After the somewhat rowdy Women's Club meeting, life again returned to a level of normalcy in the Colman home...of course, Benita was not exactly chipper, as she came down for breakfast, an icebag on her head, the following morning.
"Oh, Ronnie..." she moaned. "What a ghastly experience! Irene has fired me as Secretary, and placed our home off-limits for any future meetings!"
"Well, can you blame her?" I said, shrugging. "When I walked in, the living room looked like the Sleep-over from Hell!"
"Oooo," she whined, "It must have been the tropical fruit...it was probably bad and I didn't check it!"
"It wasn't the fruit," I corrected her, "it was Clemmie!"
"Oh, don't start..."
I chuckled. "Benita, Clemmie poured enough alcohol into your punch to launch a rocket to London! She's emptied our liquor supply, I checked!"
"Oh, the poor dear...undoubtedly, something Jack Barrymore taught her! I can't punish her for something he caused...Oooo! I wonder how he deals with hangovers?"
"I don't think he's ever sober long enough to have one!"
"Well, I swear, I'll never touch alcohol again..."
I started on my poached eggs and bacon, and Benita turned a bit greenish, and returned to bed!
I knew Clemmie was enjoying a rather freewheeling nightlife, after we retired, each evening (and I locked the bedroom doors and windows!), as we received daily bouquets of flowers addressed to her from a large assortment of male admirers. Benita, of course, believed I was sending them, just to hasten the simian's departure from our home, but I had actually found a consolation in having her here...Juliet had never been happier!
Even before Clemmie arrived, Juliet was excited about having a new friend, and filled our home with drawings of the monkey...and, amazingly enough, Clemmie immediately warmed up to our daughter, as well!
The pair were soon inseparable, giggling in her room, or playing in the yard...
The pair even created an impromptu dance routine, to entertain me when I returned from the studio, one afternoon...
The sheer joy Juliet had in Clemmie's friendship, and the monkey's devotion to the child astonished me, and I finally decided to talk to Juliet about it...
"You really like Clemmie a lot, don't you?"
"Oh, yes, Daddy!" Juliet gushed. "She's my very best friend! We play all the time, and she says the funniest things..."
I was startled. "You understand her?"
"Of course, silly! Can't you?"
"Only a word or two...to my knowledge, only you and Jack Barrymore can understand everything she says...I interpret her gestures, and read her letters to figure out what she's trying to tell me...and usually, I wish I hadn't..."
"Well, Daddy, she sure talks funny, and makes crazy sounds, but she makes me laugh!" She leaned closer to me, and whispered, "Don't tell Mommy, but Clemmie calls her 'old piggy Benita'!"
I winced, as Juliet started giggling! "Uh, darling," I asked, "What does Clemmie call Daddy?"
"She says you're a sexy hunk...what does that mean?"
"Uh, that I'm attractive...but I wouldn't use that term around anybody, Juliet...it's not very proper..."
"Oh, I won't, Daddy! And she's helping me make a big surprise for you, tomorrow!"
"It's FATHER'S DAY, Daddy!" She laughed. "I'm so excited, I just can't WAIT!" With a quick kiss on my cheek, she skipped off to rejoin Clemmie...
The 'Surprise', the next morning, was more of a 'Shock'...
"Your little girl is GROWN UP!" she proclaimed, with Clemmie peering out from behind her, waving!
I stared, dumbfounded, at the wig, eyeshadow, rouge, lipstick, and 'adult' ensemble, right down to high heels that she walked unsteadily on...
I struggled to maintain my composure..."Clemmie, take Juliet back upstairs, and remove all that... paint...and that...that outfit..."
Trembling, the pair raced back up the steps...and a few minutes later, nearly in tears, but back to 'normal', Juliet faced me...
"Daddy," she sobbed, "It's all my fault, I told Clemmie I wanted to show you how grown-up I could be, and Clemmie said she could make me a 'dish' who could have all the boyfriends I want, and I said okay, and we got Mommy's makeup, and..."
"Slow down," I said, "Catch your breath! I'm not angry at you, not really..."
"Don't be mad at Clemmie!"
"No, I'm not mad at her, either..."
"I'm not sure you'll understand what I'm going to tell you, but someday, you shall, I promise...
The hardest part of being a parent isn't punishing a child, when they need to be taught a hard lesson, or trying to be a good role model, when they need to have someone to look up to...these are things we have to deal with, every day, and if we fail, occasionally, an opportunity to set things right will soon present itself...that's what life is all about, second chances...and more...
No, the hardest part is watching your child grow up, and knowing that in a few years, that miraculous creature your love conceived, will be on their own, and you can no longer protect them...It seems like only yesterday, that I held you in my arms at your christening, watched you cutting your first tooth, crawling, then walking, and saying 'Daddy'..."
I sniffed, and cleared my throat. "I'm trying my very hardest, every day, to give you all the love and wisdom I possess...it never feels like enough, you deserve so much more, but I guess every father feels that way, about their children...
In just a few years, those clothes, that 'look', will 'fit' you, and yes, boys will come calling...and one will win your heart, and the cycle will begin, anew, with you facing all the issues I face, now..."
I smiled at Juliet. "But for a few years more, allow me the honor, the privledge, to be the only man in your life...and, for these brief moments, to cherish you as the little girl I love with all my heart!"
Tears filled Juliet's eyes. "Oh, Daddy, I love you!" she cried, and leapt into my arms!
Even Clemmie was sniffling, and, for once, I didn't mind, when she hugged both of us!
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!
THE RONALD COLMAN SAGA
"The Dinner Party for Erich von Stroheim"
"The Misadventures of John Barrymore's Cheeky Monkey, Clementine"
"The All-Star Surprise Party for Laine"
"The Classic Hollywood Long Beach-Catalina Yacht Race"
"The Ronald Colman Seance"
"My "Lost Horizon" Surprise!"
"A Night at the Hollywood Canteen!"
"But I Thought You Were..."
"The People vs. Ronald Colman"
"The Epic Hearst Costume Party..."
"The Monkey on Ronald Colman's Back Saga" (A 9-Part Adventure):
"A MAN, A MONKEY, the MOB, and RONALD COLMAN!" (A 5-Part Adventure):
"Introduction: Broadway, 1920..."
"Chapter 1: A LONG Memory..."
"Chapter 2: Barrymore's Reply..."
"Chapter 3: Barrymore in Cement!"
"Chapter 4: A Desert Grave..."
"SURPRISE PARTY for RONALD COLMAN!"
"The RONALD COLMAN Banner Collection"
Finally, if you'd like to 'go to the source', with over 200 photos of Ronald Colman's life and career, please visit Myspace.com/Ronald Colman...the page that started it all!