Friday, March 11, 2011

In Death, as in Life

Mayford County, Georgia: In death, as in life, Gladys Lee Pierce wakes up early to make breakfast for her husband Joe.

There was an understanding between them that he would be the first to go - she was stronger; she was born to play the affable, white-haired southern matriarch - and so when she got run down in the Kroger parking lot down by 78 Joe was understandably upset. The funeral came and went, and, now, finally and weeks later, he runs out of the tuna salad and roast beef his children brought him upon his wife's passing. They fly home. He watches a lot of TV.

And then Joe wakes up one morning and there's an omelette in front of his spot at the kitchen table - ham and celery, his favorite. This persists for the next week straight: raisin bran with a banana cut in, oatmeal and brown sugar, french toast. No explanation, and yet it is undeniably Gladys' cooking.

On Thursday he sets an alarm and wakes up early and she's not there but there's a plate of grits waiting; on Friday he stays up late and when he finally passes out on the old recliner a strawberry shortcake sneaks onto the counter.

And I mean that's it. Joe never sees her again. He takes up fly fishing again, he spends his evenings at the billiards hall down the street. And when his family asks him how he's doing he tells them: I'm eating alright.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like food heaven to me!!

Anonymous said...

it's a pity when a good cook bites the dust so young.