The next Friday rolled around and I thought I might soften my intrusion into Luke’s personal life with another bottle of whiskey. I was never one to beat around the proverbial bush, so after I handed him the brown paper bag, I came right out and asked…”how do you know so much about Mother…and Older…and Middle…and Younger?”
He completely ignored my question and began talking about Mother.
“Mother,” he said “was the finest woman I ever knew. She didn’t have a mean bone in her body but like I said, you didn’t want to disappoint her. There was a sadness in her…a sort of emptiness that you could only detect when she thought nobody was looking. I think she always wanted more for herself but she ofttimes went without. She wanted her younguns to have it all and she wanted them to shine. She would say that every human being on the planet was here for a reason and we should all leave our mark and make the world a little bit better than it was when we came into it.”
I asked if he supposed that was the reason she wanted to “leave her mark.”
“I suppose,” he said, “but after a while, it became almost all-consuming. Raising younguns on her own and being determined to have them leave their mark sort of took a back seat to her own wants and wishes.”
Luke shook his head and laughed as he said, “Bonnie and Clyde. I don’t think anybody thought Mother had ever even heard about them, but she had it in her mind that they had become these romantic, heroic figures.”
“Was she getting senile?” I asked. Luke said, “I don’t know if it was senility or just the feeling of not mattering anymore. Maybe she thought she didn’t have a legacy to leave behind. She didn’t have much, and what she had certainly wasn’t going to be passed down for future generations to appreciate and cherish. Of course, what she didn’t know was that the few things she did have would end up in a museum.”
I said, “but the museum is a little hole in the wall and not open to the public.” Luke said, “yep. That’s right.”
I asked if he knew what was in the museum and as soon as I finished the question, I knew by the look on his face, that I had overstepped an invisible mark. He replied with a curt, “yes. I do. But you’ll never know.”
I tried to act like I hadn’t just committed the ultimate faux pas and asked if he knew Mother’s, the Older’s, the Middle’s and the Younger’s real names.
After a few minutes of silence, he said, “Mother’s name was Mary. Older’s name was Matthew. Middle’s name was Mark. And Younger’s name was Luke.
To be continued_____________