Love story different in Vilonia

‘Roscoe, Josephine’ an Arkansas Valentine

William Shakespeare is credited with being a most romantic chap, what with his tale of Romeo and Juliet still being told 400 years later. Have you ever wondered what Shakespeare might have written had he been born in Arkansas in the late 20th century rather than Stratford-Upon-Avon in the mid-1500s?

You don't ponder such things, you say? That's a pity. It's just the sort of thing that runs a mini-marathon between my ears before I fall asleep, along with tomorrow's to-do list and random commercial jingles. ("We are Farmers, bum ba dum bum bum bum bum.")

So in honor of Valentine's Day, I proffer a notion of what might have been, if only the Capulets and Montagues had been neckin' in my neck of the woods:

Roscoe and Josephine

By Billy Ray Shakes

Two doublewides in need of tearin' down

(In fair Vilonia, that's the name of the town),

You'll find hard feelings where judgments lapse,

Bad blood 'tween families, the Monties and the Caps.

It's fixin' to get worse when the kids of these two,

A pair of star-crossed lovers, start pitchin' woo.

Their mamas and daddies'll tan their hides

And hold grudges tighter than Lycra holds thighs.

In the next little bit, I'll try to explain

How the love of two teens raised a whole lotta Cain,

And what had to be buried 'fore the hatchet finally was,

And how good came 'round, as it always does.

Crooked as a hound's leg and twice as dirty,

The Monties were a mean bunch, and none of 'em purdy

Save for Roscoe who was handsome with eyes of blue steel.

And Josephine Cap fell head over heel.

If dumb were dirt, the Caps would be an acre,

Except Josephine -- she was smart as God could make her.

Young Roscoe was love struck and instantly knew

He'd get "Josafeen" inked on a full sleeve tattoo.

"O Roscoe, Roscoe, where you at, Roscoe?

I'll meet you at dawn, then you'll sneak in my window."

"O Josephine, Josephine, what's in a name?

If I call a rose a cow patty, won't it still smell the same?"

So the couple ate supper 'fore their parents said grace.

When her daddy found out Roscoe got past third base,

He said words that would make a sailor blush.

And the families swore to put an end to this crush.

"My bounty is boundless! My love, don't forbid!

I'm his and he's mine. Every pot's got a lid!"

So Josephine conjured her last breath to take,

But Roscoe hadn't heard it was all just a fake.

Heartsick with grief, he took his own life,

And when Josephine woke, she fell on a knife.

Their kinfolk then realized the error of their ways

And lived in peace the remainder of their days.

Now that's a sad story, however it's told.

More after-school special than Hallmark Channel gold.

For never a romance of true love we'd prohibit;

We'd rather you married than buried in Piggott.

Lisa Kelley is a Southern storyteller, lawyer and country gal living a simple urban life in downtown Bentonville. Email her at [email protected].

NAN Our Town on 02/13/2020

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