Jon’s mother died on Tuesday. She was a pioneer for social justice, an anti-war activist, and a gardener, botanist and herbalist (she could wax eloquent any day about a humming bird or praying mantis). Her children could do no wrong—Democrats, well, almost never.
She loved to talk and one subject always led to another—we called it “going horizontal.” I remember my father being quite taken with Betsy when he met her just before Jon and I were married. My father (who also loved to talk) could listen for hours.
Much has been said in recent days about Betsy’s charm and the very many wonderful things she did for her family, her friends, North Carolina, and the world. But what sticks with me most at the moment are all the good times we lingered at the table—whether it was in the breakfast room on Goodwood Road or at the Inlet (that table was painted lemon yellow and was long enough to seat more than a dozen).
Food was a big thing. Myrna’s pound cake. Barbecue and cole slaw. Cheese grits. Country ham. Collards and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day. Cold shrimp (and lots of it). Freshly caught flounder. Jelly rolls—the homemade variety with strawberry jam and powdered sugar. (I was impressed. Those of us who grew up north of the Mason Dixon line thought all jelly rolls come wrapped in cellophane.)
Cheese straws. Pimiento cheese sandwiches and bananas with peanut butter. Dewey’s sugar cake and Mora’s caramel cake.
But it wasn’t all about the food. It was the talk—and the laughter (and the tears).