[dropcap]J[/dropcap]amie’s mother poured a Collins glass of bourbon, and then splashed a faint whisper of Coca-Cola in it. She did it simply so she could call it a bourbon and Coke, which sounds more ladylike than say, double bourbon.
“Did I ever tell you about my stomach problem?” Miss Mary asked.
“Well, I had a stomach issue when I was a girl, I couldn’t keep food down.” Mary took a sip, then coughed. “Wow, that’s strong.”
Don’t look at me, Mary, I didn’t make it.
She went on, “The doctor tried to get me to eat chicken and dumplings, but I didn’t want them.”
“No dumplings?” I said. “It’ll be a December day in Hell if I ever thumb my nose up at a dumpling.”
“They tried to get me to eat soup,” she said. “Tomato, cream mushroom, beef, even raccoon stew.”
“Yep. Lots of folks in Brewton ate coon. Jessie Mae would keep a coon in a pen two weeks before she killed and cooked it.”
“Mother also tried to get me to drink warm milk, orange juice, and tomato juice. I couldn’t keep anything down. Doctor said if I didn’t eat something soon, I’d waste away.”
“So what’d you do?”
“It was Daddy,” she said. “He saved the day. He gave me whiskey. After one shot, I’d feel so giddy, I’d eat anything.”
“Are you pulling my leg?”
“Hand to God.” She crossed her heart. “I drank one shot every night. They called it, medicine. It’s the only thing that kept me alive.”
“So what happened?”
Mary took another sip. “I never got better.”