I should have followed my mother’s advice, and had I chosen to do so I am certain I would have benefited from her advice; but I was younger then, and heedless of her counsel, I took off for Dallas with nothing more than a dream. That was not an impulsive act. I had given it considerable thought for almost a year before I decided to make the move––that not only took me to Dallas, but was the beginning of a journey that led me half way across the country and deposited me, as it were, in the midst of adventure and intrigue.
My hometown of Weatherford was but a short drive; and as I adjusted to life in Dallas, I established a routine of visiting my mother every other weekend, that progressed to monthly, and then whenever my filial conscience dictated, which was not often.
Mother had learned not to pry into my affairs; yet I suspected she didn't believe the stories I told her about my job as a commercial artist in Dallas, when the truth of the matter I hustled beer in a ‘Lounge,’ the Texas euphemism for a saloon, or bar. She’d say something like, "That's nice dear, I'm happy you are doing what you like to do, dear."
Mother had written a short note that she was ill. I didn’t consider anything unusual about her infirmity, as she had taken ill on a regular basis from the day my father left us high and dry and penniless; yet she always got over her fits of depression or whatever took her down at the time.
I was in and out of relationships, always looking for a man I could form a meaningful relationship, but finding only ‘Mr. X,’ or other women’s jilted lovers looking for a shoulder to cry on, or straying husbands cruising for one night stands, the pale line on their ring finger a testament to their integrity. But, what did I expect, some gallant cowboy to sweep over the froth on a glass of Lone Star and whisk me to his dream ranch in my mind?
I had the good fortune of securing a position as an illustrator in an ad agency, a job I fell in love with, and which I was convinced would take me on the pathway to success in my chosen field; but to my dismay soon after I began my position was eliminated as a cost cutting measure and I was released. I was devastated.
Instead of returning to the ‘Lounges’ and ‘Go-Go joints,’ I decided to go home, take stock of my situation and try to get some idea of what the hell to do with my life––I was twenty-four years old, and had wasted my formative years in Dallas pursuing the unattainable––I was pathetic. Failure is a like a bad dream. I needed to be consoled, and I immediately thought of my Mother. She would help me, provide me with the necessary encouragement and guidance I needed, of this I felt certain. However, when I made that momentous decision I was unaware my Mother lay on her deathbed.
I was stuffing my Samsonite when the doorbell rang.
“My Aunt? Gosh, this is a surprise!” I had not seen my aunt in over a year, and there she was standing in my doorway, trying to smile with a worried look on...