Maggie Taylor...........

The woman I am writing about is my Mom. She passed away in my arms in 1989 and she was only 64.

Now we didn't have a close relationship, but the last four years of her life, she lived with me, my husband and her Granddaughter, Shauna.

My Mom was probably an alcoholic for 44 yrs of her life and most that knew her did not know this and she wasn't what you would call a closet drinker, she drank at parties, she drank at work (she was a bartender); and most of the time You would never know this. Oh you would see her a little tipsy, but like her boss Pappy at the bar, he NEVER  saw her drink; she would do the slight of hands as she cleared the bar or tables, now it is

She wasn't much of a Mom. I can't recall one time her and I going shopping or even out for fun, not as a child nor ever as an adult. She came from a Mississippi family that was affectionate, but I can't recall one hug. Yes, that is so sad.

She didn't want her grandkids to call her Grandma, so she said they could call her Maggie, and I nixed that quick - I told her I never got to refer to her as Maggie and my kids weren't either, so we settled on fit her.

She taught Shauna how to play poker and cheat. I told Shauna how GranMaggie kept a shot glass under the bed (they played on the floor) and how to sneak Dr.Pepper in it when she went to the bathroom........unfortunately I forgot to tell Shauna not to sit directly in front of her when she sipped it; she was expecting bourbon...................poor Shauna was spewed upon and heard GranMaggie laugh like crazy, when she told Shauna she played dirty! They would steal each others pennies for their penny-ante poker when one went to the bathroom......they were a riot together.

Mom was married to my Dad when he was in the Air Force (where Shauna is today). I think him being a fighter pilot helped her drink, plus officer wives back then didn' t do too much, they played bridge or bowled, but mostly they visited at each other's house or at the officer's club until their men returned from base.

One time when Mom was 40 and had 4 kids, she decided that maybe she ought to cut back on her drinking. So she didn't drink during the day, when the habit was, the alarm went off, she started with a shot of bourbon, then a shot in her coffee, etc. Now remember, most did not know the extent of her drinking, as she always kept a clean house and dinner always on the table. Well, after a couple of days of no real drinking, her friend told her, ''You know Maggie if you are going to drink in the morning, we need to get you help.'' Mom said she didn't think anything of this and continued on. A week later another friend told her, ''Maggie if you are going to drink before noon, we need to get you help.'' Mom said she went home and thought about it, poured a shot of bourbon, went back to her old ways and her friends were so relieved that she quit drinking before the acceptable time of 5pm.

She said the other reason she wanted to quit, was she didn't think ALL (4) these children were really hers and she thought my father was cheating on her! I remarked, ''Mom, if Dad was cheating on you, don't you think someone else would be pregnant?" She looked me dead in the eye and said, ''Well, evidently you don't know how sneaky your Dad really is!"

See, my Mom was funny. Never a maudlin drunk or a crying one........she really brightened up your day and you were always glad to see her and be around her. I envy her this attribute.

Now for the longest time, if my Dad didn't do the cooking, we would of starved, it wasn't that she couldn't cook, she just wasn't very good at it while Dad was. The dogs would snarl if you tried to feed her cooking to them under the table and the is not an old wives tale, her biscuits were good for at least two hits off a bat before you had to get another one. Well, one day Mom caught us, we all froze, we didn't mean to hurt her feelings, but evidently we did, she locked us out of the house. Later she brought us a whole platter of Baseball Biscuits and even got a homerun off my older brother with one.

I miss her. There was so much I wanted to ask her but you don't know these things until it is tooooooo late. Like why didn't she ever tell me she loved me? How did she feel when I ruined her Mother's Day breakfast to be born? What is the earliest Christmas memory? You see she was born in 1924..........and was cognizant enought to understand the Great Depression.

You see, I wrote this story so that you might meet my Mom, at her funeral, she had one edict - NO CRYING, have them tell funny stories about me. Well, I was figuring 60 people would show up, there were at least 200! ! They even shared the casket walk amongst 21 people. I told two funny stories, the one of the sneaky Dad and this one:

When she lived with us she made gravy, now Shauna and my husband liked it and I rarely made it because it was too much trouble and i don't like it. This one evening, she asked if she could put a little gravy on the dogs dry food which was in their bowls and I said sure. Well, Shauna and I watched as she scooped with the gravy spoon, gravy into the food, stir it, put the spoon back in the gravy and repeat this three times and end up with the  gravy spoon to put in the gravy bowl on the table. Shauna looked at me and said, ''I'm not eating any of that tonight'' outside of the hearing of Mom, ''Are we gonna tell Dad?" Now that was a question, since I was ticked at him, I smiled and just looked at her.......she didn't warn him in advance either.  He did not know for years what had happened, when I related the tale to Mom that night, she replied, ''Well, evidently my gravy is not as good as I thought it was, because I have never seen him take so many helpings. I'm going to have to remember the Special Ingredient from now on!"

So good night and thank you for letting me introduce a woman I did not know until too late, how much I really loved her.

Let this be a lesson to you, should anyone ever read this, call your Mom/Dad, ask them questions, tell them how you feel before it is too late.

I'll never know what my parents really wanted to be when they grew up. What their dreams were nor their fears...........please ask yours!

cheysghost cheysghost
56-60, F
Aug 9, 2010