She looks out the window and notices how long the shadows are – the Florida sun is going down. She thinks it’s a Georgia sun.
She hears him before he even walks in the door. He’s young and handsome. She lucked out in getting a nurse so sweet.
“Mom. What do you want to wear to the party?”
She still can’t figure out why he calls her mom, but she keeps that mystery to herself.
He knows before she even answers. It’s the yellow one. The one she wore when she danced with President Johnson and Lady Bird looked on. Everyone told her Lady Bird looked a little jealous because she danced so divinely. She never hears a Sinatra song with thinking about that sweet moment in time.
A long time ago she had been the talk of the town – a socialite in Atlanta, Georgia. If you were on her party list, then you were somebody. She had graced the cover of a few Southern magazines and the article on her home still makes her blush. The antiques were perfect, and the decor kept up with the latest fashion without losing herself in it.
Today though her worn gnarly hands take him as he lifts her gently from the bed and with perfect skill moves her skinny legs to the carpeted floor. He explains again how he has to wash her before she gets dressed. She blushes a little but understands this is his job. She didn’t remember hiring him, but she said, Thank you so much. You don’t get paid enough for this.”
“My pleasure Ma’am,” he responds
He checks the water again to make sure it’s not too hot and helps her into the bath. Slowly he washes her body and glides his hands over the breasts that had nourished him when he was born. Lifting her out of the tub, he grabs her favorite “peach” towel to dry her off.
Mumbling under her breath, she tells the same old story about the time she picked a perfect Georgia peaches for a perfect peach pie.
The yellow dress doesn’t fit like it used to. It falls in all the wrong places. He brushes her striking white hair until it is just right. A little lipstick, a dash of mascara and she’s ready to go. He tells her, “Wait right here. I’ll be right back.”
He moves through the kitchen, lifts the garage door and gets his car out of the driveway and into the side street. Checks the two easy chairs. His is fine, but hers needs the pillow and sheepskin. He looks around and assures himself everything is ready. The bar is in place, and over the bar is a blinking sign inviting everyone to martinis.
In the kitchen, he pours himself a glass of wine and for her ginger-ale in a martini glass. She never knows the difference. Just before he gets her from the couch, he turns the switch on the stereo. They’re greeted with the familiar sound of Sinatra crooning a love song. It is loud, and it is good. Perfect touch for a perfect party.
She grabs his arm as they slowly move to the party room – garage. She slides into her chair as he takes his. They talk about life in Atlanta, their favorite Sinatra songs, how she met her husband and the most delicious details of the most beautiful wedding the Georgia Elite has ever seen.
Her neighbors and friends pass by walking their dogs or just walking by, they wave, say a few words and move on This is a much a part of their routine as it is hers.
In a few hours, she grows tired. He slowly moves her to the bedroom, removes her party dress and hangs it up for tomorrow. In a short minute, the silk pajamas fit over her slim body, and he has her meds in hand. She says, “Good night, son. I love you” and he can see in her eyes for just this moment she knows – knows he’s her son.
As he turns out the light he says, “Good night, Mom. I love you too.”
Before she closes her eyes, she looks from her window to see clouds passing by the Florida moon. She thinks it’s a Georgia Moon.
She doesn’t know it, but she left a legacy. Not a legacy of southern charm or social graces, but a legacy of love.
This is a true story. Every evening when I walk my dog I hear the sounds of Sinatra and know her son loves his mother again, and she doesn’t even know it.
Blessings to all –