pets. As a matter of fact most of our animals come from countries all over the world and a lot of them are endangered species. See that herd to the right of the Giraffes," they all turned to the animals she was pointing at, "Those are also herbivores. Theyíre called Chinese Muntjac. They are of the deer family but only grow to approximately two feet tall and weigh between thirty and forty pounds. There are also Alpaca and domestic sheep."
"You sure know plenty about all the critters," Elly said enviously. "Where did you learn all these things?"
"Well, Elly, Iíve learned a lot of it from working with the animals and the Zoologists who work here. They are a great group of people. Theyíre willing to teach the people who work closely with the animals, like me, everything they can to help them." Sandy answered. "Iím also going to school to learn veterinary medicine. That way if the animals get sick Iíll know how to help them."
"Pa, can I go ta that school?" Elly asked her father hopefully.
"Naw, ya canít go ta that school Elly. First ya ave ta get yer grade six education like me. Yer jus a dumb hillbilly girl."
"Jethro! Apologize to yer cousin," Jed said sternly.
Jethro put his head down before speaking, "Sorry Elly," he whined.
"Jethro, if ya keep this up yaíll be facin a trip ta the woodshed when we git home," Granny told him.
"Yesím Granny," Jethro said.
Lee smiled at the unbelieving look on Sandyís face. He knew she must have been thinking how strange this family was. "Itís ok Sandy," he whispered to her, "I donít understand everything either but they are a very loving family."
Sandy smiled as she led them up to the next fenced in pen.
"Hey, thatís the goomer on the front of the book ya gave us." Granny said excitedly pointing at a large primate.
"Youíre right. This is our Gorilla exhibit. The males are normally twice the size of the females. As the males grow older they develop grey hair down theyíre backs, thatís where the name silverbacks comes from. Gorillas are considered an endangered species." Sandy told the group.
"Itís a shame how we, as human beings, are causing the destruction of so many species. Thatís one of the reasons NIMR has become involved in cleaning up the oceans. The pollution of the oceans is also causing the death of many oceanic species. We have to smarten up and protect the natural resources, which includes the wildlife." Crane said seriously.
"Back in the hills where we come from animals are plentiful." Jed declared.
"Thatís because you only hunt animals for food. Not for sport. Elephants are hunted for their Ivory tusks. Once killed the hunters remove the tusks and leave the carcass to rot in the sun. Rhinos are also on the brink of extinction." Crane told the family, " Look, Uncle Jed, youíre already doing a lot to help clean up the oceans. If you want you can make a donation to the endangered species fund and help the land based animals as well."
"Iíll talk ta Mr. Drysdale when I get back ta Beverly Hills," Jed told him.
"Now, why donít we continue with our tour?" Sandy asked. "The next cages are full of different species of monkeys and apes. This first species is the Spectacled Langur."
"Oh, they are so cute. Can I git one pa?" Elly asked.
"I donít think Betsy would take kindly to another monkey invading her space. No Elly, one chimp is enough." Jed told the disappointed girl.
"Elly, thereís a difference between monkeys and chimps. I think your father is right in saying Betsy might be a little jealous," seeing the young girls smile return to her face, Sandy pointed to the next cage. "Now this is one of my favourites because of the brightly coloured fur and mane. Itís called the Golden Lion Tamarin."
"They sure are pretty, but kinda puny." Laughed Granny.
"They are tiny Monkeys, only weighing in at around one pound. If you could feel their coats it would feel kind of silky." Sandy explained. "Now this next cage contains the Common Squirrel Monkey."
"Aw Go On, how can they be a squirrel and a monkey. I ainít never hear tell of such a thing. Have you Lee?" Jethro asked, disbelief written on his face.
"Itís just the name theyíve been given probably because they look a little like both animals." Crane explained.
Granny laughed in excitement as she leaned closer to the cage, "donít make no never mind what ya call em. Iím willin to make squirrel stew outta em."
"I donít think thatís a good idea Granny, once again the squirrel Monkey is an endangered species and therefore you canít hunt them." Lee told her.
"Are ya sure, Lee?"
"Positive Granny," he said.
ĎWell thatís the end of our primate exhibit, would you like to see the Elephants next?" Sandy asked.
"Elee-phants, thatís the big ones with the floppy ears and trunk?" Granny asked.
"Thatís right, we only have two here but weíre really proud of them. They are of the Asian species and have lived here nearly three years. Not all Asian elephants have tusks but we were lucky enough that our male grew them. Females of the species donít grow tusks at all. There they are," Sandy said.
"Whatís he doin?" Jethro asked.
"Thatís how they take their baths. They use their trunks to pick up water and spray themselves with it. In the summer it also helps keep them cool." Sandy didnít have time to finish speaking when the female elephant sprayed the group with her trunk full of water. "Hey Juju, you know youíre not supposed to wet the guests," she laughed as she berated the elephant.
"Thatís ok, Sandy, feels kinda cool," Elly said with a grin.
"Well I guess itís on to our last stop of the day. This next exhibit is made up of our large cats."
"Large cats," Elly said excitedly. "Do you mean the lions and tigers?"
"Thatís right, Elly, we have lions, tigers and leopards." Sandy told them as they walked up to the next compound. "The lions are of the African species."
"Which one is the African Lion? I see two different kinds." Jethro asked curiously.
"Actually, Jethro, they are all of the African species. The males are the ones with the mane, the female has no mane and she is also the hunter. She hunts down the prey and brings it back to the male."
"See, Granny, I told ya women are ere ta cook fer us men!" Jethro commented.
Granny eyes narrowed and her cheeks flared as she glared at Jethro, "When we git home weíll see whoíll be doin the cookin and whoíll be doin the eatin."
"If ya know whatís good fer ya boy, yaíd best be beggin Granny ta forgive ya." Jed told his nephew.
"But Uncle Jed. Iím a man. I donít ave ta cook. Thatís womenís work."
"Jethro," Granny said in a quiet voice that warned Jed how close she was to blowing her stack. "If ya want ta eat any of the vittles I make fer this family yaíd better take that back."
"But Granny," he didnít see Grannyís little bag until it walloped him in the back of his head.
Jed grabbed Granny around the waist and lifted her under his arms while she struggled to keep hitting the object of her ire. "JETHRO!" he yelled. "Stop arguin with Granny," he said, still trying to hold her back, "If ya ever want ta eat at Grannyís table agin youíll apologize now."
Jethro heard his stomach grumbling and realized his Uncle was right. He needed to apologize to Granny if he ever wanted to eat her vittles again, "Iím sorry Granny. I was wrong."
"Ya can put me down now, Jed." Granny told her son in law, "Iím ok. Jethro, yaíd better just watch yer mouth from now on. Iím ready ta see the next critters, maybe thereíll be one big enough fer me ta feed the boy to!" she laughed at her own humour.
Sandy brought them to the next compound and pointed, "This compound holds the Amur Leopards. They can be identified by their beautiful spotted coat."
"Mrs. Drysdale had one of those. I think she gave it to a Zoo. She didnít know how ta look after it properly." Elly said quietly watching the animals.
"As I said before, there are a lot of people out there who donít know anything about the pets they choose to keep," Sandy said softly. "Ah here comes Jay. Looks like he timed it perfectly. Weíll take you back to the main gates where you will be able to visit our gift shop. I hope youíve all enjoyed your visit to the Santa Barbara Zoo."
"I surely did, Sandy," Jethro told the tour guide.
"Me too," Granny said.
"It sure was fun," Elly told her.
"Thanks, Sandy, for making this such a fun filled and informative adventure," Crane told the smiling young woman as they climbed tiredly into the trolley.
An hour later, with newly wrapped packages in hand, the group made their way out to a waiting car for the trip back to the Four Seasons Hotel.
"I thought we were gonna git something ta eat?" Jethro whined.
"We are, Jethro. Is there something in particular that youíd like to have?" Lee asked.
"Iíve got a hankerin fer some of that stuff I saw those kids in front of the Zoo eatin. It smelled real good," Jethro stated.
"Itís called Pizza, and yes it is good. Is that ok with the rest of you?" Crane asked.
"Well, Lee, Iím kinda tired. Is there any way we can git this pizza and eat it back at the hotel?" Granny asked.
"I tell you what Iíll do Granny. Iíll call Chip Morton and have him meet us at your room with the pizza. How does that sound?"
"Sounds wonderful Lee," she said as she rested her head against the back of her seat and closed her eyes.
"Would anyone like to watch television?" Lee asked, when theyíd all settled down to wait for Chip and the pizza to arrive.
"Sure thing Lee, go ahead and turn it on." Elly said, settling into one of the overstuffed chairs.
Lee turned the TV on just in time for the opening theme to Green Acres.
"I like this one," Granny said excitedly. "I git a kick outta her. She talks real funny. Leave it on Lee." Suddenly the whole family was singing along with the television, "Green acres is the place ta be, farm livin is the life for me, land spreadin out so far and wide, keep Manhattan jus gimme that countryside."
Lee smiled as he listened to the tired, off key voices. It had been a long day for all of them. The drive from Beverly Hills in Jethroís truck had taken longer than normal because the truck didnít have the speed of the newer autos. Then there was the tour of the Santa Barbara Zoo, which had taken almost four hours from start to finish. It was now eighteen hundred hours and Lee was beginning to think that if Chip didnít arrive with the pizza soon heíd have to eat it all himself. He kept glancing at the TV program they were laughing at and realized it was rather funny.
ĎLisa was making pancakes on a griddle and Oliver was about to use them as head gaskets in his car.í
He was still in the throes of laughter when the door opened and Chip Morton walked in with three large boxes marked Dominos Pizza, a case of soda and a brown bag.
"Vittles," Jethro yelled, jumping up from his seat he grabbed one of the boxes and opened it before anyone else even realized what heíd said.
Lee took the other boxes and placed them on the large table, as the last remnants of the Green Acres theme faded. "Youíre just in time Chip. Did you bring paper plates?"
Chip smiled as he opened the brown bag and pulled out a package of Chinet paper plates and placed them next to the opened boxes of pizza. "Ok, folks, we have three different pizzas here. This one is plain Cheese and pepperoni, this one is a favourite of mine called the Hawaiian; it has ham, cheese and pineapple. The last one is a meat lovers, with pepperoni, ham, sausage and bacon. Help yourself to whatever you want."
"Iím glad to see you didnít get any of them little fish on them." Lee said as he dug into the meat loverís pizza. Granny and Elly were enjoying the Hawaiian, Jed was eating a slice of pepperoni and Jethro was enjoying anything that was within his reach.
Chip silently congratulated himself for remembering how much Jethro could eat. Heíd ordered two Pizzas, but quickly changed his mind and ordered an extra one. He shook his head in silent wonder as Jethro polished off slice after slice of the delicious Pizza. ĎLee better not complain about my stomach anymore,í he thought.
"Jed, I think weíll be avin this Pizza stuff at home. It sure is tasty," Granny said, trying, unsuccessfully to cover a yawn.
Taking it as a sign that the family was as tired as he was, Lee signalled Chip that they should say goodnight.
"Well, I guess itís time for us to say goodnight," Lee said as he picked up the empty boxes and other garbage. "Get some rest because tomorrow Admiral Nelson has arranged for you to have a tour of Seaview."
"Yee-Haw," Jethro yelled excitedly. "Are we gonna go underwater?"
"Youíll just have to wait and see Jethro. Iíll talk with the Admiral and weíll see what he thinks. How does that sound?" Crane asked.
"Sounds good, Lee. Do you think heíll do it?" Jethro asked.
"As I said weíll have to wait and see. Good night and sleep well."
"Good night everyone." Chip said.
"Good night Lee, Chip," Granny, Elly, Jethro and Jed said almost in unison.
Lee and Chip spent the following morning arranging for the Clampetts tour of Seaview. They needed special badges in order to enter NIMR and Seaview. Lee had them tucked into his pocket when he stopped by to pick up the family.
Elly answered the door in a powder blue sundress, her hair tied back with matching blue ribbons. Lee Crane found himself openly staring in awe at the beautiful hillbilly girl. "Elly, You look positively wonderful," he said, a sheepish grin on his face.
"Ya look wonderful too, Lee," she said. ĎI surely do like this man in uniform, especially when he looks so good in it,í she thought as she ushered him inside. "Granny is just getting dressed. Pa and Jethro went for a walk on the beach. They should be back any time." Elly told him.
"Thatís ok Elly. We donít have to be at NIMR for two hours. Chip is arranging for a car to pick us up in plenty of time."
The door to the room Elly and Granny shared opened and the older woman came out. She was dressed in an ankle length cream coloured dress. It was trimmed at the collar, waist and hem with a slim line of brown ribbon. In her hand she held a small hat that would perfectly accent her dress. On her feet she wore her black boots that laced up the front. Lee couldnít help thinking she had more energy and wisdom than most women half her age.
"Good morning Lee," she said.
"Good morning Granny. I hope you slept well." Lee told her.
"Slept like a log. I must say ya really know how ta wear out these old bones of mine."
"Iím sorry, Granny, I didnít realize yesterday had taken such a toll on you. Maybe we should postpone the tour of Seaview until youíre ready," Lee said, a worried frown on his face.
"Aw Go On with ya, Lee. Grannyís jus pullin yer leg, sheís got more gumption than anyone I know." Elly laughed.
"Ellyís right, Lee. Iím jus kiddin with ya. Iím ready and rarin ta go," she said, glad to see the young mans face relax a little.
"Ok, Granny, I believe you." Lee told her laughingly.
The main door to the room opened and Jed and Jethro walked in, "Good Morning, Lee," Jed said warmly.
"Howdy, Lee. Yer so lucky ta be livin so close ta the ocean." Jethro said enviously.
"Good Morning Uncle Jed, Jethro. If you think the ocean is beautiful from the shore wait until you see it from Seaview." Lee said, watching Jethroís face light up with pleasure.
"Ya mean we git ta go fer a ride in yer Submarine!" Jethro said.
"Thatís right Jethro. Admiral Nelson gave the ok this morning. It will only be a short trip, but at least youíll get to see what itís like to ride in a sub," Lee said.
"Yee-Haw," Jethro whooped.
"Do we all get ta go?" Elly asked.
"Of course Elly. First weíll tour NIMR then weíll take the Seaview out for a short run. How does that sound?" he asked.
"That sound great, Lee. Boy oh boy, Iím goin on a Submarine," Jethro shouted as he lifted Granny up in his arms and swung her around the room.
"Put me down, Jethro," Granny told him.
"Put Granny down boy, before ya hurt her," Jed told him.
"But Uncle Jed, I can lift her easy." Jethro said.
"I know ya can boy, but put her down before she hurts ya." Jed stated seriously.
Jethro glanced at Grannyís face and realized he could be in for a serious whuppin if he didnít do as he was told. He gently placed the tiny woman back on her feet.
As soon as her feet touched the ground Granny swung her small bag connecting with his head. "I tol ya never ta do that again." Granny said as she continued to chase Jethro around the room until Jed caught her by the bow on the back of her dress.
"Thatís enough Granny. I think Jethroís learned his lesson. Right Boy?"
"Yes sir Uncle Jed." He said, rubbing his head where Granny had repeatedly hit him.
"So hep me Jethro, if ya ever do that agin, ya wonít sit down fer a month. Iíll find me the biggest switch and tan yer hide." Granny told him.
Crane smiled at the hillbilly antics and decided heíd try and diffuse the situation, "Why donít we all go outside and wait for Chip. Itís a beautiful day and I believe the fresh air will do us all some good."
"I think yer right about that." Jed said ushering them all out the door so he could lock up the room.
"I canít wait till we go on yer sub, Lee, canít we do that part first?" Jethro asked hopefully.
"Well now, Jethro, itís really important to stick to schedules. We are taking the NIMR tour first so that the men have time to finish loading supplies. That way when we do board Seaview we arenít interfering with anyoneís duties." Lee explained. "The tour should take a couple of hours. Then weíll board Seaview where Cookie is preparing one of his specialties for you to enjoy."
"Cookie?" Granny asked.
"Heís Seaviewís chef. Heís one of the best in or out of the navy. Youíd love his Navy bean soup." Lee said; smiling as he remembered the last time Cookie had made a batch of his favourite soup. "Hereís Chip," he said.
"Hello everyone. Are you ready to go?" Chip asked.
"All set," Lee answered.
The air-conditioned car pulled to a stop in front of the main gates. Lee rolled down his window and waited for the two armed guards to walk over to him. "Good morning, Terry, Stephan. Is Admiral Nelson in his office?"
"Good morning Captain Crane," Terry said lowering his head to get a better look at the occupants of the car. "Oh, good morning Commander Morton. I didnít see you there." Chip acknowledged the greeting with a smile and the guard turned his attention to the other four people. He took note of their special visitor permits, "and these people must be our special guests."
"Thatís right, Terry, this is the Clampett family. Theyíre the reason weíre able to launch the new mini sub three weeks in advance."
"You can go right on in Captain." Terry told him, and Lee told the driver to take them up to the building that housed the main offices, including Nelsonís and Cranes. "Why donít we check in with Admiral Nelson? Maybe we can convince him to give us his own personal tour of NIMR. Chip, Iíd like you to oversee that preparations for Seaviewís departure are proceeding as planned."
"Iíll see to it, Lee," Chip told him, knowing he was only one of three men Lee trusted to take care of his boat, Nelson and Crane himself, being the other two. "Iíll see you all in a few hours. Enjoy yourselves."
"Thanks, Chip," Lee said to Mortonís retreating back. "Ok, if your ready weíll go inside and find the Admiral." He led them in through the main doors where they stopped at a desk, "Hi, Theresa, this is the Clampett family. Theyíll be our special guests for the next couple of days. Is the Admiral in his office?" he asked, trying to mask the contempt he had for the woman sitting at the desk.
"Yes he is, Lee," the red head said in her sultry voice.
"Thank you. Letís go," he told the Clampetts. Teresa was a beautiful woman, and she was always trying to get Crane or Morton to take her out. She couldnít seem to take no for an answer, but neither man had any interest in the cold hearted woman.
The cunning redhead instantly intrigued Jethro, "Howdy Teresa, Iím Jethro Bodine. Iím a double knot spy and a world famous playboy. Will ya go out with me?" he begged.
"Iím sorry Jethro, I donít think you could afford to take me to the places I like to go," she told him, "Youíre just not my style."
"Iíll change, Iíll be whatever ya want. Yer so perty and I can take ya anywhere ya want ta go. My Uncle Jed ereís got twenty-five million dollars in Mr. Drysdaleís bank. He gives me an allowance every week. Please say youíll go out with me," Jethro whined childishly. When she didnít answer immediately he lowered his head and walked back to his family.
Teresa looked from Jethro to the older man with hunger in her eyes, Ďhow can this old coot have that much money. If he does why doesnít he have better clothes. Maybe Iíll keep an eye on the younger one. If his uncle does have that kind of money, maybe I can get Jethro to spend some of it on me,í she thought greedily.
"Lee, can I speak with you?" she asked.
"Wait here," Lee told the Clampetts. "What do you want Teresa?" he asked, not bothering to hide his obvious contempt for this money hungry woman.
"Is it true that Mr. Clampett has twenty-five million dollars?" she asked, her greed apparent to Lee Crane.
"Teresa, Iím warning you not to interfere with this family, or you could find yourself on the unemployment line." Lee told her flatly.
"What I do on my own time is my business!"
"Not when it involves people I care about. Especially when theyíre not used to your conniving ways. Leave the Clampetts alone." Lee said, as he turned his back on her and rejoined the family.
He missed the angry glare from the woman behind the desk. ĎYouíll regret that Lee,í she thought.
ĎIíll have to speak with the Admiral about getting rid of that Barracuda. I donít want her hurting Jethro, and thatís exactly whatíll happen if she gets her claws into him. Heís to naive to know what sheís like.í Lee thought. "The Admiralís office is just around the corner," he told them as he led the way through the long corridor. "Here we are," he said, opening a large door that held a brass plate with Nelsonís name and rank on it. "Hi Angie," he greeted warmly. "Is the Admiral alone?"
"Yes he is, Lee. Is this The Clampett Family?"
"Yes, Angie, it is."
"Welcome to NIMR. I hope you enjoy your stay with us."
"Iím sure we will, Maíam," Jed told her.
Angie had her fingers on the voicelink when the inner office door opened and a smiling Harriman Nelson came through, "Hello, Mr Clampett, Granny, Jethro, and Elly. Itís so good to see you all again. Has Lee been taking good care of you?" he asked jokingly.
"He surely has, Admiral," Granny told him, the others nodding their heads in agreement.
"Where are you taking our guests now, Lee?" Nelson asked.
"I havenít really decided, Sir. I was really hoping you could join us and give the Clampetts the benefit of your knowledge."
"As a matter of fact I havenít a thing planned and Iíd love to join you. Angie, why donít you take an early lunch? Iíll be gone most of the afternoon."
"Yes sir, Thank you, Admiral. Have fun everybody."
"Uncle Jed, can you guys wait here for a minute. I need to speak with Admiral Nelson privately for a moment." Crane asked.
"Sure thing, Lee. Weíll be here." Jed told him.
Nelson followed the Captain into his office, "Whatís wrong, Lee?" he asked, closing the door softly behind him.
"Teresa!" Lee said.
Nelson knew the woman vaguely but was well aware of the effect she was having on his two friends. "Whatís she done now?"
"Jethro asked her out and she maliciously told him he wouldnít be able to take her to the places she wanted to go."
"Lee, I know that wasnít a nice thing to do but sheís like that."
"I know, Admiral, the problem is Jethro inadvertently gave her some information that could change her mind. He told her about his Uncleís money."
"Uh oh, I see where youíre going. Weíll have to make sure and keep her away from Jethro and Mr. Clampett."
"Thatís not going to be easy. Jethro seemed thoroughly enamoured of her," Lee explained.
"I think I know what to do, Lee," Nelson said, laughing as an idea began to take form.
"What have you got in mind, Admiral?" Lee asked, knowing it had to be something good by the smile on the Admiralís face.
"Well, if she does decide to take him up on the date weíll just have to arrange for it to be a double date. Jethro and Teresa, You and Elly."
"A double date. What would that prove?"
"Lee, think about it. Jethro only gets fifty cents a week from his uncle. Where could he take her on that? Iíd like you to be there to make sure she doesnít take advantage of him."
"I like the way your devious mind works, Admiral. Iím just glad it works on our side," Crane said with a grin. "Maybe Iíll arrange a special trip out to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. I donít think sheíll be very impressed with that, do you?"
"And you say I have a devious mind. Iíd love to see the look on her face when she realizes where youíre going. Are you going to warn her of your plans, or just spring it on her at the last minute." Nelson asked.
"I think surprises are always nice, donít you?" Lee asked. "I guess weíd better start the tour or weíll be late for the Clampetts mini cruise on Seaview."
"After you, Lee," Nelson said, opening the office door.
"Ok, weíre all set. Are you ready to see the best research facilities in the world." Crane asked the Clampetts.
"Ready and willin," Granny told him.
Lee led the way back down the corridor. As they were passing the front desk, Teresa glared at Lee Crane. ĎWatch me work, Lee Crane, I always get what I want!í "Jethro," she called to the young man in a low sultry voice, "Iíve changed my mind. Do you still want to go out with me?"
"Yee-haw!" Jethro exclaimed loudly. "I surely do Miss. Teresa."
"When do you want to go?" she asked.
Jethro frowned and turned to Lee, "When can I take Miss. Teresa out?"
"Well, Jethro, it canít be today. Weíve got the tour, followed by the cruise on Seaview. Tomorrow is out as well because of the dedication ceremonies and dinner afterwards. Why donít you plan on Sunday? Actually, if Elly is free maybe the four of us can go somewhere together. Kind of a double date you might say. How does that sound?"
"Sounds great, Lee. If itís ok with Miss. Teresa."
Teresa glared at Lee Crane, but could see no way out of the double date without seeming rude to the Clampetts, "Thatís fine Jethro. Sunday it is. You know where I live, Lee, and since youíre going with us, you can pick me up at my place."
Nelson cringed at the barely contained anger on his friends face, "Lee, can you and the Clampetts wait outside for me? I need to speak with Teresa for a moment," Nelson said
"Of course, Admiral." Crane said, ushering the family out the door and into the bright afternoon sun.
"Teresa," Nelson began. "Do you remember the rules of conduct at NIMR?"
"Yes Admiral," she told him.
"Then you know you are not supposed to interfere with any of the clientele. That includes dating them." Nelson explained angrily, knowing what this girl could do to an unsuspecting, naive young man like Jethro. "You can either cancel your date or Iíll have to let you go."
"Are you kidding, Admiral. I wouldnít dream of cancelling my date with Jethro. Imagine all those millions just waiting for me. I think when Jethro and I are married Iíll convince him and his uncle to withdraw all monies from NIMR. Believe me Admiral I can do it. Iíll save you some money right now, I Quit!" she stated, grabbing her purse and walking away from the desk. "Iím going to clean out my locker."
"Make sure you do. Iíll send security to escort you off the institute grounds. Theyíll collect your security pass as well. Good by Teresa," Nelson stated, glad to be rid of the woman.
"Humph," she exclaimed as she moved away from her desk.
ĎGood riddance,í Nelson thought as he rejoined the group outside. "Ok, why donít we start with the Marine Biology Laboratories? I think youíll really find this an interesting place Elly. We have many species of flora and fauna here."
"Whatís flora and fauna?" Granny asked curiously.
"Well, Granny, Flora is plant life and fauna is animal life. In this building we have everything from common Kelp found almost anywhere to samples of coral from the Great Barrier Reef. We pride ourselves on our ability to keep specimens alive by trying to duplicate their natural habitat. Here we are," he said, standing in front of two very large double glass doors. "Please come inside and Iíll show you around."
The door was opened by a man dressed in a security guard uniform with NIMR written in bold black letters on the pocket of his jacket. "Hello Admiral Nelson, Captain Crane. I see you have guests with you today," he said.
"Thatís right Mickey, weíll be showing them around the biology lab. Is Dr. Midland in?" Nelson asked.
"Yes, sir, sheís in her lab."
"Thanks Mickey," he said as he led the group towards the lab. "Dr. Laurel Midland is one of the most respected Marine Biologists in the world and we were very lucky to have her come work with us. Sheís been instrumental in discovering and classing a lot of the samples youíll see in this lab," Nelson said, his pride for his employeeís accomplishments apparent in his voice. Using a specially encrypted card he keyed in the six-digit access code and opened the door.
An older woman with black hair streaked with grey looked up at the intrusion. Recognizing Nelson and Crane she smiled and put down what sheíd been working on. "Harriman, Lee, so good of you to drop by like this. And to bring such distinguished guests. This must be the Clampett family. Am I correct?"
"Thatís correct, Laurel. This is Jed Clampett, his daughter Elly, his Mother-in-law Daisy May Moses and his nephew Jethro Bodine." Nelson said, by way of introductions.
Laurel Midland had an amazing ability to judge people immediately. She prided herself on never being wrong when it came to people and personalities. "Welcome to what I call my home away from home, why donít you take a look around and if you have any questions, please, feel free to ask."
"Dr. Midland, would it be ok if I showed Elly your special project." Lee asked.
"By all means, Lee." Midland told him. "Would you like me to tag along?"
"That would be great. You know more about your special project than I do. Elly loves animals and I really think sheíd enjoy seeing your collection," before Midland could correct him, Lee laughed, "I know, I know, Dr Midland, they are not animals. But I still think Elly would enjoy seeing them."
"Yes I would, Lee. Thank-you Dr. Midland. Iíd love ta see yer critters. Maybe someday yaíll come visit us and see all my critters." Elly told her.
"I just may take you up on that, Elly. Thank-you for inviting me. My special collection is in here," she said as she opened one of three inner doors.
Elly was unprepared for what she saw. One full wall housed a large enclosed tank. There were two dividers in the tank, which made for two very distinct underwater worlds. "I ainít never seen nothin like this," Elly stated, walking up to the nearest tank. It seemed to be filled with multiple coloured fan shapes of different sizes and dimensions, as well as tiny strange fish like creatures, swimming leisurely around. Elly gasped as a tentacle from one of the fan shapes reached out to grab a small creature that swam to close to it, "Whatís in ere?" Elly asked her natural curiosity piqued.
"Well, Elly, this first tank contains what I like to call my own personal Great Barrier Reef. The samples in here are from Australiaís Great Barrier Reef and weíve been having a devil of a time keeping them alive and flourishing. It seems the Coral doesnít like enclosed spaces," Dr. Midland explained in simplest laymanís terms. "Weíve even included some of the smaller fish as well as other species. The coral feeds on the tiny creatures, and some varieties of fish feed on the coral. Weíve had it growing here for about six months now and Iím hoping weíve worked out all the kinks."
"This is really beautiful," Elly stated, totally fascinated by the samples in the tank.
"Look at this one Elly," Crane told her.
"What are those critters?" Elly asked, gazing at the ocean life in the second tank.
"This tank contains a fish that Iíve always been fascinated with. Itís called a flying Gurnard." Midland explained.
"A fish that can fly? Yer pullin my leg, there ainít no such thing," laughed Elly.
"Thatís right Elly. It canít fly. Thatís part of my fascination with this particular fish. Its fins are like wings, but it canít fly and itís very strange looking. If you look at it from the side youíll notice that it looks a little like a frog. It walks along the bottom on its fins in search of food. The wing like fins can help it move in bursts of speed, and also makes it appear larger than it actually is. Itís diet consists of inverts, crustaceans and other smaller fish," Midland explained.
"What does it feel like?" Elly asked.
"Well, Elly, you donít really want to be touching this fish because of its prickly type armour it can do a lot of damage to your hands. Now, if youíve had enough of my private collection we can go have a look at the rest of the specimens."
"Thank you Dr. Midland," Lee told her as they left Midlandsís private sanctuary.
"Elly, come see this. They got this thing ere called a lobster, I swear itís the biggest dang crawdad ya ever did see!" Granny called. "Look in there," Granny said, excitedly pointing at another large tank.
"That sure is some big crawdad, Granny. I ainít never seen one that big." Elly agreed.
"As I was explaining to everyone, these are not crawdads. They are called lobsters. If you look closely youíll also see king crabs. If youíll follow me to the next tank youíll see something else you might find a little strange. Look carefully and youíll see tiny creatures called Seahorses," Nelson explained, once again using the laymenís term.
"Aw Go On with ya. There ainít no such thing as a seahorse," Jed stated unbelievingly. "And if they were horses Iíd hate ta be the one had ta put a saddle on em."
"They arenít very big Uncle Jed," Lee explained, and they are not really horses."
"Then why call em horses?" Jethro asked.
"Your guess is as good as mine Jethro," Lee told him.
"Why donít we continue with our tour? Is there anything else we can show you in here or would you like to have a look at some of the other buildings." Nelson asked.
"Can we see whatís behind those doors?" Jethro asked.
"Sorry, Jethro but those areas are off limits. You have to have special clearance to enter those labs. Iím sorry." Midland told him. "Thank you for visiting my lab," she said, walking them to the doors.
"Thank you fer lettin us visit, Dr. Midland," Jed Clampett told her.
"Youíre quite welcome, Mr. Clampett," she told them.
Walking out the doors, Nelson began explaining what each of the buildings were used for, "The building in front of us houses the Hydrodynamics lab."
"Whatís Hydro.... hydrodynamics?" Jed asked.
"Hydrodynamics means water movement. In this building we study things that are affected by water. This is also the lab that helps us work out the best and fastest boat designs. Normally Iíd show you around but theyíre renovating and most of the front lobby has been torn down." Nelson told them, trying to keep his explanations simple and understandable. "The building on our right houses the environmental labs and the one on the left is the tank facility."
"You have tanks ere!" Granny exclaimed, gazing around trying to catch a glimpse of the big guns sheíd seen only on TV. "I donít see no tanks. I want ta see them big guns. Where are they?" She asked excitedly.
"Iím sorry, Granny, thatís not the type of tanks we have at The Institute. Weíre talking about tanks that hold marine life. We have a few specimens there now, including a couple of sea lions and dolphins." Crane told her.
"Now, Lee, youíve shown me some mighty strange looking critters including that big old crawdad, but there is no way you can convince me that thereís such a thing as a lion that lives in the sea. Even I know cats hate the water," Granny said, seriously beginning to doubt Leeís sanity.
Crane glanced at Nelson, who was trying, without much success, to hide the amusement on his face, "Come on, Lee, explain to Granny what a sea lion is," he said, the grin broadening on his face.
"Granny, they are not really lions, at least not the Wishbone type of lion. I think the best way for you to understand is to see them. Would you like that Granny?" Crane asked, deliberately giving Nelson a smug look.
"Can I see them too?" Elly asked.
"Me too," Jethro yelled.
"I guess we all want ta ave a look at these lions. Is that ok, Lee?" Jed asked.
"Sure, follow me. Itís just around the corner." Lee told them as they walked past the hydrodynamics building. It only took three minutes for them to reach the tank facility, and they were immediately shown to the main holding tank, "This is where we keep a lot of the bigger marine samples. The sea lions are part of a group weíve been studying, and as soon as the Lab technicians have finished collecting their data from the miniature recording devices attached to the sea lions theyíll be released back to the ocean. Why donít you all come over to the side and weíll let Mandy coax our friends into coming over so you can have a closer look."
The Clampetts did as Crane asked and were surprised to see a small female, dressed in a wetsuit, walk out onto a wide deck that overhung the tank. She held a bucket in her right hand and to the families surprise she pulled a fish out of it and held it out over the water. It wasnít long before a large, dark brown, shiny, streamlined object came straight out of the water and grabbed the offered treat.
"Is that a sea lion?" Elly asked.
"It certainly is Elly." Nelson told her. The sea lion once again came out of the water to grab another fish from Mandyís extended hand. "Did you notice the front flippers?"
"Is that what theyíre called?" Jethro asked.
"Yes Jethro, Those flippers are what the sea lion uses to move quickly through the water. It uses both its front and back flippers to move itself around on land. Their large eyes are extremely helpful for underwater sight." Nelson explained. Turning to another tank he asked, "Since weíre here anyway, would you like to see our Dolphins?"
"I think weíd like ta see just about anything yaíve got a mind ta show us," answered Granny softly. The family followed Nelson and Crane to a second large tank. The water was clear and the Clampetts could see two large forms swimming quickly through the water. To their surprise, Mandy came out on the protruding platform and dove into the tank.
"Unlike the sea lions these dolphins actually return here whenever they want. There is an opening in the bottom of the tank where they can come and go as they please. Mandy has been working with them for almost two years." Nelson explained.
As the family watched in awe, Mandy climbed onto the back of the larger Dolphin and rode it around the inside of the tank.
"These are bottlenose dolphins, as you can see their colouring is from dark grey on the back, to a lighter shade on the sides. The belly area is a whitish colour," Nelson explained.
"Do they have names?" Elly asked.
"Yes, Elly, they do. The larger one is a male. We call him Romeo. The smaller is female. Her name is Juliet. Mandy is a Shakespeare fan."
"We saw that play when they did it in the park. It was such a sad story," Granny said softly.
"Not fer me. I thought it was stupid," Jethro stated.
"Yeah sure, Jethro, thatís why you kep askin Granny fer some tissue." Elly told him.
"I wasnít sad, I had somethin in my eye!" Jethro exclaimed, embarrassed that Elly was disclosing his weakness for sad movies.
"Lee, would I be able ta get one of these dolphins as a pet?" Elly asked, effectively changing the subject.
"Well now, Elly, I donít think that would be a good idea. Dolphins are more comfortable in the wild. We have special facilities here that allow us to study these mammals. They can leave this tank at any time. I know youíd look after them but I think youíll agree that they are better off in the ocean where they can be with others of their species." Crane explained.
Elly looked at the beautiful creatures swimming with Mandy. "Can I touch one?" she asked hopefully.
"I think we can arrange that." Nelson said, signalling to his trainer to bring the dolphins closer.
As soon as the two dolphins were close enough Nelson reached in and gently stroked the area directly behind Julietís beak. Juliet immediately let out a succession of shrieks, trills and whistles that brought a smile to an already enamoured Elly.
"They really are beautiful critters," she stated.
"Yes they are, Elly," Nelson agreed. "Now if you want to touch them just reach over the side and do what Iím doing," he told her, as he continued to gently stroke the dolphin. Elly, Granny, Jethro and Jed each took their turns at touching the dolphins.
When they had finished, Mandy again gave a signal and the dolphins started racing around the tank. As soon as they reached the centre of the tank they bolted straight up out of the water and did a back flip before continuing on around the tank. As they reached the area where the Clampetts stood they came out of the water in a parody of a water ballet. The resulting splash made by the two dolphins reached the admiring group, causing them to laugh happily.
"Those critters can certainly swim!" Jed stated, watching as Mandy climbed out of the tank.
"Well, are there any other places youíd like to see?" Lee asked the family.
"Iíve a hankerin ta see yer mess hall," Jethro stated, immediately sending Granny into fits of laughter.
"Yeah right, Jethro. A mess hall. Thatís what we should call yer room. Itís always a mess and whenever I tell ya ta clean up yer room it ends up in the hall. This place is to clean ta have a messy place like yer room," Granny rambled on, holding her sides as they began to ache from the unrelenting laughter. Her laugh became infectious and soon everyone but Jethro was laughing as loudly as Granny.
"Thatís not funny Granny, and yer wrong itís not a messy place itís a place where they serve vittles," Jethro said, proud of himself for knowing something the others had not.
Grannyís face became serious, "are ya tellin me that a place like this canít afford ta get a maid ta clean it up and they have ta serve vittles in a messy hall. Well I wonít be eatin in there unless itís cleaned up!"
"Not a messy hall, Granny, A mess hall. But itís so clean you could eat off the floor. Although you wonít have to because there are lots of tables," Crane finished quickly. "Would you like to see it?"
Always meticulous in her cleaning Granny frowned before answering, "as long as itís clean," she said.
The group waved good-bye to Mandy and made their way to an oblong shaped building, "here we are," Crane said, opening the door and holding it so the group could enter. "Well, Granny, what do you think?"
Granny couldnít believe her eyes. Rows of gleaming stainless steel tables ran the length of the large spacious room. Chairs lined both sides of the table, leaving enough room for someone to walk down the centre. There were twenty tables with twenty chairs at each one. The floor looked as if it could be eaten off of and Granny shook her head unbelievingly. "How many people eat ere?" she asked.
"Meals are served at the same time everyday and usually every chair is full, so that would make it four hundred men and women, three times a day." Crane explained.
"Thatís a lot of vittles." Jed exclaimed.
"Do we get to eat ere?" Jethro asked.
"Sorry, Jethro, but theyíve only just begun preparing the evening meal. Weíll be eating on Seaview," Nelson said, glancing at his watch, "As a matter of fact I think itís time we went down to the docks. I have a couple of things to pick up at my office so Iíll meet you there in ten minutes."
"Yes, sir," Crane said, ushering the family out of the building.
"Wow, is that yer submarine, Lee?" Jethro asked, pointing excitedly to the large grey submarine at the main dock.
"Yes, Jethro, Thatís Seaview," Crane told him, pride evident in his voice.
"Tarnation!" Jed Clampett exclaimed in awe. "Thatís a mighty fine ship."
"Actually, Uncle Jed, Submarines are called boats." Crane corrected the older man. "Admiral Nelson designed her himself."
"Admiral, why did you make Seaview a woman?" Jethro asked curiously.
Lee Crane tried to suppress a laugh, "Yeah, Admiral, why did you make her a woman?"
Nelson glared at his friend, his eyes betraying the fact that he was trying hard not to laugh as well. "Thatís a good question, Jethro. I didnít make her a woman. I think itís more of a tradition than anything else that Submarines, ships, and even hurricanes have always been called she."
"I think they should be called he. Everyone knows that men are stronger than woman!" Jethro stated emphatically.
"They are not," Elly stated, just as emphatically. "I can whup the tar outta ya and ya know it."
"Thatís cause I let ya win," Jethro told her.
"Would ya like ta prove that now?" Elly asked him.
"Now, now, No fighting allowed on institute grounds. Besides, I think youíd rather board Seaview and see what she looks like." Crane said, effectively diverting the feuding cousins.
"Really. Can we go on now?" Granny asked.
"We certainly can Granny. The access hatch is this way." Nelson pointed out.
The group was soon boarding Seaview. Nelson went down the hatch first, followed by the Clampetts and Crane. The family was introduced to the crew that were present in the control room.
"Mr. Morton, prepare to get underway," Crane told his exec.
"Aye, sir," Morton affirmed. Immediately signalling to the waiting crew to get to their stations.
"Tarnation, I ainít never seen this many lights in one place. What are they all fer?" Jed Clampett asked.
"Well, Uncle Jed, everything you see here helps us with the different jobs we do. These are the Sonar and Radar stations. Kowalski, is one of the best sonar operators we have," Crane said, laying his hand confidently on the ratings shoulder. "This is the equipment that lets us know when something is in our area. It could be some form of marine life or even another submarine. It helps us decide the quickest and easiest way to go from one place to another." Crane explained in the simplest terms possible.
"With all them lights blinking youíd think it was Christmas." Granny laughed. "What are all these other doodads for?" She asked pointing at the adjoining sections.
"On the right is the science station. On the left are the environmental controls. Thatís where we monitor oxygen and air filtration on Seaview. Oxygen levels have to be kept within a certain range while Seaview is submerged. Next to the environmental controls are the fire controls. Fire is extremely dangerous on a submarine. From here we are able to pinpoint where the fire is and hopefully extinguish it before any major damage is done." Crane explained. "On the opposite side," he said, purposely not using the starboard and port terms. "We have the ships computer, Dive control and the navigational computers."
"This is some boat," Jethro said softly. "Can I drive it?"
Crane shook his head emphatically, "Sorry, Jethro, unauthorized personnel are not allowed to drive the Seaview."
"Ah shucks, Lee, how do I get autho...authorized." Jethro asked disappointedly.
"It takes years of going to school Jethro. Yes, even more than the six years you already have," Lee told him.
"The dickens ya say. I woulda thought Jethro had more than enough schoolin ta drive a submarine." Jed Clampett stated.
"At least ya still can drive the truck," Elly told her cousin.
Jethroís face took on a lost puppy look as he slowly glanced around the control room, "I just ave ta go back ta school," he said.
"Yer to old ta be goin back ta school, Jethro. Member what happened when ya went ta The Millicent-Schuyler Potts school fer girls, "Granny said with distaste.
"Then there was Havenhurst Academy," Jed chimed in. "Do ya wanna go through that again?"
"No, sir, Uncle Jed. Maybe Iíll stick ta bein a brain surgeon," Jethro said, eliciting laughter from the crew who quickly covered up by coughing simultaneously.
"Hey, Lee, does everyone on yer sub catch colds easy?" Granny asked. "Cause I brought some of my Ru-Ma-tiz medicine. You know how well that cures anythin that ails ya."
"I remember, Granny," Lee told her, noting the questioning glances he got from the rest of the crew. "But I donít think it would be a good idea to give these guys any Ru-ma-tiz medicine. Theyíd have a hard time keeping Seaview on course."
"Thatís fer sure, Lee, but Iíd like ta see them try," Granny laughed.
"Letís not go there Granny. Iíd like to keep my boat in one piece." Crane told her.
"Ok, Lee, Iíll save my Ru-ma-tiz medicine for that fancy shindig tomorrow night. Can we see some more of yer boat?" she asked.
"Certainly, Granny, is there something in particular youíd like to see?" Crane asked.
"Well, fer one thing what is this thing in the middle of the floor. Seems like an awful waste of space ta me."
"This is called a periscope. We use it when weíre running submerged, that means under the water. At the touch of a button this centre pole moves up, these handles come down flat and you look in here and you can see whatís on the surface of the water." Lee explained, using his hands to indicate what he was talking about.
"Why donít you let them see for themselves how it works?" Nelson asked.
"Can we?" Elly and Jethro asked excitedly.
"I canít see why not. Just remember not to touch anything except the handles here," Crane said, pointing at the handles as they came down into place as the periscope came up. "Uncle Jed, would you like to go first?"
"I surely would, Lee," Clampett said, climbing onto the periscope island. He looked through the eyepiece and let out a gasp of surprise. "I can see people moving around on the land."
"Why donít you turn the periscope and youíll be able to see everything thatís around us?" Nelson suggested.
"Here, Granny, ave a look see," Jed, told her excitedly.
Granny climbed up into the island and Crane adjusted the height of the periscope so she wouldnít have to stretch to look into it. "Land o Goshen, itís magic," she exclaimed as she rotated in a complete circle.
Jethro and Elly each took their turns looking through the periscope and were as amazed by what they saw as Jed and Granny.
Lee felt the large boat begin to move away from the dock and motioned for the family to follow him. He led them into Nelsonís porch and watched as the family got their first real glimpse of Seaviewís famous windows.
"Wonít that glass break if we go underwater?" Jethro asked.
"Actually, Jethro, this is not glass. The windows are made of a specially designed substance; the name is classified so I canít tell you what it is. But believe me when I tell you itís safe and wonít break." Nelson explained.
"Are ya sure? Cause if yer wrong and weíre under the water itíll be to late fer us not ta believe ya." Jed Clampett stated seriously.
"Itís safe," Crane said, once again suppressing the laugh that threatened to overwhelm him at the familyís simplicity. Although the laugh would not have been making fun of the family he was unsure how they would take it. He certainly didnít want to hurt their feelings. "I donít want to disappoint you, but we wonít be submerging on this trip."
"Why?" Jethro asked, disappointment evident in his voice.
"Well, Jethro, there is always a danger when running submerged. We are staying on the surface for this tour. Normally we wouldnít even be taking her out, but the Admiral figured it was the least we could do for you. After all you did make a sizeable donation to the Clean Ocean Project, making it possible for the minisub to be completed ahead of schedule."
"Jethro, canít ya jus be happy yer goin fer a ride on Leeís boat?" Elly asked.
"Course Iím happy. I jus wanted ta see what it was like under the water."
"Go swimming!" Elly stated simply.
"Itís not the same," Jethro told her.
"You two stop arguing, so Lee can show us around some more." Jed Clampett told them both.
"What would you like to see next?" Crane asked.
"Iíd like ta see yer doctorís office," Granny said
"You mean sickbay?" Lee asked.
"If thatís where ya go ta see the doctor then thatís the place I wanna see."
"I wanna see yer Mess. Iím gettin hungry." Jethro whined.
"I tell you what weíll do. Weíll have a quick tour of sickbay and then weíll go to the officerís mess for dinner. Is that ok with you, Jethro?" Lee asked.
"I guess so," Jethro said. "I jus hope I can last that long."
"Are you coming Admiral?" Crane asked.
"No, when it comes to sickbay I think youíre the best qualified person to give the Clampetts this particular tour." Nelson said, smiling at his friend. He knew how much Lee Crane hated being in sickbay even when he was just visiting.
"Thanks a lot, Admiral." Crane said, his voice dripping sarcasm at the Admiralís dig about the time he spent in sickbay. Nelsonís laughter followed the group as they left the control room.
"Anyone here?" Crane said as he entered the open sickbay door.
"Hey, Skipper, are you injured?" came a friendly voice from an adjoining office.
"Donít you start, Jamie, I may have to put up with the Admiralís little remarks but I donít have to put up with yours."
"A little testy, Lee." Jamie said, not used to this reaction from his Captain.
Realizing he was overreacting to Jamisonís comments, Crane had the good sense to apologize, "Sorry, Jamie, itís just you know how I feel about being here."
"Not your favourite place to be. Who have you brought with you?" Will Jamison asked, indicating the four people accompanying Crane.
"These are our special guests. This is Jed Clampett, his lovely daughter Elly May, mother in law Daisy May Moses, and nephew Jethro Bodine. Iíd like you all to meet Will Jamison, Seaviewís resident Doctor."
"Mighty pleased ta meet ya Doctor Jamison. Ya can call me Doctor Granny."
Will Jamison studied the small woman unbelievingly, "Are you a Doctor?" he asked
"Course I am. Why back in the hills round Bug Tussel I was the only Doctor around. I helped fetch more babies inta the world than I can count."
"Iím sorry Doctor Granny. I was just curious." Jamie said, glaring at the smiling face of his captain. "Would you like to have a look around sickbay?"
"I think Iíd like that," she told him.
Will Jamison began showing the family around the extremely well equipped sickbay. He showed them the state of the art compact x-ray machines; the mini lab for analysing samples of blood, among other things, the computer that was linked with the mainframe computer at NIMR for quick accurate analysis of diseases, toxins, or any other problem Seaviewís crew could come in contact with.
As the tour of sickbay wound down, Jethro walked over to one of the bunks that lined the wall, "Dr. Jamison, why do these beds, ah bunks ave sides on them?"
"Thatís a good question, Jethro. The side rails are there in case Seaview hits turbulence in the water." Jamie began to explain.
"Whatís turbulence?" Elly asked.
Lee Crane watched his doctor struggle with the easiest explanation, so that the family would understand what he was talking about. Taking pity on the doctor he usurped to answer for him, "Elly did you guys try the Jacuzziís in your room." Four heads bobbed up and down in acknowledgement. "When you turned on the Jacuzzi the water was forced through the jets at high power. The results are the same as turbulence. If you were to put a toy boat in the Jacuzzi it would be tossed to and fro, maybe even capsize. If that happens on Seaview and there are crewmembers in these bunks, theyíd be thrown out onto the deck. So the side rails are for protection."
"I donít think Iíve ever heard it explained like that but thatís what turbulence is and also explains what the rails are for. Thank you, Lee." Jamison said, grateful to the captain for explaining it in terms the family could understand. Turning his attention back to Granny, he asked, "What do you think of my sickbay?"
"Well, Dr. Jamison, I coulda used some of this stuff back in the hills. Yer a lucky fella ta ave all this fancy equipment ta help ya out. I had ta use my wits ta figure things out and sometimes I was wrong." Granny said, sadly remembering the hard times in the hills.
"Iím sure you did your best, Granny, and I bet a lot of people owe you their thanks." Jamison reassured her. Heíd heard stories about backwoods medicine and the hardships people underwent for medical attention.
Grannyís face brightened up with glee at Jamisonís comments, "Thank you, Doctor. Well I think itís Jethroís feeding time. Will ya be joinin us Doctor?"
"Please call me Jamie, and Captain Crane already invited me. Iíll join you as soon as Iíve finished here." Jamison told her.
Crane led the family through the access corridors and into Seaviewís Mess. The aroma of Roast Beef and Yorkshire pudding assaulted their nostrils as soon as they stepped into the room.
"Somethin sure smells good," Jethro exclaimed, his mouth watering.
"Cookie must be preparing one of his specialties. Smells like Roast Beef." Crane commented.
"Well doggies, I canít hardly wait ta sink my teeth inta that. Jethro ainít the only one thatís gettin hungry." Jed Clampett stated.
"Why donít you all just take a seat and Iíll let Cookie know weíre here."
"Ok, Lee," Granny said sitting at the nearest table.
Lee walked into the galley where he was greeted by Seaviewís long time chef, "Hey, Skipper, are the guests here?"
"Yes they are and I must say theyíre anxious to taste whatever feast youíve prepared for them. For that matter, so am I."
"Why donít you have a seat? Dinner will be ready in approximately fifteen minutes. Help yourselves to fresh coffee or fresh squeezed lemonade while you wait." Cookie told him.
"Thanks Cookie. We appreciate you coming along and preparing a major meal at such short notice."
"You know me, Skipper, I wonít allow anyone else to cook in my kitchen."
Lee Crane smiled knowingly at his favourite cook. His love of Seaview made it hard for him to turn her over to others the same way his chef hated to turn over his galley. "I understand completely," he told the delighted chef. Leaving him to his work he went back to join his guests. "Cookie said it wonít be much longer. Would anyone like some Coffee or lemonade while we wait?"
"Iíd love some Lemonade," Granny said.
"Iíll get it fer ya, Granny Pa, Jethro, do ya want some as well?" They both said yes and Elly joined Lee at the refreshment table. Crane filled five glasses with the ice-cold lemonade and Elly helped him serve the others.
It wasnít long before Nelson, Morton and Jamison joined them, "I hope your enjoying yourselves." Nelson stated.
"Itís been great," Jed Clampett told him.
"I canít believe how big Seaview is," Jethro said excitedly. "Can I see the engines and the missiles?"
"Iím sorry, Jethro, but some things are off limits," Nelson told him.
"Ah shucks," Jethro said disappointedly.
"Now, Jethro, I thought you were a double naught spy?" Morton asked, smiling at the confused look on Jamisonís face.
"I am!" Jethro said.
"Then you understand what Top Secret means," Morton said, trying to mollify the situation and give Jethro an understanding of why he couldnít see all of Seaview.
"Course I know what Top Secret means. Ya donít want enemies, like the Grunions, ta find out what ya ave. But I ainít a Grunion."
"I know you ainít, ah arenít," Morton told him, "But what if you were captured by the Grunions. Theyíd try to make you tell them everything you know. Right," Jethro nodded and Chip continued, "If you donít know anything then you canít tell them. Can You?"
Jethroís eyes lit up as Mortonís explanation sank in, "Hey, Chip, that even makes sense ta me. Ok, Admiral, I wonít ask ta see no more Top Secret places," his mind suddenly turned to his hunger again, "How long more before dinner, Lee?" he asked.
"Iíll check with Cookie," Crane stated, getting up from his chair and moving to the galley entrance.
Cookie looked up as he entered, "Ah, Skipper, I was just about to start serving."
"Thanks, Cookie. Oh, bye the way can you make an extra large helping for our youngest male guest. He has a rather large appetite."
"Another Mr. Morton," Cookie said, with a knowing smile.
"Actually, Mr. Morton has nothing on this guy." Crane told him.
Cookie looked surprised at the captains comment, "all right, Sir, Iíll make sure he gets double helpings. Now you just go back and sit down while I finish up."
Crane went back to his seat and smiled at Jethro, "Cookie says itíll be right out," he told the hungry looking young man.
"Does he need some hep?" Granny asked.
Crane, Morton and Nelson grinned at each other knowingly, "Granny, Cookie doesnít allow anyone else in his galley, ah kitchen. I canít even go in there to help unless he asks for it." Nelson stated.
"But this is yer boat. Canít ya go anywhere ya want?" Granny asked.
"I can, but if I want to keep the best chef around then Iíll stay out of there and let Cookie create his masterpieces without interfering. Donít get me wrong, if Cookie were doing something he shouldnít be then Iíd tell him right away. But as long as he does his job, I let him have free reign of his area. Here he comes now."
Cookie stepped into the Mess with a plate of food in each hand. Normally he would serve his Captain first, but Lee had asked him to serve their guests first. Cookie put a plate down in front of Granny and Elly May, smiled and returned to the galley for more. It wasnít long before everyone had their meal and began to eat the delicious dinner that had been prepared especially for the guests.
"Looks like someone told Cookie about yer bottomless pit of a stomach," Granny commented on seeing the extra helping on Jethroís plate.
"Naw, I think Cookie musta seen I was a growin boy. Thatís what ya always tells me Granny." Jethro said, between shovelling fork fulls of food into his mouth.
"I must say you do have a hearty appetite, Jethro. If I ate half as much as that Cookie would stop badgering me to eat more." Crane said.
"Youíd also surprise your friendly doctor whoís always after you to eat more." Jamie commented, smiling at the chagrined look on his captainís face. "Normally I get worried if a crew member isnít eating much. I think the opposite can be said of our Captain. If he were to eat more than half his meal then Iíd have to rush him to sickbay to find out what the problem is." Everyone at the table laughed at Jamieís comments, except Crane who glared at him.
"Very funny, Jamie." Crane commented. Placing his fork on the side of his plate, he picked up his napkin and wiped his mouth.
"Surely yer not finished, Lee? Ya havenít even eaten half yer dinner," Granny said sternly.
"I canít eat another bite," Crane told her, pushing his half eaten meal away.
"If yer finished can I ave it?" Jethro asked, swallowing the last morsel on his own plate.
"By all means," Crane said passing his plate across the table.
Jethro quickly polished off the remnants of Leeís dinner and sat back, patting his stomach in appreciation. "Whatís fer dessert?"
Seaviewís three officers couldnít help laughing at the young mans question. Heíd just eaten more than the rest of them combined and he still wasnít full. Crane secretly admired Jethroís ability to put away large amounts of food and still want more. His own appetite had always been a concern for his family and friends.
Morton and Crane took the empty plates from the table and placed them on the dish rack. They returned to the table to wait for Cookie to bring on dessert. It wasnít long before he came into the room carrying a cake.
"What kinda cake is that?" Granny asked.
"Itís called a Baked Alaskan." Cookie said, as he sliced a generous portion and placed it on the table in front of her.
Granny stared at the cake, "how did ya do this. Thatís ice cream, and the top is meringue. Howíd ya bake the top without meltin the ice cream?" she asked, genuinely interested.
"I can give you the recipe, if you like?" Cookie said.
Granny took a tentative taste of the dessert and a smile brightened her face. "I surely would like yer recipe fer this Baked Alaskan. Itís yummy."
"Iíll give it to you before you leave," Cookie told her.
"Thank you," Granny said.
Dessert was soon finished and Nelson invited the family to spend the remainder of the trip in Nelsonís Porch where they would be able to watch the docking procedures. They watched as Seaview once again came home and was expertly docked. It was beginning to get dark as they disembarked from the submarine.
"Is there anything else youíd like to do?" Crane asked the family.
"I think the best thing fer us all ta do is ta go home and get some sleep. Ya said we ave another busy day tomorrow and Iím kinda tuckered out." Jed Clampett stated, trying to stifle a yawn.
"I agree, Jed, letís call it a day." Granny said.
"Ah come on Granny, Uncle Jed. I wanna see some more things. Donít ya want ta see more Elly?" Jethro whined petulantly.
"Sorry, Jethro, but Iím plum tuckered out myself. Are ya gonna take us home Lee?"
"I certainly will, Elly." Crane turned to the Admiral; "Iíll have them at the docks in plenty of time for the dedication ceremonies, Sir."
"Make sure you do, Lee. We canít have the guests of honour show up late now can we? Good night everyone." Nelson said, grinning as he headed for his office.
"Goodnight, Sir," Morton and Crane said in unison. The Clampetts also bid him goodnight and followed Crane and Morton to a waiting limousine.
The next morning passed swiftly as The Clampettís dressed in their Sunday best for the important afternoon ceremonies.
Jed looked dashing in a white ruffle shirt, black tie, black pants, tuxedo style waistcoat with tail and topped with a derby hat.
Granny wore her finest cream coloured long sleeved dress; brown frills surrounded her wrists, waist and hemline at the ankles. A large matching brown bow tied around to the back. Her hair was pulled back in a tight bun and a small cream coloured hat with a brown ribbon sat on her head.
Elly looked breathtaking in her basic white, short sleeved, knee length sundress. It had three rows of pink ribbon, one around the waist, one halfway down her thigh and the other at the hemline. She had her long blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail and tied with a pink ribbon and matching bow. On her feet she wore pink ballet style slippers.
Jethro wore brown dress pants with a darker brown jacket. He also wore a white ruffle pirate shirt with a brown bola tie. On his feet he wore a pair of black penny loafers.
The family sat watching an afternoon news program while they waited for Lee Crane to show up and escort them to the ceremonies. There was an almost silent knock and Jed Clampett, who happened to be seated closest to the door got up to answer it. "Well Doggies, look at you two!" he exclaimed.
Lee Crane and Chip Morton stood in the door, resplendent in their dress blues. Both men stood erect and carried their hats under their arms. Elly stepped up behind her pa and put two fingers in her mouth thereby producing a loud, piercingly, shrill whistle.
"Ya all are lookin mighty fine," she said excitedly.
"Why thank you Elly. Youíre as beautiful as the flowers in May." Crane told her honestly. He took her hand and gently kissed it.
Elly felt her mind wondering and nearly swooned at the slight contact, but was pulled out of her reverie as Chip Morton took her other hand and did the same. Both men were attractive in their own ways but Elly could feel her heart racing whenever she was near Seaviewís captain.
"I agree, Lee, she is quite lovely. I hope youíll save me a dance tonight, Elly." Morton stated.
"I think sheíll be busy Mr. Morton," Crane said, staring into Ellyís sparkling eyes.
"Excuse me, fellas, but donít ya think we better be on our way." Granny asked, smiling at the attention being lavished on her granddaughter by both officers. ĎWait until I tell Pearle and Elverna. Ellyís got two men in uniform after her. Oh, I canít wait ta get home and call em. Jethrine can keep Jasper Depew as her beau. Ellyís got two handsome devils after her. If only I was thirty years younger Iíd take one of em offa her hands. Ave ta make sure Jedís not around ta hear me gloat when I use the telee phone,í she thought, the smile broadening on her face.
Crane glanced at his watch, "youíre right Granny. I can honestly tell you I see where Elly gets her beauty from," he said as the family filed out the door.
"You are a silver tongued devil now arenít ya?" she asked, secretly wishing heíd keep it up.
The Limousine was waiting in front of the hotel to take them to Stearns Wharf for the dedication of Clampetts Fins.
Jed, Granny, Jethro and Elly were astounded at the large group of people waiting for them to arrive. Lee had explained that they were to be the guests of honour and that nothing would happen until they were seated on the stage with Admiral Nelson, Chip Morton, Admiral Jiggs Starke, who would be acting as emcee, and him.
Large wooden platforms had been built over the sand and were covered in a green outdoor carpet. Folding silver chairs were lined up in rows, twenty deep. At the front of the rows of chairs stood an upraised platform with eight chairs. Lee informed the family that seating was available for five hundred distinguished guests, half of whom would also be attending the dinner and festivities afterwards at the Harbor Restaurant.
"This way," Lee told the Clampett family as he led them up the stairs and onto the stage.
Harriman Nelson and an older, distinguished looking man came towards the group, "Mr. Clampett, Granny, Elly, Jethro, Iíd like you all to meet an old friend of mine, Admiral Jiggs Stark. This is the family that made it all possible so quickly, Jiggs."
Stark shook hands with Jed and Jethro and kissed Elly and Granny on their hands. Granny was instantly smitten with the attention. "Iím so pleased to meet you all. Harry has done nothing but talk about you since Lee visited you in Beverly Hills. If you donít mind I have a few questions Iíd like to ask you later?"
"What questions, Jiggs," Nelson asked, fearing the worst.
"Oh, just some questions about what took place when Captain Crane visited them. You keep refusing to answer them for me."
"Iíll be glad to tell ya all about Leroy Crane," Granny told him.
"Leroy Crane?" Stark asked.
"Granny, you wouldnít dare!" Crane exclaimed, his cheeks reddening slightly.
"Now this I have to hear," Stark said, grinning mischievously.
"Well, ya see, Lee here," Granny began.
"I think weíd better be taking our seats," Crane said, trying to deflect the conversation.
Stark looked out over the three quarters full platform, "I donít think so, Captain. We have plenty of time. Tell me Granny, why did you call him Leroy?"
Granny loved when she had stories to tell and since she felt Lee was like her own family she was unable to stop herself from telling Stark how Jethro had accidentally bowled Crane over and knocked him out. She went on to explain that when Lee came to he had no idea who he was and why he was at the Clampett mansion. With the help of the rest of the family and also, Nelson and Morton, Stark soon had the whole story.
"Captain Leroy Crane, it does have a certain ring to it. Tell me, Harry, did you discipline Leroy for hitting you?" Stark asked, grinning at a red faced Lee Crane.
"Well," Nelson said hesitantly, "You might say that Captain Crane was disciplined when he returned to Seaview. He was forced to listen to some rather interesting music."
"Ok, thatís enough of this song and dance. This day is in honour of the Clampetts. So letís just forget about Hillbilly Lee," Morton stated, knowing heíd just given Stark the nickname heíd placed on his friend.
"Chip," Lee stated, his voice betraying his waning patience, "thatís enough. You forget that I have a few pictures that I can show Admiral Stark."
"Sorry, Lee, Iíll just zip my lip."
"I think weíll do as Lee says and change the subject. Jiggs, why donít you tell everyone to take their seats and weíll start the ceremonies?" Nelson stated, relieved to see his Captain strained features relaxing. He knew Crane wasnít nearly as upset by the conversation as he let on.
"Youíre right Harry." Stark told him as he walked to the microphone. "Attention, Ladies and Gentlemen, can you please take your seats as we are about to start? Thank-you." There was a lot of bustling as people moved to their assigned seats. The Clampetts were amazed to see that every seat had been taken and that people were standing outside the perimeter. Stark waited for the noise of conversation to quiet down and then began his announcements. "On behalf of Admiral Harriman Nelson of The Nelson Institute For Marine Research, Iíd like to thank you all for coming here today. As you know Stearns Wharf is one of the oldest wharfs in California. It was selected for todayís ceremony because of the depth of the water. It is here that you will get your first glimpse of Clampetts Fins, a new state of the art Mini Sub with Rescue capabilities. I will now turn the podium over to Admiral Harriman Nelson."
Nelson stood and walked to the podium, a broad smile on his face. "Thank-you Admiral Stark," he said shaking hands with his friend as they passed each other, "Good afternoon everyone. Iíd also like to thank you for coming. Clampetts Fins is the realization of a dream. A dream, which will help in the ongoing research of our oceans. As most of you know this was made possible by a very generous donation from the Mini Subs namesake, Jed Clampett and his family." Spontaneous applause erupted from the large gathering and Nelson had to wait for it to die down before he continued. "As Admiral Stark said, this Mini Sub can also be used in the rescue of sea going vessels of all types. If you will all stand up and look out over the podium you will get your first glimpse of Clampetts Fins." Once again there was loud bustling as the crowd clamoured to their feet in excited anticipation. They watched as a sleek silver grey Mini Sub surfaced just offshore. "Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Clampettís fins. She is fifty feet in length and weighs approximately seventy five thousand pounds. Water displacement is approximately eighty two thousand pounds. Sheíll have a crew of four and has a rescue capacity of twenty. She has life support for four hundred man-hours. She has two seven hundred-amp hour silver zinc batteries and a twenty-eight VDC emergency battery. She is equipped with a still camera as well as five black and white video cameras. She has one manipulator arm thatís capable of clearing away hatches on disabled submarines and also has a gripper, cutter capability combined. She is able to lift up to and including one thousand pounds. Thatís about all I can disclose about Clampettís Fins, the rest is classified. Now Iíd like to ask Mr. J. D. Clampett to come up and say a few words."
Jed Clampett knew he was to speak at the gathering and so heíd composed a small speech. He walked past Nelson and took his place at the podium, "Howdy folks. Iím glad ta see ya all. Iím not good at speakin whatís on my mind but Iíll give it a go. I think I can speak fer my family when I say how proud we are ta ave this ere mini sub called after us, but Iíd also like ya all ta know thatís not why we donated the money. Weíre from a small town back in the hills called Bug Tussell. Most of ya probably never even heard tell of it but we leaned a lot about family and friends and how much they mean ta us. We really need ta look after this world of ours and the ocean is a good place fer us ta start. Thatís the reason fer the donation," he said seriously. "Some of ya may ave more money than my family does and some of ya donít but it doesnít matter as long as ya give what ya can. We figure the ocean needs ta be kept clean in order fer all them critters Admiral Nelson showed us yesterday ta live. Weíve told him that he can come ta us anytime he needs ta. Iím hopin each of ya that can afford it can dig inta yer pockets and give some more money and maybe ya all will git a mini sub called after yer own family. Who knows, maybe weíll ave a whole fleet of mini subs out there. Thatís all I gotta say. Bye," with that Jed Clampett retreated from the podium to a tumultuous round of applause.
Stark returned to the podium but was unable to do his closing speech because the applause continued. The crowd watched as Clampetts Fins began to once again submerge under the calm water.
"Would you please take your seats again?" he shouted into the microphone. "Thank-you. I think Mr. Clampett summed it up perfectly when he said we should all do our part in helping to bring about a fleet of mini subs designed to clean up our oceans. After all it is one of our main natural resources. I know that is not exactly what he said but you get the gist of it. Come on people, open up your hearts and your wallets and letís see just how many Clampetts Fins we can build." Once again the crowd began applauding and Stark hoped they would do as heíd suggested. "I guess thatís it for now. I think we have time for a few questions but please lets do it in an orderly fashion, by raising hands." Immediately hands were raised all over the place. "Letís start with Miss Williams," he said pointing to a young woman wearing a press badge.
"Tracey Williams, Santa Barbara Gazette. Just how generous was Mr. Clampetts donation?"
"Thatís not the type of questions weíre after Miss Williams. You received your press package and it specifically told you that we would not be disclosing the exact amount of the Clampettís donation. Suffice it to say it was substantial. Please donít ask again or youíll be escorted off the property. Any one have any questions that do not require the disclosure of that information, please feel free to ask. Mr. Thompson, go ahead."
"Peter Thompson, Oceanography magazine. How long before Clampetts fins is ready for itís first mission?"
"I think Admiral Nelson can answer that better than I can. Harry," Stark said motioning for Nelson to take his place.
"Clampetts Fins will make its maiden voyage in two weeks. We will be releasing more information in a press conference next week. Anyone else? Miss Wheeler." Nelson acknowledged an older woman in the last row.
"Ilene Wheeler. I donít work for a newspaper but most of you know Iím from a wealthy and influential family," she said softly. "Iíd just like to thank the Clampett family for their generosity. Iíll be sending NIMR a personal cheque towards the next mini sub. I hope the rest of you do the same." This comment was met with a spectacular round of applause.
"I think that about sums it up perfectly, Miss Wheeler. Thank-you all for coming." Nelson stepped away from the podium and the crowd stood to give the group onstage a standing ovation.
"Where are we goin now, Lee?" Elly asked curiously.
Crane looked at his watch and saw that it was close to seventeen thirty hours. A special dinner in honour of the Clampettís was planned for eighteen hundred hours at the Harbor Restaurant. Nelson had arranged for the spacious restaurant to be closed to the public for this special occasion and there was to be a live band for dancing after the meal was cleared away. "Well, Elly, it looks as if weíd better head over to the Harbor restaurant."
"The Harbor Restaurant. YeeHaw, that means vittles," Jethro yelled enthusiastically. "Iím so hungry I could eat a horse!"
"Sorry, Jethro, no horse on this menu," Crane said, a grin widening on his face.
"Ah, Lee, I was jus kiddin," Jethro laughed.
"I know, Jethro, so was I," Crane said.
"Huh," Jethro exclaimed, thinking that Lee now meant they would be served horsemeat. "They wouldnít."
"Why do ya care, Jethro, yaíd eat whatever they put on yer plate, and anyone elseís plate fer that matter," Elly told him.
"Only if I donít know what it is," he stated, eliciting laughter from Crane and everyone within earshot.
"Thatís so true. I remember when we had that sponge and you ate the whole thing. Blew up like a balloon." Granny laughed.
"It sure tasted better than anything Elly cooked," Jethro stated.
"Five, four, three.." Elly started counting down, upset at the insult, even though she knew he was probably right.
"Sorry, Elly," Jethro said, knowing that if Ellyís countdown reached one heíd be in for a whuppin. He loved when he could insult his cousin, but also knew when it was time to stop.
"Yaíd better be," Elly told him.
Jethro sighed, relieved that he seemed to be out of trouble, "All right, Lee," he said, "lets get to the vittles."
"We can walk or take the car. The restaurant is just down the beach a ways, so itís up to you," Crane explained.
"Itís a beautiful day. Why donít we all jus walk?" Jed asked.
Everyone agreed and the group started walking along the sidewalk that ran parallel to the beach. Suddenly, Granny pointed excitedly, "Land oí Goshen, look over yonder, itís one of them thar California Condors."
Lee Crane looked in the direction she was pointing and was surprised to see a man in nothing but his birthday suit go streaking past them. He couldnít hold back the laughter that bubbled up inside.
"Call him over Lee. Maybe we can give that goomer somethin ta buy some clothes with. Hurry, Lee heís almost outta sight, and look the police are after the poor feller," Granny said agitatedly.
"Granny, the police are going to help him. Can you please tell me why you called him a California condor?" Crane asked, trying to hold back his laughter.
"Cause thatís what he is. California Condorís is what we call naked poor folk." Granny explained. "Are ya sure the police is goin ta hep that poor fella?"
"Oh yeah. Theyíll help the poor guy all right. Theyíll give him a nice suit of clothes and a nice warm place to sleep." Crane said, letting his laughter come through. "Letís get going or we will be late." The family walked on for another ten minutes, the conversation stemming from their first glimpse of a streaker that they thought was a person who couldnít afford anything and therefore needed help from those who could. Crane had a hard time convincing them that the police would look after him. "Ah, here we are," he said, pointing to a large, glass enclosed establishment. White, pink, red and yellow rose bushes in full bloom surrounded the front of the building. On the sides were flowerbeds filled with multi coloured pansies, marigolds and petunias. The scent of the flowers was intoxicating and Lee reached to take Ellyís arm as he led the way to the front doors of one of the finest restaurants in California.
"The flowers are lovely, Lee," she said, her voice soft and mellow.
"Not near as lovely as you, Elly," Crane said seriously, holding the door with one hand, the other he wrapped around her tiny waist. When the rest of the family had entered, he escorted Elly inside and up to the smiling Maitre D.
"Hello again, Captain Crane. It is a pleasure to see you again. Are these your honoured guests?"
"Thank-you Maurice. This is the Clampett family and yes they are the group being honoured here tonight. I believe you have a special table set aside for them." Crane said.
"Of course, Captain, the best table in the house. A beautiful view of the ocean and beachfront although itís beauty does not compare to the two beautiful ladies you have brought with you."
Granny and Elly both blushed becomingly and the group followed Maurice to a table that did indeed have a wonderful view. "I hope you enjoy your evening with us, and if you have any questions or problems, please let me know. Oh, Captain, Admiral Nelson and Chip Morton will be along shortly."
"Youíre welcome, Captain. Your waitress will be right over to take your drink orders." Maurice told them, leaving the group to talk amongst themselves.
"Wow, this place is really somethin," Jethro said, slowly taking in the gorgeous Victorian decor. White ruffled lace table clothes donned each of the tables, there were pink and blue napkins at each place setting and the centre piece for each table was a delicate pinwheel crystal vase filled with the same flowers that grew at the front of the elegant restaurant. There was no doubt in anyoneís mind that this restaurant was perfect for romantic interludes.
"It sure is, Jethro. I bet the food here is even more expensive than at our hotel." Jed stated. "I jus hope I brought enough money with me."
"Now, Uncle Jed, everything has been taken care of already. Your money is no good here," Crane told him.
"But Jedís got real money. Itís not confederate paper money," Granny told Crane seriously, once again forcing him to stifle his laughter.
"Thatís not what I mean, Granny. I mean that the institute has paid for everything we order tonight. Hi, Suzie," he said, diverting their attention from the topic of confederate currency and putting it on the young woman who would be their waitress for the night.
"Hi, Captain, would you and your party like something to drink?" she asked, smiling at Crane.
"Well, does anyone want something from the bar?" Crane asked.
"Iíll just have an ice cold lemonade," Elly said.
"I think Iíll have the same," Granny agreed.
"Might as well bring me one as well," Jed and Jethro told her at the same time.
"Well, looks like weíll have five of your famous frosted lemonades," Crane told the waitress and she left to get their orders. Lee looked around and realized the restaurant was quickly filling up. His attention went to the front doors as Nelson and Morton entered and walked towards them.
"I hope you havenít been waiting long?" Nelson asked, taking the seat between Jed and Granny. Chip sat between Elly and Jethro.
"Not at all, Admiral. We just ordered drinks," Crane told him.
"Elly," Chip said, taking her hand in his and forcing her to turn his way. "I must say youíre looking even more lovely than you did at the dedication ceremonies" As he said the words he glanced up into the jealous eyes of his best friend.
"Why thank ya Chip. Ya look lovely yerself," Elly said seriously.
Crane smiled over her shoulder at Morton, "Elly, will you save some dances for me?" he asked, turning her back to face him.
She looked dreamily into his eyes and said softly, "Iíll save em all fer ya, if ya want me to, Lee."
Nelson, Granny and Jed were enjoying the friendly little triangle being played out in front of them.
It looked to Nelson as if Morton had lost before it had even begun. Elly had become infatuated with Lee Crane when she knew him as Leroy Crane and that infatuation seemed to be getting stronger, leaving Chip Morton out in the cold. Not that Chip would let that get him down, with his natural good looks and sense of humour he was used to having females clamour for his attentions. ĎMaybe Iíll have Chip ask Angie to join us,í Nelson thought as he noticed his secretary come into the room unescorted. "Chip, Angie just arrived by herself, why donít you ask her if sheíd like to sit with us?"
Morton took one last look at his dark haired friend and the blond hillbilly girl and knew it was a lost cause, "I think I will, Admiral, and thanks," he said walking over to Nelsonís pretty secretary.
Nelson could tell by the grin on her face that she had accepted and soon the table shifted so that Morton and Angie were sitting together.
"Whereís Teresa?" Jethro asked, hoping she would also be in attendance.
"Sorry, Jethro, she wonít be joining us." Nelson told him.
Jethroís disappointed face told Nelson, Crane, and Morton, just how much the younger man was hoping the Barracuda liked him.
"Youíll be seeing her tomorrow, Jethro." Crane reminded him.
"I know that, Lee. You and Elly are still comin with us, ainít ya?"
"Of course. Any idea where youíd like to go?" Crane asked.
"If we was back in Bug Tussell, Iíd take her to the fair. But I donít know where ta take her ere," Jethro told him.
Crane and Nelson looked at each, amazed at the opening Jethro had just given Crane for their plan to show Teresa Ďa good timeí. "Jethro, there is a great amusement park, which is almost the same as a fair, on Santa Cruz Island. Itís called the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. That will give us a chance to take a boat ride as well. How does that sound?"
"YeeHaw, weíre goin ta the fair." Jethro said excitedly. "Do they have rides?"
Suzie returned with their drinks and asked the three newcomers what theyíd like. Chip and Angie went along with the Lemonade and Nelson ordered a Scotch. As soon as she left the conversation returned to the amusement park, "Jethro they have all kinds of rides, including a famous roller coaster called the Giant Dipper."
"A real roller coaster, wow, I ainít never rode on one of them things. Can we ride it Lee?" Elly asked hopefully.
"Of course we can Elly. Weíll go on any ride you want."
"Is there room for another couple to go along?" Morton asked.
"Sure there is, Chip," Crane answered.
"How do you feel about amusement parks, Angie? Want to tag along?"
"Iíd love to, Chip. I havenít been to Santa Cruz Island in close to five years. Thank-you for asking." Angie told him, as Suzie again returned with the drinks.
"Admiral, would you like to join us tomorrow?" Crane asked.
"Now, Lee, you know I have a meeting with Jiggs tomorrow. But I want you to call me when you return and let me know how things go," no one noticed the look of amusement that passed between Nelson and Crane. Nelson glanced around the restaurant and was glad to see that every seat was taken, "Well it looks like the place has filled up. They should be serving the meal shortly," he told them.
Nelson looked towards the kitchen doors just as Suzie and two other waitressesís walked out, each holding four plates of dinner. They served the Admiralís table first and then began to help the otherís serve their tables. It wasnít long before all the tables were served and Nelson turned to Granny, "Would you do us the honour of saying grace, Daisy?"
Granny looked surprised but agreed to do it. The band leader brought over a microphone and everyone stood for the blessing, "Oh Lord, we thank you for the food you have provided us with and the friends who are ere ta share it with us. Amen," she said and quickly sat down to the echoes of Amen from around the room.
The meal consisted of chefs salad, followed by Chicken Kiev served over a bed of rice pilaf, and topped off with fresh strawberry shortcake and whipped cream.
As soon as the tables were cleared the band made their way on stage. The lights were turned down low as the lead singer took his place behind the microphone and began to speak in a very mellow voice, "Good evening, Ladies and Gentlemen. Welcome to the Harbor restaurant. Weíll be entertaining you tonight and Iím pretty certain we can play anything youíd like to hear. Before we begin Iíd like to introduce our band. My name is Ronald Barker, unfortunately for you guys theyíve made me lead singer, so if your ears start to hurt blame the rest of the band." These comments were met with raucous laughter, "On lead guitar is Mike Poulter, second guitar is Mary Newman, organ is Rich Dobson and our drummer is Jody Carlisle."
"Weíll just have to test out that boast, right Chip?" Crane said, a smirk on his face, as he began applauding the band.
"I think we can manage that. I havenít met a band who can play everything I want to hear yet." Morton agreed.
"Letís start with one of my favourites," Barker said. He gave a signal and as the band began to play, his voice sang out over the microphone, "Tonight youíre mine completely, you gave your love so sweetly, tonight the light of love is in your eyes, but will you love me tomorrow."
As the music began, Lee turned to Elly, "Would you like to dance, Elly?"
"Iíd love ta, Lee, but Iím not very good," she told him, as he took her hand and they made their way to the centre of the dance floor. He wrapped his arms around her as the words to ĎWill you still love me tomorrowí drifted softly across the floor.
"Elly, you are absolutely beautiful. I donít think Iíll be able to let anyone else dance with you tonight."
"I feel the same, Lee," Elly whispered, as she moved closer to Cranes body. They swayed to the music, oblivious to everything going on around them. The world ceased to exist for the two of them and Lee very gently leaned down placing his lips softly against Ellyís. "Oh, Lee," she cried softly as he pulled away.
"Lee, people are watching," Morton said as he and Angie danced beside them. Lee and Elly continued to dance as if they hadnít heard what Morton had said.
"But will you love me tomorrow?" Ronaldís voice faded on the last note.
Lee still gazed longingly into Ellyís eyes, still swaying slowly in one anotherís arms.
"I see we have a couple who want to make their own music," Ronald laughed.
"Uh oh," Crane said, realizing they were the centre of attention in a crowd of almost three hundred. He regrettably pulled away from Elly, took her by the arm and walked back to their table. He pulled out her chair and pushed it back in for her. Taking his seat he looked into the amused eyes of Harriman Nelson.
"Is there anything special youíd like to hear or should we just do our own thing?" Barker asked.
"Something fast," a male voice called.
"Iíll try and stump them Lee," Morton said with a mischievous grin, "How about Elvis Presleyís Jailhouse Rock?"
"Thatís one of our favourites," Barker said, smiling directly at Morton, as he began to sing, "The warden threw a party in the county jail. The prison band was there and they began to wail," Barkerís voice took on the perfect tone as he started imitating Presleyís unique style.
"Shall we go again, Elly," Crane asked quickly, afraid someone else would beat him to it.
"If youíll show me how!" Elly laughed.
"This ones easy. Just let yourself move with the music." Crane told her as he began to move his own body in time with the music. He watched as Elly began to move her hips and sway quickly from side to side, perfectly matching his own movements. "Youíre a natural, Elly May Clampett." Crane yelled above the music.
"Thank-ya, Lee. Yer real good too," Elly shouted back, laughing as they moved enticingly around the dance floor. As the song came to an end they held each other and laughed as each tried to catch their breaths. Finally they returned to their seats and Lee called Suzie over to order more drinks.
Granny leaned in close to her grand daughter, "you really like Lee, donít ya?"
"Oh yes, Granny. Heís so handsome," she answered.
"Yes he is, Elly. Iím kinda hopin you two will hit it off."
Jed smiled at his daughter as the band began to play, Daddyís girl. Jed took Elly by the hand and led her onto the floor. As they began to waltz around the floor, Jed asked, "you and Lee seem ta be really enjoying yerselves."
"We are, Pa. Can he ever dance."
"I think Iíd better watch that young feller," Jed stated, half serious.
"Oh, Pa, Leeís a real nice fella. He wouldnít do anythin ta me." Elly said happily.
"He better not. Or thereíll be a shotgun weddin, like back in the hills."
"Pa, you wouldnít!" She exclaimed. "Weíre only dancing."
"I know, Elly. I can see that Lee Crane is a gentleman. He jus better keep it that way."
"He will, Pa," Elly said, smiling at the love and protection her father seldom openly showed. The song ended and they made their way back to the table.
"Letís speed it up a little. Anyone out there know how to twist. Here we go. Letís twist again, like we did last summer, letís twist again like we did last year, do you remember when, things were really hummin," Barkerís unique voice sang out as Lee grabbed Elly and Morton grabbed Angie.
Crane took Elly by the hand and started twisting her down to the floor. Morton was doing the same with Angie and pretty soon the foursome were the only ones on the floor. The song ended and without missing a beat, Barker and his band went right on, "Come on, baby letís do the twist. Come on, baby letís do the twist. Take me by the little hand and go like this."
Crane and Morton twisted with their counterparts until the second song ended and hurried back to their seats to a standing ovation.
Lee and Elly danced nearly every song the band played. Nelson, Morton and a few other men were lucky enough to cut in on them, but not often. Finally the band announced the last song and Lee took Ellyís hand before anyone else had a chance.
Barker began to sing; "I had the last dance with you, two lonely people together."
Lee and Elly held each other tightly and only had eyes for each other. "Thank ya, Lee, fer the wonderful night. I ainít never danced so many times in one night."
"Youíre welcome, Elly, and thank you for saving this dance for me. You could have had any man in here."
"I didnít want any man. I wanted you." Elly whispered in his ear as the song ended and once again the lights came back on.
"Well, Chip, what do you think. Did the band live up to their boast?" Crane asked his friend.
"Except for Jailhouse Rock we never even had a chance to test them. Besides, they played everything I wanted to hear." Morton said, as he helped Angie into her coat.
"I noticed that too," Crane stated as the tired group left the Harbor restaurant. The group was quiet on the way home and quickly said goodnight when they got to the Clampettís door. Sleep would come easily due to the long day.
Sunday promised to be a fun day for everyone except Teresa. Crane and Morton had discussed everything they planned to put the unsuspecting Barracuda through. Jethroís fifty-cent allowance was not going to go very far at Santa Cruz, and they knew the woman well enough to know that it wouldnít take long for her to show her true colours. They hoped Jethro wouldnít be to disappointed, but it couldnít be helped.
Both men were dressed casually in tight fitting Levis, which hugged their bodies as if theyíd been painted on, white cotton t-shirts rounded out their attire. They stopped by the Clampettís room to pick up Elly and Jethro.
Elly answered the door in a beautiful flowered sundress, gathered at the waist and flowing to her knees. Her hair was braided down the back and on her feet she wore white sandals. "Come in Lee, Chip. Jethro, are ya ready yet?" she yelled over her shoulder, as she closed the door.
"Iím comin, Elly." Jethro called, coming out of the room he shared with his uncle. "Can we go pick up Teresa now?" he asked, with boyish enthusiasm. He was also wearing jeans and t-shirt.
"I must say you look wonderful, Elly." Crane said softly.
"Thank ya, Lee," she said.
"Where are Granny and Uncle Jed?" Morton asked.
"Admiral Nelson came by fer them. He wanted ta take them out fer somethin he called brunch. They said ta say hi ta ya." Jethro answered. "Can we go now?"
"Of course, Jethro. Chip, weíll meet you at the ferry in an hour." Crane said.
"Ok, Lee. Iíll pick up Angie and weíll see you all there." Morton said, leaving to pick up his date.
"The Limo is waiting for us in front of the Hotel. Weíll pick up Teresa and meet Chip and Angie. Remember, Jethro donít tell her where weíre going. Itís a surprise and she loves surprises."
"I wonít, Lee. Uncle Jed gave me some extra money fer today," Jethro revealed.
Crane felt as if his bubble had burst. If Jed gave him extra money then all their well laid plans would be for nought, "Thatís great, Jethro. Now you can really show her a good time."
"I sure can, Lee. I ainít never had two dollars ta spend before."
Lee could barely hide his relief as they climbed into the limo. If Jethro had been given a lot of money there would have been no way to get rid of the leech called Teresa. The woman deserved to be taught a lesson and she was going to learn one today. "We have to stop by this address and then weíll be going to catch the ferry to Santa Cruz Island." Crane told the driver as he passed him a small piece of paper with Teresaís address on it.
"Yes, Sir," the driver agreed as they left the hotel. The drive to Teresaís apartment took less then ten minutes. Crane smiled as the woman walked towards the car dressed to the nines, just as he knew she would. She wore an ankle length blue skirt that narrowed so that it made walking awkward, a blue silk blouse and matching blue purse topped off her outfit. When Crane saw the two-inch heels she wore he grinned mischievously, Ďoh this is going to be more fun than I thought.í
Teresa waited for someone to get out of the car and let her in. When there was no movement she huffed and opened the door herself and got into the back. She sat beside Jethro and grinned maliciously at Crane.
"Whatís wrong Teresa? Having a bad day?" Crane asked snidely.
"Iím fine, Lee," she answered sarcastically. She turned to her date for the day and smiled animatedly, "Why are you dressed like that?" she asked, looking suspiciously at Crane. "Where are you taking me, Jethro?"
"I canít tell ya that, Teresa. Itís a big surprise. But I love what yer wearin," he told her, drooling over the way she moved her body sensuously.
"But, Jethro, darling, I want to know," she whined.
"Now, Teresa. If you want you can go back and change into something more comfortable." Crane told her. She shook her head, "Well let Jethro keep his surprise. Heís so looking forward to spending a romantic day with you. Right Jethro?" Crane asked.
"Thatís right. Let me do this fer ya Teresa. I got lots a money and Iím plannin on spendin it all on ya." Jethro said, grinning happily at his date.
"Why, Jethro thatís so kind of you. You can keep it as a surprise if you like. Am I dressed ok for it," she asked, looking around suspiciously.
"Whatever ya wear is perfect, Teresa," Jethro replied.
"I bet you say that to all your dates," she told him.
"Naw, jus you, cause yer so perty!" he stated, wrapping an arm around her shoulder.
"Youíll be fine, Teresa," Elly told her in a friendly tone.
"Thank you," Teresa said.
Crane immediately heard the contempt in her voice. She cared nothing for Jethro and his cousin. All she cared about was Uncle Jedís twenty-five million dollars. The more she spoke, the easier it was going to be to exact revenge on this particular Barracuda. She would not be a happy woman after today. He sat back and relaxed, a smile on his face.
The Limo pulled up in front of the ticket booth and Crane smiled at the barely concealed anger on Teresaís face as she realized where they were going.
"Weíre going to Santa Cruz!" she stated.
"Thatís right. Thereís Chip and Angie. Theyíre coming along as well. Whatís the matter Teresa? Donít you like amusement parks?" Lee asked, smiling innocently.
"Oh I just love amusement parks, Lee. But Iím not really dressed for it. Can we go back to my apartment so I can change."
"Sorry, Teresa, but Chip already has our tickets bought and the boat leaves in ten minutes. Come on Jethro, Elly, we have to hurry." Lee and Elly ran over to join Chip and Angie in the line up of people waiting to board the ferryboat. Jethro picked Teresa up and carried her over the sand to the waiting group.
Morton and Crane exchanged winks at the look of anger on Teresaís face. She glared at the two of them angrily, and turned back to her date, "Thank-you, Jethro. You can put me down now," she told him.
"I can carry you till we get ta the ferry. Yer not much heavier than Elly is." Jethro told her, not realizing she would take it as an insult rather than a compliment.
Crane and Morton didnít bother to hide their amusement, "Maybe itís time for another diet," Lee stated.
"I told you not to eat that chocolate bar, Teresa" Morton said, and the two Seaview men couldnít hold back their laughter any longer.
"Teresa donít need no diet," Jethro told the two men. "Sheís perfect jus the way she is. Besides, I like woman who arenít to bony," he said innocently, sending Crane and Morton off into uncontrollable laughter again.
"Let me down, Jethro," she stated, vehemently glaring at the objects of her fury. Jethro put her gently on her feet and she straightened out her dress, not once looking at Crane or Morton.
The ferry began to load and they quickly made their way to the front of the boat. "Why donít we go up on the deck?" Angie asked.
"Thatís a great idea," Crane said, again looking at the two inch heels Teresa wore. As they made their way to the stairs Crane turned to her and said, "Maybe it would be better if you took off your shoes."
"Why? So you can throw them overboard?" she asked, sarcastically. She stepped onto the first wrought iron step and her heel immediately sunk through one of the openings.
"No. So that doesnít happen to you," Crane said.
"Oh, I hate you," she whispered so he was the only one to hear. She reached down and pulled off her shoes, pushing past Crane and up the stairs. Jethro hurried to catch up with her. Elly and Angie were right behind him.
"This is going better than we could have hoped," Crane told Morton.
"Thatís an understatement," Morton said and both men laughed. "Weíd better get up there."
When they reached the top steps they saw Jethro and Teresa standing by the rail. Jethro had his arm protectively around her waist, but the look on Teresaís face told them she did not want it there.
Crane looked up and saw a rather large flock of seagulls flying overhead and kept Elly back under cover. He saw both Chip and Angie do the same, and the four of them sat on a wooden bench. The birds were noisy and seemed to be diving for the fish churned up by the ferry as it left the docks.
"You two might want to come in here until weíre clear of the docks. Looks like a seagull convention out there." Crane told Jethro and Teresa.
"Weíre fine where we are, Lee," she said sarcastically, as she pulled away from Jethroís embrace.
"Suit yourself," Crane said, grinning happily.
"Damn," Teresa said, using a few more colourful expletives as she tried to wipe the mess from her shoulder.
Crane and Morton could do nothing to hide their enjoyment of seeing Teresa dumped on by one of the gulls. They were laughing heartily as she and Jethro made their way back under the covering. "I told you to come back from the railing," Crane stated, not bothering to conceal his laughter.
"As if you care. Is there a washroom on this thing?" she asked angrily.
"Downstairs," Morton chimed in, not wanting Crane to have all the fun. Again they laughed as the woman tried to navigate the stairs in her two-inch heels and tight skirt. Jethro followed quickly behind.
"You two should be ashamed of yourselves," Angie told them. The twinkle in her eye betrayed the fact that she was also enjoying Teresaís troubles.
"How come ya donít seem ta like Teresa?" Elly asked Lee.
"Sheís just not a nice person. I just hope we can convince Jethro of that. If I know Teresa, she doesnít even want to be here with your cousin," Crane told her.
"But he likes her."
"I know, Elly. Iím hoping when he sees what sheís really like heíll realize heís better off without her."
"But, Lee, why is she going out with him?"
"Do you remember what she first told Jethro?"
Elly thought for a moment, "You mean when she told him he wasnít her type and couldnít afford ta take her where she wanted ta go."
"Thatís right, but as soon as Jethro let it slip that his uncle has twenty-five million dollars, she became very interested. Sheís after the money." Crane told her.
"Teresa has two interests. Herself and money," Morton said seriously.
"We canít let her hurt Jethro. What are we gonna do?" Elly asked.
"Weíll figure something out, donít worry," Crane assured her.
"Donít worry, Elly. If anyone can help Jethro, itís these two." Angie told her. Elly relaxed, confident that things would work out. After Jethro and Teresa returned the group sat talking of the fun they were going to have on all the rides.
"Why donít we just go for the all day ride passes?" Morton asked, glancing at the price board.
"Thatís not a bad idea, Chip. That way we can go on our favourite rides as often as we want." Crane said, knowing full well that Teresa would have to buy her own pass if she wanted one. Jethroís two dollars would not be enough to buy one all day pass let alone two. "Come on, Elly letís go get our pass."
"Are you going to get us an all day pass, Jethro?" Teresa asked, as she gazed suggestively into his eyes.
"Iím sorry, Teresa. I only got two dollars. I have ta buy ya lunch with that. I can buy some ride tickets and we can go on the tunnel of love ride and the Giant Dipper ride though. Come on letís catch up with Lee and Chip," he said, grabbing her arm and forcing her to run through the sand in her high heels.
Teresaís skirt proved to be her undoing as she lost her balance and pitched face first into the sand. Jethro reached down to pull her back to her feet, "Are ya all right?" he asked.
"Iím just peachy. I thought you told me your uncle gave you lots of money to take me out."
"He did. Back home in Bug Tussell ya could take yer date anywhere with that much money and still have some extra ta buy somethin fer yerself. This here place cost a lot more than I thought it would."
"Itís not fair. Look at me," she said.
"I am, yer beautiful."
"Sure I am. I wore this dress because you were taking me out. My shoes are ruined. You should have told me we were going to this childish place. I want to leave! Itís all Lee Craneís fault!"
"How can ya say that? Lee asked ya if ya wanted ta change and ya said no."
"Are you having a problem, Jethro?" Crane asked, coming up behind them.
"YOU!" Teresa screamed. "Why didnít you leave me and Jethro to go out on our own? He would have taken me somewhere nice. Give me my boat ticket. Iím going home."
"Sorry, Teresa, youíre out of luck. We bought the boat ticket and we all have to leave together. If I give it to you then we have no way home." Morton told her.
"Iíll just buy my own," she stated.
"I donít think you can do that either. Tickets are only sold on the Santa Barbara side. Youíll just have to wait until weíre ready to go back," Crane told her. "Well, Jethro it looks like youíre on your own now, Letís go see how many tickets you can get for yourself." ĎMaybe Iíll just pay for an all day pass for you,í he thought.
ĎOh no, Lee. Youíre not getting rid of me that easily.í Teresa thought, "Iím sorry, Jethro. I was just being silly. Iíll pay for our passes and you can buy our lunch, OK?"
Jethroís face lit up happily, "Youíre gonna stay here with me and go on the rides."
"I will, Jethro. Come on. Lets get our passes," she said, smiling triumphantly over her shoulder as they passed the rest of the group. ĎSee Crane, I know how to handle this boy,í she thought.
"We almost got rid of her," Morton said.
"Almost is not good enough," Crane told him. "Weíve got all day to show her a real good time," a Cheshire cat like grin plastered on his face.
"All set, Lee," Jethro said, as the attendant finished attaching their wristbands.
"Ok, girls," Crane said, deliberately looking at only Elly and Angie. "Where do you want to go first?"
"How about the funhouse?" Angie asked.
"Oh, yeah that sounds like fun," Elly said.
"I donít know," Teresa stated, attaching herself like a leech to Jethroís arm.
"Come on, Teresa. Iíll help ya. This is gonna be fun." Jethro said, happily following Morton and Crane towards the fun house.
Lee was the first to enter the funhouse followed by Elly and the rest of the group. The hall of mirrors was the first stop. Crane pulled Elly to him and their bodies stretched in the mirror so they looked as is they were ten feet tall, large at the top and bottom and skinny in the middle. Chip and Angie stood at the next mirror, which turned them into teardrop shapes. Jethro pulled his date in front of a mirror, which gave them a short wide stature and everyone, but Teresa laughed.
Next stop in the funhouse was the twirling barrel. Lee and Chip were well adapted to the rolling of the barrel from working on a submarine and walked through almost nonchalantly. The other four had difficulty making it through and fell several times. Once again Teresa let her displeasure show through.
ĎThis is only the beginning, Teresa,í Crane thought, as they walked into a roomful of slides. There were seven slides in all ranging from ten feet in height to thirty feet. "I think Iíll watch you guys this time," he stated.
"Come on, Lee, ya ave ta come down the big one with me. Lookit those two, that looks like fun," Elly said.
Crane watched as the couple came down the slide holding each other closely as they went over each bump. Smiling he said, "all right, Elly, you asked for it." Lee and Elly climbed the stairs to the top while the others watched from the floor. As they sat on the small red mat Lee wrapped his arms possessively around her waist. Elly turned, smiled and kissed him as the operator pushed them off. Elly excitedly turned and watched as they made their way to the bottom. Laughing hysterically they jumped off the carpet and rejoined their waiting friends.
"Are you guys gonna try it?" Elly asked.
"Angie?" Chip asked.
"Sure, Chip. Letís go," she said and they ran for the stairs like two kids.
"What about you two?" Crane asked.
"I donít think I can climb up there in my heels," Teresa stated.
"Take them off. Weíll hold them for you." Crane told her.
"I can carry ya," Jethro told her.
"Thatís ok, Jethro," she said, bending down to remove her heels. "I can climb. Take care of these, Lee."
"Iíll guard them with my sole," Crane said, causing Morton and Angie, whoíd just returned from their ride, to laugh at his pun. Teresaís glare was murderous as she passed them.
"I didnít know you were so punny, Lee," Angie said jokingly.
They watched as Jethro and Teresa made their way to the top of the high slide and sat on the mat. Jethro wrapped his arms around her waist and she put her arms down at her side. The operator pushed them off and Teresa screamed an unladylike expletive as she picked up speed going down. "Are you all right?" Jethro asked, concerned for his date.
"Iím Fine!" she exclaimed through clenched teeth. "Can we get out of here now?" she asked when they reached the bottom.
"Whatís the matter? You donít like to have fun Teresa?" Morton asked.
"I love to have fun. But this is not my kind of fun."
"This is great fun," Elly told her, beginning to understand why Lee and Chip didnít think much of her.
"For you maybe. I just want to get out of here. Can we go, Jethro?"
"All right, Teresa," Jethro said, disappointedly. Teresa led Jethro to the exit turnstile and they went outside to wait for the other four.
"I guess weíd better be going as well. Canít leave Jethro out there with that barracuda." Crane said seriously.
"I agree. You donít know what sheíll do to poor, unsuspecting Jethro." Angie said.
"Maybe we can do the Giant Dipper and get rid of her for once and for all." Morton said as they walked out.
"You wouldnít be suggesting we throw her off the ride, would you?" a smiling Crane asked.
"Not at all. But if she didnít like this one she wonít like the coaster. And if that doesnít work, thereís always the tunnel of love."
"I do believe your mind is just as devious as the Admiralís, Chip," Crane told him, as they walked up to Jethro and his date.
"Weíre going to check out the Giant Dipper. You two want to join us?" Morton asked.
Jethro looked at Teresa, "Can we?" he asked beseechingly.
"I guess so, Jethro. But I really wish we could just go home," she whined.
"I bet you do," Crane mumbled under his breath.
"Pardon me?" Teresa asked.
"Oh nothing. Letís just go to the Dipper." Crane said, smiling brightly at her.
Jethro led them towards the famous roller coaster, "It sure is bigger then anythin we ever had back in the hills!" he exclaimed. Unable to control his excitement he began to pull Teresa quickly towards the ride.
"Jethro, slow down. Damn!" she said as her heel broke and she pulled him to a halt. "Now see what you made me do you stupid hillbilly!"
"Teresa, thatís uncalled for," Crane began, but didnít get a chance to finish as Elly grabbed the woman by the arm and pulled it roughly behind her back.
"Ya tell Jethro yer sorry right now or Iíll whup the tar outta ya," she said angrily.
"OK, ok, Iím sorry Jethro," Teresa said and rubbed her arm as Elly released it. She looked at her date and realized sheíd made a big mistake, "I really didnít mean it Jethro. You know I like you, itís just that I hurt my ankle when you made me run and the heel broke off my shoe," she pouted and smiled inwardly as she saw that he believed her. ĎWhat a foolish oaf,í she thought.
Jethro reached down and picked up his date, "itís all my fault. Iíll carry ya until we get on the ride," he said.
"I donít really want to, Jethro. Canít we just sit here and wait for the others?"
"Come on, Teresa. Heís been looking forward to this ride. If you donít want to go sit here, but let him have some fun," Morton told her.
"Itís ok, Chip. Itís my fault sheís hurt. Why donít you four go on without us?"
Crane and Morton cringed at the guilt Jethro was feeling because of his date. They both knew what she was capable of and knew she wanted Jethro alone so she could convince him to take her home. They were not going to let that happen.
"Jethro Bodine and Elly May Clampett. Is that really you?" the whole group turned to see a petite brunette smiling at Jethro.
ĎWho have we here?í Crane thought.
"Mary Sue Buford. When did ya leave home?" Elly asked, excitedly hugging the pretty young woman.
"I been livin in Santa Barbara with Aunt Martha fer nearly two months. Itís so good ta see a friendly face from the hills," Mary Sue told them.
"It certainly is. Mary Sue Iíd like ya ta meet some friends of ours," Elly said, and she introduced everyone to the newcomer.
"Where are Granny and Uncle Jed?" Mary Sue asked.
"They stayed back at the hotel. Are ya here alone?" Jethro asked.
"Yes, Jethro. I work part time in the ticket booths. I just finished and was going to take a ride on the Coaster, but Iím a little nervous."
"This must be your lucky day. Teresa just hurt her ankle and it looks like Jethro needs a partner to ride the coaster with him. Iím sure Teresa doesnít want him to miss out on the ride because of her," Morton said.
Teresa was trying hard to cover her anger, but it just wasnít working, "Iím fine, Chip." She turned to Jethro and said, "Maybe your little hillbilly friend can find someone else to take her."
"Thatís ok, Iíll jus wait here. I donít want ta go by myself." Mary Sue told them, disappointment evident in her face. It was obvious to everyone in the group that she had a thing for Jethro.
"Why bother waiting. You donít have a date and youíll feel funny being the oddball," Teresa told her.
Jethro was beginning to see a new side to his date. Placing her none to gently on her feet, he realized just because she was beautiful on the outside she was missing the inner beauty that Mary Sue Buford had. "Mary Sue, if itís ok with ya, Iíll take Teresa first and then come back fer ya."
"Oh, Jethro, that would be great. Thank-you."
"You canít do that, Jethro. Youíre my date."
"Yer right, I am yer date, but Mary Sue needs a friend ta take her on the coaster and I aim ta do it."
"Well if thatís how you feel why donít you just take her?"
"Thatís a great idea. You didnít want ta go in the first place," Elly stated.
"You stay out of it!" Teresa said, her anger finally showing through.
"Whatís wrong, Teresa? Things not going the way you planned?" Crane asked.
"Shut up, Lee!" she shouted. "Come on, Jethro. You and I are going to ride the Dipper."
"I donít think so, Teresa. Yer not a nice person. Mary Sue, Iíd be honoured ta take ya." Jethro said.
"And just what am I supposed to do while youíre gone with this little hillbilly?" Teresa asked angrily.
"You can wait here or find yerself another date."
"But I paid for your pass and you have my ticket for the ferry."
"Hereís the money for the pass," Crane said, passing the woman a five-dollar bill. "As for the ferry weíll meet you at the dock when weíre finished."
"NO! You did this on purpose. I wouldnít even put it past you to find this hillbilly girl and bring her here to ruin things for me. Iíll get you back!"
"I donít think so Teresa, but youíre welcome to try," Crane told her, grinning happily.
"I have an idea," Elly told them. "If Mary Sue has a single ticket fer the ferry she can give it ta Teresa and she can be Jethroís date fer the rest of the day. Then she can use Teresaís ticket ta come home with us."
"Thatís brilliant, Elly. What do you say, Mary Sue, Jethro? You two seem to be without a date." Angie said.
"Iíd love ta, but itís up ta Jethro," Mary Sue said.
"Me too, Iíd love ta ave Mary Sue on a date," Jethro said.
"Hereís my ticket," Mary Sue said, passing the stub to the angry woman next to Jethro.
Teresa knew she was finished and she grabbed the stub and tried to walk away in a dignified manor, but with one heeled shoe and one not she was as gracious as a hobbled horse and she became even angrier as she heard the laughter wafting up from the group she was leaving behind.
"Iím glad we donít have to put up with her whining anymore. Why donít we forget about her and have some fun? Giant Dipper here we come," Crane said.
The line up was a long one but without Teresa there to put a damper on things, no one minded and they laughed and joked until they were at the front. Jethro and Mary Sue were in the front car, followed by Lee and Elly then Chip and Angie. The car began the long climb up the ramp. Jethro looked at his date and smiled. "Are ya scared?" he asked.
"Not as much as I would have been without ya here," Mary Sue told him.
Jethro beamed at his date, "Iíll look after ya," he said reaching under the bar to hold her hand as they came over the top and began the most exciting ride theyíd ever been on. The first drop lifted them slightly off their seats, eliciting a scream from each member of the group. Through the curves, twists and bends they went, screaming loudly at each new, sudden drop, laughing as they realized they werenít the only ones screaming. The ride ended and they exited, laughing and shouting at each other happily.
"Where would you lovely ladies like to go now?" Morton asked.
"How about the carousel?" Angie asked.
"Youíre wish is my command," Morton told her laughingly.
They made their way to the Carousel where each man helped his date climb on her horse and then mounted the one beside her.
Lee leaned towards Elly, "Are you having fun?" he asked.
"Oh yes, Lee. Thank-you fer bringing me ere," she told him as the music began to play and the carousel began to turn slowly.
"Youíre welcome," Crane said softly.
Two hours later they were sitting in the sand eating chilli dogs and drinking soda. "Granny seemed really taken with that pizza stuff, I wonder what sheíd think of these. They are so good." Jethro said, finishing his second dog and starting in his third.
"I donít know what sheíd say but I see you still have the same hearty appetite." Mary Sue laughed as she wiped excess chilli from his chin.
"Thanks, Mary Sue," Jethro said, grinning broadly at his new date.
"Yer welcome," she told him.
"I think Jethroís happier with his second choice of a date," Crane said, returning from throwing his waste in the garbage.
"Mary Sue seems pretty taken with him," Angie stated.
"Her and me was real close back home and I seem ta recollect she always did like Jethro. She got all upset when she found out he was movin ta Beverly Hills with us." Elly told them.
"Well, maybe they can rekindle their friendship," Crane said, watching the exchange between Jethro and his date. "Sheís definitely better than the barracuda."
"Youíve got that right," Morton agreed.
"Hey, you guys want to go play some games?" Crane asked Jethro and Mary Sue.
"Sure Lee, but if itís ok weíll just watch. I spent the last of my money on the chilli dogs. These places are more expensive than back in Bug Tussel," Jethro told them.
"Jethro, can I talk ta ya, alone?" Elly asked.
"Sure, Elly," Jethro said and the two walked off from the group.
"I can give ya what Pa gave me. Leeís been payin fer everythin, so I ainít gonna need it."
"Thank ya Elly," Jethro said, vowing not to call her his dumb hillbilly girl cousin for at least a week. Elly smiled at him as they walked back and joined the other four. "Letís go play some games," he said, taking Mary Sue by the arm.
"You there. You fellas look like youíre all good shot. Come on shoot the turkeys and win the beautiful ladies a prize," a barker called from behind his stand.
"Why not give it a try, Lee?" Morton asked his friend.
"How much?" Crane asked the barker.
"Well now that depends on if you want the lady to have a big prize or a small prize. Itís ten cents a shot. One turkey for a small prize, two for a medium and three for a large. Oh we also have an extra large prize if you shoot five turkeys. Youíre choice, young fella."
"Hereís fifty cents. Does it matter what order I shoot them in?" Crane asked, smiling at the barker.
"None whatsoever. You just have to shoot five in a row."
Crane took the small shotgun and put it to his shoulder. He squeezed the trigger gently to get a feel for the gun and then fired his first shot. The head flew off the first cardboard turkey. His second shot took the tail off the second, his third, fourth and fifth shots found the exact centre of the remaining three birds and he placed the gun back on the counter. "Whereís the beautiful ladies prize?" he asked the surprised barker.
"Thatís some shootin," the barker said. "Hang on and Iíll get the prize." He reached behind the turkey board and pulled out a large red stuffed wishbone. "Here you go little lady," the barker said passing the big garish prize.
"Thank-you," Elly said. "This is the first thing anybody ever won fer me," she cried happily.
"Do you like it, Elly?" Angie asked.
"I love it. Iím gonna put it up on my bedroom wall. Thank-you so much Lee," she said, placing it over her shoulders.
"Would you like me to carry it for you?" Lee asked as they walked to the next booth.
"No, thatís ok. I can do it," she told him.
"Hey Elly, this is yer game," Jethro called. "With yer arm ya should have no trouble knockin over the milk cans."
"You want to try it, Elly?" Lee asked.
"Iíd love ta," she answered, excited at the prospect of winning something for her date.
"You understand young lady that you have to knock all the milk cans off the shelf completely with one baseball?" the barker asked.
"She can do that with her eyes closed. I have enough lumps on the back of my head from the times she threw things at me. Sheís got a good arm," Jethro said proudly.
"Thatíll be ten cents, but wouldnít you rather let one of these strapping young men do it for you?" he said, indicating Lee, Chip and Jethro.
"I can do it by myself. This is fer you, Lee," she said, pulling her arm back and throwing the ball with all her strength. The milk cans flew off the table and landed with a resounding clunk against the floorboards.
"Wow, young lady. I owe you an apology. Iíve never seen a lady with an arm like that. Hereís your prize." He passed her a large plush baseball and she passed it to Lee who grinned from ear to ear.
"Thank you, fair lady," Crane said, bowing to his date.
"Jus donít make her mad at ya, Lee. Cause she has great aim no matter how far ya think ya are from her," Jethro explained, rubbing the back of his head in painful memory.
"I wonít," Crane laughed.
By the end of the day everyone had a prize and they tiredly made there way to the ferry and headed home to Santa Barbara.
Their Limo was waiting in the parking lot and they bid goodnight to Chip and Angie. Lee opened the door and helped Elly inside. He smiled as he noticed Jethro was doing the same thing for Mary Sue on the other side. ĎYou learn fast, Jethro,í he thought.
Mary Sue gave her address to the driver and they dropped her off before going back to the Four Seasons Hotel.
Lee walked Elly to her door and held her hand as Jethro went inside. The door closed quickly and Lee pulled Elly into an embrace. He kissed her gently on the lips and gazed into her eyes. "I hate to see this weekend come to an end, Elly. I think if we had more time things could change between us."
"Me too, Lee. I wish we had longer as well."
"I know. But youíll be going home tomorrow and Iíll be leaving this week for several months at sea," he said, gently wiping a tear from her eye.
"I know that. I also knew what I was doing when I agreed to go out with ya. I knew there was no promise of a tomorrow, and I donít regret the time we had together."
"Me either. I like you a lot, Elly May Clampett and I hope we can be friends."
"Course we can," she told him.
"No regrets," Crane told her.
"No regrets," Elly told him, reaching to kiss him one last time. She felt herself melting and knew sheíd better pull out of the embrace. "Sorry, Lee."
"Donít be. Iím not," he said as the door opened behind him.
"Oops sorry," Granny said quickly closing it again.
"Is it ok if I come by to see you off in the morning?" Lee asked.
"Iím sure Granny and Pa would like ya too."
"What about you?"
"Of course," she told him. She smiled as she looked up at him, "from now on weíre just friends havin fun, right?"
"Right, Elly," he said, swallowing the lump in his throat with some difficulty.
Elly opened the door and went inside leaving a troubled Lee Crane standing alone. ĎI wish things were different, Elly,í he thought sadly and walked away.
Lee Crane waved as the Clampettís truck drove away from the Four Seasons Hotel, a look of profound sadness on his face.
"Well, Lee. I understand Teresa got what she deserved," Nelson said from behind him.
"I take it Chip filled you in on our day at the amusement park," Crane said.
"I told him everything from the bird droppings to the broken heel." Morton said, smiling at his friend.
"Remind me never to get on the wrong side of either one of you." Nelson stated.
"Funny thing is, Admiral, we didnít have to do anything." Crane said.
"Oh sure, Lee. Tell me another one."
"Itís true. How could we have arranged for the gulls?" Crane asked.
"If it could have been arranged, you two would have done it. Iíd love to have seen her face when it happened."
"I think you would have had more fun if youíd seen her face when Jethro dumped her for Mary Sue." Morton laughed.
"Oh well. I guess things can finally get back to normal. Any regrets, Lee?" Nelson asked.
"Not really. I just wonder what might have been."
"Who knows, maybe youíll find out someday? I know another lady whoíll help get your hillbilly beauty off your mind for a while. Letís go get Seaview ready." Nelson told him.
"Yeah, She always manages to do that." Crane said.
"Duty calls, Lee." Morton said as they walked to the waiting Limo.