Views from Annie's Cabin

miscellaneous musings on aging and living and loving

Time Marches On………

on April 2, 2018









I’m saying a slow goodbye to one of the best friends of my life, a lady of impeccable lineage (Bull, Pinckney), a lady with a talent for painting flowers and telling wonderful “Only in the South” stories.  A lady who made the best bloody marys in the world and who loved to go out to the local hamburger joint for boiled peanuts, and Coronas with a lime pushed into the bottle (great fun that, with it squirting lime juice over us both—oh how we laughed!).  We shared a love for Jane Austen and could quote her heroes and heroines by heart, but loved her charming villains the most.  We laughed at her clergymen and grew exasperated with Emma and Lady Catherine DeBourgh….while our hearts beat faster over the love story of Mr. Darcy and “dearest, loveliest” Elizabeth.

We worked Altar Guild together, needlepointed kneelers together, and entertained our own  clergymen after church ourselves.  We giggled and laughed at the absurdities of life around us (not necessarily the clergy!)  and she taught me how to make formidable devilled eggs.

I still love burned bacon because of Mary.  For when she was a new bride and went to stay with her in-laws, she burned the breakfast bacon.  “You burned the bacon!” her mother-in-law chided.  “I like burned bacon,” Mary said, drawing herself up to full height (and haughtiness!).

When I sometimes spent the night with her, we’d have a breakfast I still count as one of the finest, perhaps because it was made with simplicity, ease, and good humor.  Buttered toast slow-baked in the oven and a nice plump boiled egg.  Usually followed shortly by  “elevensies” Bloody Marys!

She was (still is) her great-great grandfather’s doughty granddaughter.  She had a portrait of Old Colonel Bull in her dining room, standing “bullish” in the foreground while his plantation home was engulfed in flames behind him.  In order to thwart Sherman as he marched towards the home place, Colonel Bull set the house afire himself…..

And her “Only in the South” stories!  She told me of the three maiden sisters, ancient and impoverished who lived in the big house nearly falling down around them.  Inside were priceless antiques and treasures including many portraits by the famed Mr. Sully.  They refused to put the treasures in a museum, refused to let people in to admire them; they just sat on their weathered front porch and rocked…..and when their cousin would come to carry them to church, they’d all fall asleep in the buggy……..

And Mary, a pure child of the South herself, still has that rich southern liquid drawl and reminds me of how she grew up barefoot (except for going to church) and how she loved eating boiled peanuts on the porch.  Still does….both!  I never saw her at home with shoes on her feet— barefooted in the kitchen, barefooted entertaining guests, and, like in the aforementioned hamburger shack, still loves her boiled peanuts, and boils them herself, so they’re just right!

She’s a cherished friend I’ve corresponded with for years, even while living in the same town, but more especially now that I’m 100 miles away.  Glorious chatty letters back and forth on stationery ranging from blue-lined notebook paper to elegant weighty Crane.

I just spoke with her today, the day after Easter.  She was thanking me for the Easter card and telling me why I’d not heard from her since December, when Holly and I drove to Columbia, taking a picnic luncheon to her home in celebration of her 90th birthday.  Just after our visit she went into hospital with “something unpronounceable,” was in the hospital for two weeks, then in rehab for six, and now is back home, with hospital bed and a lady who comes in every day.  She just wanted to tell me not to worry about her, not to feel sorry for her.  That she’s fine.

That’s my Mary.  In this phone conversation we talked about our friendship, how it’s been so special, such fun, so many laughs and giggles and memorable times together.  “I’ll never forget them, Anne,” she said.  “Nor will I, Mary…nor will I.”

We ended our conversation with “I love yous” while wondering if we too were becoming one of those “Only in the South” stories ourselves.  I certainly hope so, Mary, I certainly hope so.  And I do believe we already are….



One response to “Time Marches On………

  1. Love this.. and love you. And I know I would love your sweet friend, Mary!

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