Sunday, April 27, 2014

Keeping Up Appearances

by Pa Rock
Fan of Brit Coms

I had the good fortune to run into some old friends last night in Kansas City, Richard and Hyacinth Bucket, whom I hadn't seen since leaving Arizona a couple of months ago.   (Hyacinth, a bit of a snob, pronounces their last name as "Bouquet.")

Nothing much seems to have changed since I last saw the Buckets.  Richard, a recently retired civil servant, busies himself in the garden and trying to stay out of Hyacinth's way, and Hyacinth, ever the social climber, has been planning another one of her formal candlelight suppers.   She has apparently convinced her neighbor, Elizabeth, and Elizabeth's divorced brother, Emmett, to attend.  Emmett, who directs a local musical theatre group, always tries to avoid contact with Hyacinth because she invariably "sings at" him as she tries to wrangle a part in one of his amateur productions.

Most mornings Hyacinth invites Elizabeth over for coffee, a rather traumatic affair for Elizabeth because Hyacinth makes her so nervous that she nearly always spills her coffee or drops her biscuits on Hyacinth's highly polished floor.  She also broke a few cups  from Hyacinth's collection of Royal Doulton china with hand-painted periwinkles until Hyacinth wised up and began serving Elizabeth's coffee in beakers (mugs).  Poor, Liz - she just doesn't have the backbone to ever say no to Hyacinth.

Sheridan Bucket, whom I have never met, is still at university where he has been a student for several years.  He and his roommate, Tarquin, study embroidery and other domestic arts.  Hyacinth constantly cautions her son - usually when he phones home for money - to avoid women, something that does not appear to be a problem for "Mummy's Sheridan."

Hyacinth caught me up on the trials and tribulations of her three sisters:  Daisy, Rose, and Violet.  Daisy is still married to Onslow, a lazy lout who spends his days watching the horse races on the telly and drinking beer.   While Onslow might not be every woman's idea of an Adonis, he definitely still rings Daisy's bells.

Rose lives with Onslow and Daisy.   She has a penchant for under-dressing and chasing men.  Rose's exploits are a constant irritation to Hyacinth, particularly when she sets her sights on Hyacinth's "dishy" (and married) vicar.  Onslow, Daisy, and Rose share their dilapidated dwelling with the women's father,  a World War I veteran who sometimes thinks he is still fighting Germans.   Daddy is also a bit of a ladies man.  Hyacinth is always ready with a quick excuse for Daddy's bizarre behavior and worries about the care that he receives from her sisters - but she can't have him move into her house because he drools.

The other sister, Violet, married money - and Hyacinth is more than a little envious.  Whenever Violet telephones, Hyacinth is quick to let everyone within earshot know that "It's my sister, Violet.  The one with the Mercedes, sauna, and room for a pony."  Violet and her rich husband, Bruce, tend to argue often and loudly, primarily due to Bruce's penchant for cross-dressing.  Hyacinth cautions Violet to be understanding and to "think of the Mercedes."

There are always interesting things going on in the Bucket household.  I used to visit with them weekly, and I really miss those get-togethers.  But until Ozarks Public Television lightens up and develops a sense of humor, I guess I am destined to encounter Richard and Hyacinth and their friends only when I am away from home.

How sad for me - and for the rest of us in the Ozarks.

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