Saturday, August 23, 2014

A "Miss" Margaret Story

I was thinking the other day about some of the stories "Miss" Margaret had told. I was privileged to be invited for lunch several times at "The Big House" as the family referred to Willbrook, the home, she and the Senator lived in for so many years and reared their children.

This one particular day, she had invited the Judge's office over. She tried to have all the new attorneys for lunch at least once a year. As always the dining room table was set with her fine china on her linen table cloth with her sterling silver flatware. There were candles in the candelabras in the center of the table. This must have been in the late fall or early winter because she also had a tray of lovely pink and white camellias from her yard as the center piece.

As we were being seated, we noticed that in addition to the crystal tea goblets at everyone's place there was also a wine goblet filled with a pink rose wine. Given this was noon on a work day in the middle of the week, Miss Margaret had given up drinking years ago, and rose wine would not be what she would serve if she was serving wine, the Judge was curious. So she inquired, "Why the wine?"

"Miss" Margaret just smiled, "Well, the flowers were pink and the plates I was using were pink and I thought  needed something in the glasses, so I just used a bottle of rose wine I had in the kitchen." That was so typical of her. Ann, her daughter, told a similar story in her eulogy, except in her case it was pink lemonade. Obviously this was not a one time occurrence.

As we finished the meal, the plates had been taken the kitchen, and we were all enjoying the dessert, the Senator would pull his chair back a ways from the table and relax. Miss Margaret of course would be holding court. She always wanted to know about everyone, where they were from, if they were married, etc. This particular afternoon, one of the attorneys was telling her that he was married and that he and his wife were expecting their first child.

"Miss" Margaret starting telling stories about their children when they were young. Every once in a while the Senator would speak up, "Now Margaret, that's not exactly how it happened." She would offer some revision to the story and continue.

She told of taking Clara, the family's housekeeper, and their four children to town one afternoon. "Miss" Margaret had an appointment so she dropped Clara and the children off at one of the city parks and went on to her appointment. That evening, as they sat down to dinner, the Senator asked, "Margaret, where are the children?" It was just then she remembered that she had left them at the park and never picked them up. She hurried back into town and found them just where left them. They were sitting there in the dark with Clara waiting for her to come get them.

We all waited for the Senator to interject for some correction. I looked over at him. He just shook his head, "No, I'm afraid that really happened just as she said. I don't know what we would have done without Clara."

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