My mother-in-law fell yesterday. She stumbled in the garage. It was bad. She smacked her face on the pavement. She busted her glasses. And her nose. When I found her she was bleeding.
“We're going to the ER,” I said.
“I feel lightheaded,” remarked the white-haired Scarlett O'Hara.
“Yes, ma'am. Here, take my arm.”
“Wait, I need to brush my teeth before we go.”
“But you're bleeding all over.”
"These shoes don't match my belt, get my blue shoes from the closet, the sling-back heels.”
“...And my lipstick, it's in my purse. I need my pearls."
Meet Mother Mary.
I've called her that ever since our first supper together. That was a long time ago. I remember the meal: rump roast, served with enough trimmings to make the table buckle.
For desert, we had pear salad—a half-pear topped with mayonnaise, shredded cheese, and a cherry. I ate every bite. but you should know: I'd rather lick a possum than eat pear salad.
I nearly choked.
Even so, that night Mary and I discovered we liked each other. She told me
to call her Mother Mary. It's all I've ever called her.
Before she was my mother-in-law, I visited once to take her daughter on a movie-date. Her husband answered the door with a twelve-gauge.
"Jamie's upstairs," he said. "Her mama and I are on the pier, fishing.”
Her daddy led me to the dock where Mother Mary was working a rod and reel. She started screaming, "I got one!"
Without saying a word, my wife's daddy aimed the double-barrel at the water. He unloaded two explosions and ten cuss words.
It was a speckled trout the size of a grown man's leg.
That night, we canceled our movie date and ate with my wife's parents. Fried fish, hushpuppies, French fries, okra, and anything else her daddy could stuff into a deep-fryer.
I'm hard pressed to remember having a better…