I’ve known Miss Lettie* all my life. She’s had her share of problems, and though she probably wouldn’t admit it, most of her problems have been direct consequences of the choices she’s made in life. She’s certainly a character! Most people don’t know how to relate to her; all they can do is react. Miss Lettie interprets those reactions as a personal affront, and often feels quite unloved.
She’s lived a lonely life. Her one constant “friend” has, in all actuality, been her enemy, and his name is Whiskey. There are people in this world who know without a shadow of a doubt that the devil lives in the liquor bottle, and their judgment is based on the lives they’ve watched it ruin. I can understand.
Miss Lettie quit driving some years ago. Now she must depend on the good hearts who are willing to help her, and at this stage in her life, there’s not a lot of family members able (or willing) to do so.
One day, not so long ago, I heard through the grapevine that Miss Lettie got into a car with a stranger and disappeared. Ole Boy and I had been out shopping, and it was already dark. Since she doesn’t have a phone, I couldn’t call to check if she was home safe and sound. Ole Boy and I decided to drop by and check on her.
I was only going to sneak a peek, because Miss Lettie always wants you to stay and visit a while, and we really wanted to get home. When I peeked in, I could see her on the floor. Even though I could see her moving around a little, I knew it couldn’t be good news. We went in to help her. She was very confused, a little incoherent at times, and couldn’t get up from the floor. I said, “Miss Lettie, have you been drinking?” She assured me she had not. I said, “Do you promise you haven’t been drinking?” She promised. I asked her several more times. Same response, “Noooo!”
I called 911. I told them I thought she’d had a stroke. The ambulance and paramedics came. The fire department also came. They asked me if I thought she’d been drinking. I told them she had been on the wagon for a while, and I really didn’t think she was drunk. Those sweet people spent about 30 minutes talking to Miss Lettie, trying to figure out what the problem was. They quickly ruled out stroke. Finally, one of the neighbors mentioned to Ole Boy that Miss Lettie been asking people to take her to a liquor store. AhHa!
I whispered to one of the paramedics my new information. He said, “Miss Lettie, have you been drinking tonight?” She said, “I’m not going to lie to you, I had a drink or two…” It was more like a whole bottle.
I was pretty embarrassed.
*Name has been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.