Marriage prosperity, p.1
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       Marriage & Prosperity, p.1

           Chris Hampton
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Marriage & Prosperity

  A Seemly Sex Story



  This story, like all Seemly Sex Stories, is pure fiction, an imaginary concoction of the seemly but mischievous mind of BobbyB. Any resemblance to any actual person or situation is completely coincidental.

  Copyright 2017 seemlybobbyb


  Clark McMurry Clarke, Senior, died in 1997. His funeral was a big affair. Only one other funeral as big was ever held in our little city, the funeral of Mr. Clarke's wife of more than fifty years. And why shouldn't everyone in the city stop to honor these two people, the man and wife who put our city on the map? Back in the 1930's the Clarkes founded Sarah's Sumptuous Spicy Steak Sauce Company. Through hard work, determination and then a lot more hard work the couple grew the little condiment producer from a small local enterprise into an international food products giant, still headquartered in our little city, and the livelihood, directly or indirectly, of everyone for miles around.

  Mrs. Clarke died three years before her husband. Her passing triggered an onslaught of eulogies, sermons, lectures, political speeches and inspirational talks, all with one topic: The example which the Clarke's long, stable, faithful marriage provided of the supreme benefits of long, stable, faithful marriages. Never had there been even a hint of any extramarital involvement with either of them. Side by side, always working together at the head of their company, this permanently united pair had guided Sarah's Steak Sauce to supreme success. With dedication and devotion, this love-bound team had climbed their way from nothing to the pinnacle of prosperity. What a story of romance! What a story of the opulent rewards properly accruing to those who maintain long, stable, faithful marriages!

  When Mr. Clarke died three years later, these tributes to marriage were repeated. Many thought they were repeated ad nauseam. It wasn't that people resented the message. Even when they couldn't follow its example, people usually honored the stability and fidelity of the prosperous pair's matrimonial union and wished their own marriages had been like the Clarkes'. Rather, it was a case of repeated repetition making even an honored truth seem oppressive. Though few were willing to express it openly, to these endless encomiums of stable marriage many people wanted to reply, "Alright already! I get it! Now talk about something else."

  None were more wearied by the perpetual praising of the Clarkes' long, faithful marriage than their four children, Alice, Beatrice, Clark Jr., and Dan. These children, all of course long since grown, honored and respected the indestructible pairing of their parents. In fact, considering its example as virtually sacred, they all had steadfastly followed it, working mightily to save their own marriages from difficulties which would have driven others to divorce. None of these preserved marriages was particularly happy, but they all were long and stable. (We will not bother ourselves with the issue of their faithfulness. Since the account being told here concerns the senior Clarkes, their children's marriages are not relevant.)

  The week after Mr. Clark M. Clarke, Sr., was laid to rest the four Clarke siblings met for a special session provided in the will. This was not to be a reading of the will. There was no need for that. Everyone involved had already read it. Indeed, they all had helped write it. Everyone knew what he or she would receive and was completely content therewith. But the will provided that before the final distributions could be effected the four Clarke children must meet to read a document they all knew of but had never seen. In particular, the will stipulated that only these four and no others were to be present; no spouses, no servants, no lawyers, no children nor grandchildren, absolutely no one else was to see the secret document. The four suspected it was the secret recipe for Sarah's Sumptuous Spicy Steak Sauce. Though the Clarke progeny couldn't fathom why their father should go to such elaborate lengths to reveal to them a recipe which hundreds of persons had, over the years, worked with, and which, therefore, really wasn't that much of a secret any longer. The document was locked in a special safe box in the house the senior Mr. & Mrs. Clarke had built when their company was finally profitable, and which they had then occupied for the rest of their lives. Each of the four siblings had a separate different key to this safe box, and all four keys were required to open it.

  On the agreed upon day the four assembled in their parents' old house. The first thing they did was look around. This wasn't a case of remembering incidents from their childhoods. Rather they were satisfying curiosities they had long had about the place, because not one of them had been in it for many decades. They barely remembered the house, for they had lived in it only as infants and preschoolers. When each child had reached school age, she or he had been enrolled in the best of boarding schools. Thereafter their holidays and summer breaks had not been spent in this house, but rather at the Clarkes' vacation house at the lake. Nor had they nor anyone else ever been to the house for parties and such. When the Clarkes hosted such affairs they always did it elsewhere, usually at a hotel ballroom. The house was simply much too small for social gatherings of even moderate size. The house had been nothing else but the parents' very private home, and as such it was a big part of the Clarke marriage legend. The couple's love had been so strong they had not, when they became wealthy, moved into a mansion, the large size of which would have tended to keep them apart. Instead, with only a man and wife pair of servants, rather than the army of attendants they could have afforded, the Clarkes had continued to live in their very modest love nest.

  When the siblings' house curiosity was satisfied, they got the safe box from the hiding place where their father had told them it was kept. They sat down in the kitchen, the largest room in the house, and the only one with four chairs. Then with their four separate keys they opened the safe. It contained a big can. It looked like one of the gallon-size cans the company uses for canned goods sold to restaurants, but it had no label, had never been used nor sealed and contained no food. Instead it held an unopened can of lighter fluid, and a package of safety matches. This can and its contents totally baffled the Clarke brothers and sisters.

  "Maybe" Dan suggested, "we are supposed to put the recipe in this can and burn it after we read it."

  "Did Dad expect us to memorize the recipe?" Beatrice asked.

  "Damned if I know" Clark Jr. answered.

  Underneath this can were two 9x12 business size manila envelopes, one sealed and one not. On the unsealed one their father had written a label: "The secret recipe for Sarah's Sumptuous Spicy Steak Sauce". On the sealed one he had written a message.

  "This envelope contains a letter you four must read then destroy, envelope and all. The can, lighter fluid and matches are provided for you to burn it in after you have read it. Never mention this letter nor anything you learn from it to anyone!! Just say the safe contained only the secret recipe for Sarah's Sumptuous Spicy Steak Sauce.



  Clark Jr. cut open this envelope with a kitchen knife and took out several unbound handwritten pages. The letter was in their father's handwriting and everyone agreed Alice should read it out loud since she had the most experience with and ability to read her father's rather poor penmanship. So she began.


  "Dearest children:

  "I'm writing this to tell the four of you something your mother and I long have thought you should know, but which we never knew how to tell you. It's a coward's way out to wait till we're dead to tell you this. But we had to tell you somehow, and this was the only way either of us was willing to do it. The information in here may someday become necessary for you to know (I hope it doesn't, but it might). If it does, you will need to have the story right, since everyone in th
e world has it all wrong.

  "I have to tell you about the legendary long marriage your mother and I had. The best place to begin is by telling you how we met. We were both teenagers, your mother eighteen and I nineteen. We met at a little food processing place right here in town. I call it a place rather than a plant because it was very small. Only four people worked there, the owner, one other worker, a jokester called Mock (for reasons I never knew), your mother and I. The place didn't have a formal, legal name, but we called it Westerfield's. We did because the business owner was Sarah Westerfield, and what we were making there was Sarah's Sumptuous Spicy Steak Sauce. We did everything: Prepared the ingredients, make the sauce, bottled it, labeled and packaged the bottles, kept the books, and did all the janitorial work.

  "So the first thing you should know is that the legend of your mother and I inventing the secret recipe for Sara's sauce isn't so. Back then neither your mother nor I knew a thing about cooking or condiments. Sarah's is damned good, tasty as all get out, and certainly worth its place in the world's markets. But it was Sarah Westerfield, not your mother or I who concocted the secret
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