Saturday, October 4, 2008
“Every man's memory is his private literature.”
I passed through the kitchen one storm-wracked night years ago when Mater was just answering the telephone. It was not an evening to go visiting in but the Aunt, it transpired, wished for Mater to pay a call.
No helpless little old lady's request was this: the Aunt had not fallen on the floor; neither had she run out of food or water. She, I seem to recollect, was urging Mater to drive through the puddles to the Aunt's home in order to examine something or other related to clothing, and offer a supposedly expert opinion.
I could not believe my eyes or my ears as I observed my honest mother pinching her nostrils closed with two fingers, and squeaking:
"I'd love to, but I have a terrible cold!"
It was the most dreadful impersonation of somebody consumed with a cold- had I been asked, I would have put forth the covert suggestion that Mater lower her voice a notch instead of raising the pitch- but it worked. It really worked. The Aunt backed away- recoiled, I suspect- and hastily agreed that the appointment should be on another, less germ-ridden day.
Mater attended the Aunt's funeral this evening in Ireland. A legion of stories were brought to light- broken fragments of memory about the formidable lady none of us will forget.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 5:35 PM