My mother loved to be taken for a drive in the country. We rarely went anywhere in particular, just as we rarely talked about anything in particular. She was content simply to ride along, chatting idly about the scenery and reminiscing about this and that. Somewhere along the way we’d stop for ice cream, and by the time we got home, she was perfectly happy.
It was on one of the last of these afternoon drives that I got a call from my agent in New York telling me that Satchmo at the Waldorf would be produced by Shakespeare & Company, a coincidence that delighted my mother (not to mention my agent) no end.
Our final outing was in November. By then my mother was so weak that I had to prop her up with one hand while steering with the other. Even so, she was visibly overjoyed to see the byways of southeast Missouri one last time.
Today I set out alone, driving down the back roads that my mother had loved so well, and I did in solitude what I had been unable to do at her funeral. Grief embraced me, and I mourned her loss.
And so goodbye.