Sunday, May 11, 2008
She liked dogwood flowers and sunning herself until her skin was hot. You could smell the baby oil and iodine rising in the summer heat as she turned ever so slightly orange and freckled. She liked to fish and sat with her eyes closed holding onto her rod as if she could charm a fish to biting. My father patiently untangled the endless snarls she created in those Penn reels.
She laughed and accepted his rod to continue fishing, saying, "Gordian knot, again."
It was his way of tenderness though he sputtered and cursed about wasting tackle on her.
Then she would close her eyes again with that half smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. She lived on the verge of laughter.
She made pineapple and mayonnaise sandwiches on Sunbeam bread that became cold and mushy in the cooler. They were like sandwich pudding by the time we broke them out over the cobia hole in Port Royal Sound, but nothing was better in that blazing sun with the sharks circling our eels. She would hand me a Fresca before popping the top of her Schlitz Malt Liquor--so cold it had turned to beer Slushie.
Her humor and wit is what I remember best of her. Even at the end, with the cancer and the pain and the dying, she looked across the road from our house where a house trailer had been put and said, "See? I told you I would die if they put a trailer on our street. Now look at me!"
The main thing my mother left me was by myself.