The Adventures of Cousin Dan: The Big Date
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Now, most of the time, we all could use a bit of help from our friends. But have you ever had a day when you wished your friends hadn't tried helpin' you? My Cousin Dan sure did. Let me tell you about it.

See, Cousin Dan was pretty lonesome. Most ladies don't want to have nothin' to do with a fella they can't even look eye-to-shin with. He only had to go on one date with a woman 'fore it came clear it wouldn't work out, nohow.

Well, his friends decided it'd be a right shame if he didn't find himself a lady friend, and figured they'd help him out. Rearview Eddie'd spotted a woman nigh as large as Dan was when he was making his rounds o' the world. He asked her who she was, and she told him she was Libby Marigold. Eddie explained as how he had a friend who was bigger'n she was, an' how he'd like to introduce 'em. Libby was amiable to the idea, an' so Eddie took her picture an' ran off to tell the boys.

When he saw that picture, Dan felt his heart beat faster'n a drummer stuck in a light socket. Libby had hair like cornsilk and eyes like fresh coffee. He wanted to go straight off and say his how-you-dos, but Slick Hopkins stopped him. "Now, Dan," he said, "You can't just go courtin' a woman in yer overalls an' work boots. You gotta wear somethin' safistikated, like they got in the city."

Dan allowed as how this was true, but he didn't have a good suit to wear, an' tailorin' one to his size wouldn't be easy. Slick called in fifty tailors and set 'em on an old circus tent. A week later, they had a right nice suit on their hands.

Dan was just about to go off and say his hellos, but Dudley Marner said that Dan needed to get himself a nice bouquet. "Wimmen like flowers, Dan," he said. "Get her a real nice bunch of 'em, so she knows ya like her. You go without some flowers, an' she'll think yer a right bumpkin."

They picked a few flowers, but they kept gettin' lost in Dan's hand. Even sunflowers were mighty puny lookin' with Dan holdin' 'em. Dudley had an idea, though, an' he got fifty politicians together speechifyin' in the rosebed, an' what with all them political words droppin' down, they had themselves rosebushes nigh as big as redwoods a week later. They picked off a few of the roses, an' soon had themselves the nicest, and the biggest, bouquet you ever did see. The thorns from the stems were painted orange an' used for traffic cones.

Dan was all set to go, but then Benjy Harper piped up, "You can't go without your havin' a gift fer her. Ladyfolk can be real particular 'bout that sort o' thing."

Dan nodded, but what he heck was he goin' to give her? If she was anywhere near as tall as Eddie had said, a gift'd have to be pretty darned big to suit her. Benjy said he'd got hisself an idea. Ladyfolks, he explained, liked sweet things to eat. So, he got fifty cooks to put together a big ol' cake for Dan to take with 'im. The rest cleaned up the junkyard for cardboard an' put together a box for Dan to carry it in. And it didn't take them more than a week to get it all together.

So, finally, Dan was ready to get goin'. He had on his nice suit made o' circus tent, the bunch o' roses in his hand, and the cake under his arm. He'd just set off to meet with the girl, when he felt something what chilled his blood.

Rain. Not rain such as you and I get, but the real stuff they got in Deadwood Valley. This stuff don't just clean the Earth, it washes behind the ears. This rain was hard an' fast. In five minutes flat, it did as much as most rainstorms do in a week. Dan didn't have time to rush back indoors, as he was caught right out in the open, and got the full force of it.

When the air cleared of water, Dan was standin' there with his suit soggier'n a frog's newspaper. The roses was down to the stems, all the petals havin' been washed right off. The cake was a squashy mess inside a box what felt it was gonna break any second.

Dan was lookin' mighty dejected an' trust me, a man his size has a lot to look dejected with. He'd been hopin' to meet up with a lady, but he knew he couldn't possibly go see her lookin' as he did. He'd get laughed clear back to Deadwood.

He was feelin' so sorry for hisself, he didn't even look up until he felt someone tap him on the shoulder. This was a new experience for Dan, as most folks needed a ladder an' a team o' sherpas to reach him that high. He looked up, an' who was it but the lady herself!

"You Big Dan Browne o' Deadwood?" she asks him.

"Er, yes'm," Dan said, lookin' away.

"You sorry son of a polecat!" Libby shouted, grabbing one of his ears. "You know how long I been waitin' for your ugly face to show itself? Three weeks I been waitin', an' not a word do I hear 'bout this mystery man who's supposed to call on me. You folks don't got calendars here?"

"Ow! Now you see here, woman!" Dan said, pulling his ear free. "Some things've gotta wait fer their own time. I'm a busy man, an' I can't just drop everythin' just to call on some woman." He straightened up, which normally put his ears out've harm's way.

Unfortunately, Libby was much closer'n most folks, an she could yell down thunder. "Don't you take that tone with me, Dan Browne! Now, you gonna start courtin' me, or am I gonna have to tan yer hide?"

They been together ever since, an' ain't stopped arguing once. An' I swear on John Henry's hammer, that's the gospel truth.

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