MIZ EULA MAE
You know, Dear”, said Miz Eula Mae, “Far be it from me to judge, but couldn’t you have made a more equitable, sane, and pleasing union with a normal man. Heaven knows your Herman is a hermaphrodite. He doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going.”
I am Auntie Carol and that joke gets old. I was listening to Lady Lynda’s antique Aunt. By antique, I mean 85 years old, thin as an ironing board, and spry like a wild coyote. Her face showed her age though and was kind of like a dry river bed. Her dowager’s hump put one in the mind of Charles Laughton in “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.” She was dressed in a navy blue dress with white polka dots, granny boots, a pink knotted shawl and tasteful pearls on the neck and her ears. And of course, the requisite white gloves we all wear. Lady Lynda leaned in to warn me not to contradict her Aunt, who was a lay preacher in Louisiana. She said that Miz Eula Mae when contradicted came on like a TV evangelist, ranting and raving and calling forth all the saints in God’s heaven and that she might in fact have a conniption fit with her tongue lolling out, eyes rolled back in her head and a bit of jerking around. I tried to be respectful and diplomatic for this reason. I did not want to see a grand mal seizure caused by myself.
I said, “Of course, you’re right Miz Eula, “I could have married a more John Wayne kind of guy. Instead, I chose an Errol Flynn type.”
“Zounds! Errol Flynn was a wall-eyed homosexual, and a scoundrel who molested young girls, for heaven’s sake,” retorted Miz Eula.
Trying to be tactful I replied that I agreed on the main points but disagreed on the small points and that Herman was an excellent man, and not at all abnormal. Miz Eula went into over drive and began poking me in the ribs with her bony forefinger.
She said, “You’re going to hell in a hand basket, my girl. How can you be with someone who is like Rock Hudson, one moment and Tallulah Bankhead, the next. And does he wear dresses?”
I wanted to squash her like a June bug as they say in the south and grinning like a fox in the hen house, I replied, “Yes, he does and sometimes I wear pants. Does that make either of us monsters?” I wished she’d topple over like the Twin Towers and end up with just her feet sticking out of the rubble like the Witch in Wizard of Oz. I was thinking some very unkind thoughts. Like how she’d look with a spear in her head and the like. I was really quite wroth with her. Yet Eula Mae was Lady Lynda’s great aunt and I am, after all, not a murderess. She had a good ten years to live and I was not going to shorten her visit on earth. A great sign escaped my lips. I was weary of always having to defend my choice in marriage.
“Don’t you sass me rolling your eyes at me and sighing like I am a tiresome reprobate. I won’t hesitate to go out in the back yard and cut a willow branch and give you a good thrashing,” she said.
Lady Lynda came to my aid saying I had a medical condition to get wall-eyed and sigh as gasses built up in my digestive tract. It was called the “tweet syndrome.” A little known condition.
“Oh, my dear girl. I have dreadfully wronged you. I’m old and entrenched in my ways. I am stubborn as a one-eyed mule behind a plow and there are more horse’s asses than necks in the world at large. I am a lay preacher and was a mid wife and have seen first hand the kind of damage a hurtful marriage can afflict on a good women. How do you know he won’t run away and join the circus and get a taste for the lime light?” asked Miz Eula.
“No, problem, Miz Eula,” I said. “But may I say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And no, he’s already been in the circus. Today he’s a therapist for the sexually dysfunctional. Miz Eula you’ve lived a long time and what do you think of our world.”
“I think people are taking the easy way out and grabbing all the money they can on the way down. Girls sell their derriers for the curve of a smile and fall down like bowling pins. It is not a good and safe place to be. In my day a man would come carrying a bounty of roses and give you his heart. Oh, I had sweethearts but in the end I decided the Lord had called me to serve him. God Almighty. I was sick with high fever when I first encountered Lucifer. He came to my bedside, took my hand and placed it on his manhood. I shudder to say it: I felt a pulse down there and his eyes, burnt sienna, flashing like lightening and his voice so soothing promising me the world in exchange for my soul. Then a crack of Thunder, and in his place, there stood the Lord Christ, “And he said, “Eula Mae, it is your destiny to serve the needy and the poor. Your place is with me. Never waiver though hard is the path I ask you to tread. I was seventeen and then I began to preach to the lowly and downtrodden and they gave me food and shelter as I traveled through them.
Lenny Bruce said, “’Life’s a bitch. Then you die.’ What do you think of that, Miz Eula?” I asked.
“I think that’s something the cat threw up. This is a fantastic journey we are all on and we must strive, strive, strive. The end of strife is the end of life. You’ve got to earn all your wrinkles in life. An empty vase holds no water.”
Now I mourn the death of Miz Eula. I like the kind of people who can see right from wrong though there is an occasional a joker in the deck.