Last night when the phone rang and I saw that it was my mother calling, I knew what she wanted before I even picked it up. I had seen the news and knew what was on her mind. Immediately after I said hello, she told me to tell her the time I went to lunch with Ann and Molly.
Some people can go through their whole lives and not meet anyone famous or see something significant. For some reason my life sometimes seems like Forrest Gump. Yes, I work in an industry where I see celebrities and such, but those are not the people or the moments to which I am referring. I grew up middle class so important moments and people were not a part of the scenery of my life, but for some strange reason they just occur. The only time I actually tried to pay for the privilege of meeting someone was when I met Muhammad Ali at a Parkinson’s disease dinner. I paid a ridiculous sum of money to get my photo taken with him and then the photo did not develop properly. I met him, but there is no record of it and I think someone was trying to tell me something. I think a great deal of my run ins with people are as a result of all the traveling I do and have done. The long blind item I am working on is a result of some of those trips.
It turns out we were not only on the same flight, but also sitting next to each other for the entire flight. As soon as I sat down, she said "tell me about yourself darling." She put me at ease and talked to me about this and that for the four hour flight. She was charming and funny and laughed really loud. At some point during the flight, she told me that if I wanted I could take her to lunch when we landed and she would even bring a friend. Not even thinking of saying no, I agreed. When we landed in Austin, the people in the airport treated her like the Queen and yet she just would keep talking to me and at the same time carry on conversations with everyone who came up to have a few words with her. It was amazing how many people she knew by name and how pleased they all were that she remembered them.
At the end of lunch, Molly asked for my mother’s address and phone number as well as mine. I did not think much of it at the time. For the remainder of her life, when Molly published a new book or at Christmas time or if she had run into me somewhere, she would handwrite my mother a letter just to keep in touch and to ask a question or two for which she was looking for an answer to some problem that my mother could solve.
This past Christmas she sent my mother a letter and did not mention that her cancer was back again. It was not until a few weeks later that we heard that news. When we learned she was fighting cancer again, we both sent her e-mails, but there was no reply. I know she had a chance to read them and I hope they made her smile.
My mother met Molly a few times, but the only time they were going to meet for lunch, something came up as is often the case. They thought they would have the chance again soon, but never did. My mom never got that lunch with Molly so last night I was happy to tell her about the time I did.