Adam closed his eyes for a moment, trying desperately
to grasp the words that had just been spoken to him.
has agreed to to do what...with whom?"
The older gentleman bristled slightly, unnerved by the
presence of the large man standing directly behind
him. "Your father
has agreed to star in my six week production of Romeo
"Sir, no disrespect intended here, but the very idea
that my father would be willing to put on tights and
act on stage." Adam
smiled at Hoss. "It's ludicrous."
"I'm afraid dear boy, that that paper you are holding
in your hand, signed by your father, proves his
willingness to do so."
"And exactly how did you manage to get him to agree?"
"I merely said he would make an excellent Romeo."
Adam snickered. "Romeo? Isn't my father a little old
to play Romeo?"
"No, you see...this the best idea I have had yet...I
have decided to put on Romeo and Juliet using actors
whom shall we say are
"You mean old, dontcha?" Hoss asked grinning.
"Well, that is a droll way of saying it, but yes, all
the actors are over fifty."
Adam looked down, trying to maintain his composure.
"And exactly who did you get to play Juliet?"
"Oh my my a splendid and beautiful woman, Hawkins is
her last name...poor dear...a widow at such a young
Adam laughed aloud.
"Something wrong, young man?"
"Oh no sir, no sir...umm...does my father know the
widow Hawkins is playing Juliet?"
"He will find out tonight...I have assembled the cast
for a meeting and to set-up the rehearsal schedule."
Adam stood up and patted Hoss on the back. "Would you
mind very much if my brother and I came to meet the
"Is there a reason you would like to do that?"
"Well, I believe what you are doing here...is a good
thing, encouraging the older members of the
community to join in on the arts." Adam looked at his
brother. "Wouldn't you agree, Hoss?"
"Sure as shootin' it's a swell thing you're doin' for
this here community, Mr. Cagmire."
"Well, then I would be delighted to have you boys meet
"What time, sir?"
"I've set the meeting for eight."
"My brother and I will be here."
"So, Pa...you doing anything special tonight?"
Ben put down his fork for a moment. "No, why do you
"Oh, no reason...I noticed you hadn't put Buck up
yet...was wondering if you had plans in town?"
"Well, actually, Adam...I have a meeting in town after
Ben wasn't ready to tell his sons quite yet, he had to
work up the courage first. "No, no...just a little
business I need to take care of."
"Oh." Adam winked at Hoss.
"You want Adam and me to join you, Pa?"
"No, no...I would rather go alone. So, what plans do
you two have for this evening?" Ben asked trying to
change the subject.
"Well, with Little Joe away in Frisco...Hoss and I
really have work that will keep us busy."
"Alright, then I will see you at breakfast."
Awhile later, Hoss and Adam waited just inside the
barn for Ben to leave. "Alright, let's give Pa a five
minute head start
and then follow him."
"Adam, he's gonna be madder than a hornet when he
finds out we followed him to town."
"Brother, I would risk Pa's wrath just to see the look
on his face when he finds out who Juliet is going to
"Me too...ain't nothin' he could do to us that would
keep me from seeing that."
Adam nodded and mounted Sport, Hoss followed suit on
"Well, Mr. Cartwright...it's so nice to see you
"Nice to see you, Mr. Cagmire," Ben replied and shook
his hand. "Guess, I'm the first one here?"
"Oh, yes...but I figured you would be...you seem like
the punctual type."
"Comes from my seafaring days...the Captain didn't
"I thought your sons would be riding into town with
"Yes, I ran into them earlier and they were very
interested in your involvement in this endeavor."
"Oh they were, were they?"
"Yes, they were supposed to join the cast for our
meeting this evening."
"Oh well, I'm sure they will be along shortly."
"Good, good...why don't you take your script and go
"I will. Thank you." Ben picked up his script from
the table. "Oh I'll relax alright...I will need all my
skin those boys of mine when I get them back to the
ranch," he muttered to himself and sat down.
Hoss and Adam stopped their horses outside the
"Oh, Adam...Oh Hoss...my my...what are you two doing
here?" Clementine asked from her buggy.
"Good evening, ma'am," Adam said as he helped her
down. "Hoss, and I have come to meet the cast."
"Yes ma'am...it sure is...hey, Wida Hawkins did you
know my Pa is playin' Romeo?"
Clementine slapped him playfully. "You're pulling an
old woman's leg."
"Oh no ma'am...I ain't joshin' ya."
"He's right, Widow Hawkins...Pa's playing Romeo, and
I'm sure he will be delighted to be staring alongside
such a beautiful
Clementine blushed. "You're just as much of a
flatterer as Benjamin."
"Will you do us the honor of allowing us to escort you
inside?" Adam held out his arm.
"Of course." The widow Hawkins took Adam's arm and
walked with him inside the theater.
Ben noticed Adam and stood up. "You two had better
have a good explanation as to why you...Clementine?"
"'ello Benjamin...or should I say Romeo Romeo where
fore art thou, Romeo?"
Ben looked at Clementine. "Juliet?"
"Hey Pa, ain't that a kicker...seems the Wida Hawkins
is gonna be Juliet."
Adam leaned on Hoss' shoulder. "Pa, sure is a lucky
man...aren't ya, Ducky?"
Ben glared at Adam. "Boy, when I get you home..."
"Oh Widow Hawkins...I think you and Pa should practice
your lines, ma'am."
Clementine put her arm into Ben's. "Let's go someplace
private and rehearse, Romeo."
"Private? Clementine...I just remembered, I umm..."
Hoss and Adam laughed as they watched Ben squirm and
the rest is theater history.