Summary: Another really lost episode.
Word Count: 3,181
Ben Cartwright had gone out of town for a few days to a cattle auction and bushwhacking in Fercackter Corners, home of both the largest manure pit and multi butt out house in the territory. He was hoping to get some prime naugas to improve his nauga hide herd.
“Don’t get into trouble while I’m gone boys!” Ben warned sternly.
“Yes, sir!” his three sons promised.
“No gambling away the Ponderosa or falling in love with doomed women!” Ben demanded.
“Yes sir!” his sons swore.
“Watch out for cave-ins, forest fires, Indian massacres and falling trees!” Ben said.
“We promise!” his three sons promised.
“And, most important, boys, no wild parties!” Ben insisted emphatically. “NO WILD PARTIES!”
“Yes, sir! No wild parties!” Adam, Hoss and Little Joe agreed. No one noticed that both Hoss and Joe had their fingers crossed behind their backs negating that promise.
“And Pa, don’t you get wrongly accused of a murder or get kidnapped or get amnesia or fall in love with a doomed gal or predatory gold digger or let one of your numerous never mentioned before long lost friends who want to rip you off!” Adam said as he knew it was only a matter of time before his father met disaster and Ben’s sons would have to rescue him. It wasn’t easy being the eldest son.
Adam sighed. There were days that he wished he could run off to Australia and marry Olivia Newton John or change his name to Trapper John like the guy on MASH and go to medical school.
As soon as Ben Cartwright departed, Adam decided to host a small, quiet literary soiree on the Ponderosa in his father’s absence. “Let’s invite a handful of sophisticated guests and enjoy some light refreshments and intellectual conversation and literary discussions with Miss Annette as the guest of honor.” His brothers knew Adam was attracted to sweet young Miss Annette. She had dark curls and long eye lashes and a sweet smile. She had recently arrived in Virginia City.
While Adam headed into town to purchase a new pick for his guitar and some vegan cheese for the fondue, a book of naughty limericks and the newest Olivia Newton John music video. He also planned to invite all his guests personally.
As soon as Adam rode off, his younger brothers plotted a revision to his plans. Unfortunately for everyone, Joe and Hoss decided that a small, quiet party wouldn’t be enough fun for them.
“A small quiet party won’t be no fun,” Little Joe pointed out.
“We need music and dancing!” Hoss declared with a smile. Hoss was a big man, but surprisingly the best dancer in the Cartwright family. He was light on his feet and expert in the electric slide, the cha cha and the Bunny Hop and won every limbo contest he had entered since the Cartwrights were in the wagon train heading west. He could break dance and do the minuet, separately or together, Hoss had even mastered the Paiute rain dance and the polka.
He was secretly practicing the role of the swan prince in “Swan Lake” to perform at the Virginia City Ladies Club Cultural Night. Only Hop Sing knew about this and he was sworn to secrecy. Hop Sing’s cousin Mottel Kamzoil, the Tailor was sewing his costume from not yet invented spandex in Anatevka where lives are as precarious as the perch of a fiddler on a roof. Under the pretense of visiting his sick Auntie Yen Te, Hop Sing had traveled to Anatevka to pick up the finished costume and hand deliver it to Hoss so there would be no delay or error. Since the Yipee Trade Company debacle where Hoss had received an aggressive, union organizing Lebanese/Chinese bride (aka THAT GIRL) instead of the fireworks he had ordered, Hoss didn’t really trust international delivery systems which created supply chain issues.
“You are right! A small quiet party won’t be no fun!” Hoss agreed.
Little Joe’s green eyes twinkled like matching traffic lights that said “go go go”. He was always up for a gala social event and was sure he could handle lots more gals than his brothers. Little Joe had his eye on a dozen beauties including Doomella and Nearlydead the voluptuous daughters of the new Virginia City undertaker, Mort I Cian and Sud and Death Bluedress, who were twins. They had been triplets but the third girl, DOA had died at birth.
Unbeknownst to Adam, in anticipation of their father’s trip, his brothers had hired four young English musicians who were passing through Virginia City on their way from a debut on the Ed Sullivan Show to a concert in Candlestick Park, bought a few dozen kegs of Shotz Beer, cases of Boone’s Farm Wine from Daniel Boone and arranged for massive buckets of KFC and dozens of pizzas and an entire Taco Bell to be delivered. They had bought a mirrored disco ball to hang in the living room.
The boys also invited lots and lots and lots of friends who invited lots of their friends who invited lots of their friends. News of the party spread like a flash. Even Cochise and Chubby invited herds of their friends including Fury, Flicka and Silver and Caroline Kennedy’s pony Macaroni. Caroline sent her regrets.
Crowds of revelers filled the ranch house as well as the barn and corral and even the hay loft had a line waiting.
Unfortunately, things quickly got out of hand. A fight broke out between the hands from the Triple R ranch and the Ponderosa and the leprechaun miners from the Seven Dwarfs’ Diamond Mine, and the touring company of “Cats”. Fists were flying as were Frisbees and various undergarments. Chairs and tables were over turned and dishes and glasses and punch bowls crashed to the floor.
Ollie, the cook from the Triple R and top hand Spin Evans grabbed Adam and tossed him across the room because he was dancing with Spin’s girl Annette. The little metal stove and bookshelves were knocked into Ben’s desk and everything got dented or cracked or smashed and stained and shattered worse than when Jigger Thurmond’s bull ran amuck.
Marty Markham punched Hoss in the nose and Hoss did a grand jette and pitched him into the red brocade settee which flipped over breaking an ornate leg (the settee not Hoss). Joe ducked as one of the cats from “Cats” pitched Timothy the leprechaun miner at one of the unnamed Ponderosa hands who fell backwards into the dining room table instantly killing him.
(Editor’s note: Character actor Leon ”Butch” Shmdrick who played the unnamed Ponderosa ranch hand later went on to a career playing unnamed red shirted crew members of the Enterprise on “Star Trek” and unnamed doomed gangsters on the Untouchables and anonymous jury members on “Perry Mason” and “Matlock” and an unnamed dancing partner for Rose Nyland in “Golden Girls” . His last role was playing an unamed doomed geriatric town person on “Stranger Things” season 5)
Meanwhile back at the Ponderosa….All the girls wearing blue dresses screamed and swooned and a couple had fatal heart attacks or seizures or strokes giving already overworked Doc Martin even more patients. He had to call in the other 2 Doc Martins and Clara Barton and Hawkeye Pierce to help out.
In the midst of this chaos, Ben’s brand new Porsche buggy rolled down the hill and onto a never before seen pier. Despite Little Joe’s desperate attempt to stop it; the pier collapsed, and the Porsche buggy sank into Lake Tahoe near Dead Marie’s grave, between the moonlit rock of love and the wharf where the Dixie paddle wheel steamer will eventually be docked in season nine. Joe ripped off his shirt and dived in after the buggy, the sight of which sets off another string of fainting girls and women having cardiac arrests.
Realizing that this party was dissolving into chaos, the visiting English musicians grabbed their guitars and ran for the hills.
“This was a hard day’s night!” declared Paul, the cutest of the musicians. (He was cute but clearly not nearly as cute as Little Joe Cartwright.)
“Yeah yeah yeah! “said John and George.
“HELP!” shouted Ringo the drummer of the band as he dragged his drum set and tried to catch up with his three mop topped bandmates as they ran over the crest of the hills. “Help! I need somebody. Help! Not just anybody. Help! You know I need. Someone. Help!”
Eventually Adam, and Moochie from the Triple R pulled all the combatants apart. Sheriff Roy Coffee showed up and the assorted guests departed except for one couple who remained forgotten in the hayloft for the next week.
(Author’s note: 9 months later, the couple gave birth to twins who they named Risky and Business in honor of the party at the Ponderosa. As his usual, Ben Cartwright gifted them with a few acres of land and Adam gave them a wooden cradle, his traditional wedding/baby gift. Hoss knitted a pair of booties and Joe gave them a bottle of Pulke.
“What have you done!!??” Adam looked around the room and groaned when he saw all the horrific damage. “And Hop Sing is out of town tending to his ailing Aunt Yen Te and can’t clean it up!”
(Author’s note: Lucky for Hop Sing!)
The heirloom Cartwright punch bowl was shattered. Furniture was smashed. The rug was stained. A pair of lady’s pink bloomers was draped over the dining room chandelier and a black lace brassiere hung from the pair of horns over the fire place. Worst of all, one of the rowdy miners had had defaced the three framed portraits of the three beloved dead wives of Ben Cartwright. Moustaches had been drawn on each of their lovely faces with not yet invented Sharpies.
(Author’s note: Did you ever wonder why there was a pair of horns hanging over the always burning fire place on the Ponderosa? Do you think it was symbolic?)
(Author’s note number 2: Did you ever wonder why there were numerous photos of the dead mommies including ones that the boys carried in their gear and jacket pockets while traveling on dangerous and dirty trips or in their pockets while breaking horses and on cattle round ups?)
“You two better put this all to rights before Pa gets back from Fercackter Corners in two days!” Adam ordered.
“How?” Hoss asked gazing at the trashed house.
“How? It’s impossible!” added Little Joe as he took quickly the abandoned bloomers off the chandelier and the brassiere from the horns and pocketed them in his green corduroy jacket to add to his prize bloomer and brassier collection that he planned on exhibiting again at the Virginia City Harvest Fair.
“Well you both better figure it out. I’m taking poor sweet traumatized Annette back home!” Adam said escorting lovely Annette to the surrey with the fringe on top that he had recently purchased from Curly McLain in Oklahoma who needed the cash to invest in a Broadway musical. “I’ll be back in a day or two. Annette and I will be canoodling.”
Just before arriving in Virginia City lovely Annette had ditched her boyfriend Frankie after a summer at the California beach and Adam wasn’t going to waste his opportunity to elbow Marty Markham out of the competition for her heart or lips.
“What are we going to do, Hoss? We can’t afford to replace all this busted furniture and dishes and rugs!” Joe gasped. He was so worried about what his father would do that he didn’t even try to figure out what Adam meant by canoodling. Between paying for the band who had run off and the Shotz beer imported from Milwaukee and the KFC that the miners had gobbled up, all their ready cash was gone.
”Pa will kill us for sure! “Hoss scrunched up his face and thought for a long minute.
“For sure!” Little Joe agreed. “What are we going to do?”
“I know! We kin go over to that store that my Uncle Gunnar opened up in the not yet invented mall in Las Vegas! We can get a friends and family discount!!”
“What store?” Joe asked. Last think he had heard, Gunnar Borgstrom was running with a bad gang of nasty stinky commancheros and wearing cheesey, shiny orange satin shirts and a sombrero….definitely a “Fashion Don’t”.
“What store? IKEA!! “Hoss reminded his younger brother. “We got the catalogue via pony express jest before Pa left for the auction.”
“Great idea, Hoss! They have a not yet invented website too!”
“We’ll hitch up the buckboard first thing in the morning and haul back a load of flat packed boxes of assemble yourself furniture and new crockery and a new rug or two and a few dozen of them real good cinnamon buns and we’ll be back putting the furniture together as quick as you can say Billythekiddd book shelf and Tuchasrestin Arm chair!”
“Hoss you are a genius, Hoss!” Joe said. “And I’ll even pay for the cinnamon buns and a big bag of frozen meat balls.”
Hoss and Joe were on the road at sun up and the first through the door at Ikea. They even had time for a few tumbles in the ball pit and a quick bite in the cafeteria. (Yummy!) They even found a not yet invented light fixture that Uncle Gunnar named for himself called Gunnarp to replace the dining room chandelier. (See note at end of story)
“Uncle Gunnar was never a modest man but he always had great ideas to furnish homes sleekly and inexpensively,” Hoss said. He also hadn’t concerned himself with what Adam meant by canoodling.
Joe nodded in agreement, canoodling the last thing on his mind.
They backed up the buckboard in the side parking area and loaded it up. They made good time getting back to the Ponderosa by taking the short cut counter clockwise around the mall through down town Las Vegas past the casinos and Twilight Town and the stage depot. By high noon the brothers were assembling the furniture on the Ponderosa.
Everything went perfectly until they started putting together the Dinnatuble Table and discovered there was no little hex wrench to screw base B into arm A and the Phillips head screwdriver they needed to attach the legs to base be had not yet been invented. Worst of all, the significant 6 holes for the teeny tiny 6 pegs that connected everything wasn’t completely drilled through the particle board.
Hoss groaned and Joe fought off tears. Then Joe groaned and Hoss fought off tears. Then they both groaned and fought off tears.
“Hoss, I think we are hangry!” Little Joe realized.
“And a bit hungover from all the Shatz beer we had at the party!” Hoss added. “Do we have any not yet invented Alka-Seltzer?”
Joe scrounged up a container and handed it to Hoss who was so weary that he swallowed all of it rather than dissolving one tablet in a canteen of water. Realizing what he had done, Hoss grabbed the edge of the water trough, tipped it back and chugged down all the water that was in it. Unfortunately that activated the Alka-Seltzer that had barely hit his stomach causing an eruption of bubbles and froth to erupt from belly and spew from his mouth much like one of the amazing fountains in the Bellagio Hotel in Vegas.
“WOW!” Little Joe exclaimed. “That was amazing, Brother!”
Hoss took a bow and despite his headache did a quick jig. He wiped up the puddle of alke seltzer on the floor with Adam’s yellow jacket and Ben’s maroon velvet bathrobe that one of the gals at the party had borrowed.
“Don’t tell Adam I used his jacket to wipe up the mess,” Hoss told his younger brother.
“Not to worry! Your secret is safe with me.” Joe grinned. It was only then that Little Joe asked “Brother, what do you think Adam meant by canoodling?”
Hoss shrugged and was secretly relieved that Hop Sing had not yet returned with his swan lake costume.
The brothers took a break and cooked up a batch of Ikea meatballs and did a taste test comparing meat balls with fish balls and veggie balls and chicken balls.
“I never knew veggies had balls!” Hoss exclaimed as he dipped the last taste test ball into the blue Ikea Gladelig bowl of liggon berry sauce and gobbled it up. He was a great dancer but biology was not his strongest subject.
(By the way, the Gladelig bowl matched the color of Hoss’ eyes.)
“And you still think chickens do?” Joe snapped back. All that alke seltzer had addled Hoss’ brain. Little Joe really didn’t want to have ANOTHER sex education chat with Hoss about roosters and chickens and flowers and birds and bees and human anatomy even though they had purchased a poster sized picture of a charming neked Swedish lady in Ikea. He would later donate that picture to the Virginia City fund raising bazaar and fiesta and somehow it wound up hanging on a wall in the saloon in Upright.
They still had a lot of repair work to do and Joe was not as patient as he had been earlier in the day. “Let’s get back to assembling the furniture!”
Hoss wiped his chin on the Ikea ANLEDNING napkin which made him appreciate that setting a table with red-striped timeless textile napkins in cotton is luxurious, but also smart. They’re easy to machine wash and can be used over and over. Just like the matching ANLEDNING tablecloth.
“The holes for the teeny tiny pegs weren’t completely drilled through the particle board panels for the new desk for Pa,” Joe pointed out. “Hoss! Use your brute force!”
“I kin jest use brute force? Oh no, Punkin! That will smash the Ikea furniture beyond fixin’! Jest like all our Cartwright romances…”
Both brothers took off their hats and took a moment of silence for all the croaked girls that they and their brother and father had briefly loved and never forgot until the next episode.
“What are we going to do?” the brothers said in unison as the manly cowboys sprawled on the floor next to the half built desk.
Hoss rolled over on his stomach which was filled with four dozen and a half Ikea cinnamon buns and pounds of Ikea meat, fish, and chicken and veggie balls dunked in liggon berries and gallons of Alka-Seltzer . “What are we gonna do? We ain’t got that little hex wrench and no Philips head screw driver! No not yet invented electric drill! ”
Joe gritted his teeth bravely and pulled out his pearl handled revolver “Well, I know how we can drill that hole all the way through! Move aside, Brother!”
If you want to see the infamous Gunnarp light fixture go to https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/gunnarp-led-ceiling-wall-lamp-white-dimmable-white-spectrum-30436816/
The blue bowl that matches Hoss’ eyes is https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/gladelig-bowl-blue-70503620/
The ANLEDNING cloth napkins are here https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/anledning-napkin-white-red-40514286/
Other Stories by this Author
- Autumn on the Ponderosa (by Robin)
- Belated Holiday Greetings in a Letter From Joe (by Robin)
- Watching ‘Ponderosa’ (by Robin)
- A Moving Tale #2 – The Golden Saloon (by Robin)
- Adam’s Memoirs – Part 1 (by Robin)