A few years ago Mother got the thrilling news that her cousin Cookie’s daughter was getting married. When Cookie and Mother were young, they were dear friends, but time and circumstances had come between them. Now the wedding of a distant cousin’s daughter normally doesn’t make a widowed lady in her late seventies jump for joy, but Cousin Cookie was a moocher and she’d passed this dominant trait on to Barbie. As so often happens, Cousin Cookie’s demands had become a burden as affection between the two grew thinner. Mother dreaded her phone calls knowing there would be a polite question or two about her health before Cookie dropped the bomb telling her the least she could manage with this time. Mother dreaded the day Cookie called asking her to give her daughter Barbie a home at her death since Barbie had never had a job in her life. As Cousin Cookie’s health grew worse by the day, Mother chewed her nails, knowing Cookie would soon ask her to take Barbie to keep her off the street.
In her mid thirties, Barbie had never worked despite the fact that she had two degrees. She just couldn’t find a job that suited her. She didn’t want to work early hours, late hors, or weekends. She never really did find a job that suited her.
Miraculously, Barbie was getting married. She wanted Cousin Cookie to stay wth Mother for a week while she and Hubby went on their honeymoon. They’d be there Saturday afternoon to get her a week after the wedding. It was the longest week of Mother’s life. Cookie did nothing for herself. Mother cooked, helped her with self-care, not to mention, bought the medications Barbie “forgot” to bring.” Friday night Barbie called. Hubby had to work all weekend. Could Cookie stay another week? Mother was exhausted and furious, but agreed to another week. “They’d be there next Saturday for sure.”
The next Thursday night, Barbie called and spoke to Cookie, not Mother, Cookie told Mother, Barbie’s Hubby had blown a tire. They were running a little short on money. They wouldn’t be able to come for Cookie for two more weeks. They had made a point to avoid speaking to Mother. Clearly, Mother was to have a new housemate. Mother called me in tears. I asked, “What’s Barbie’s number?”
“”Barbie, I understand it’s not convenient for you to come get your mom. I’ll put your mom on the ten o’clock bus tonight. She’ll be at the bus station in your town at seven-thirty in the morning. You can pick her up before Hubby goes to work.”
“Oh no! Don’t do that! We’ll pick her up Saturday afternoon.”
“”Okay, but if you’re not here by four o’clock Saturday, I’ll put her on the five o’clock bus.”
They picked her up Saturday. I wouldn’t have been heartless enough to put a blind eighty-year-old diabetic lady on a bus for a five hour drive, but I would have driven her myself if they hadn’t shown up.