Ellen Dollar Gill remembered

Today is the fourth anniversary of my mother’s death. I still miss her, but I can and do laugh at some of my memories!

She was a pistol, as we say in the south. She drove a powder puff stock car, could make an adding machine run hot (her fingers were so fast), carried a small caliber pistol in the VW glovebox and loved her Coca-Cola. Housekeeping was not high on her list of priorities (I inherited that). She never met a stranger (I inherited that, too) and had an incredible green thumb (not so much, that one, but I try).

Born in 1921, she was a Depression survivor, and in keeping with south Georgia rural culture she gifted people with food on any and all occasions. She baked a mean caramel cake, and family and friends appreciated her divinity candy every Christmas holiday.

I was an only child, born to a mother much older than average who also worked full-time as a professional. (She managed accounts receivable — or was it payable? — for an international agricultural implement manufacturer.) She had a black dog, Baby, who guarded me as though I were her own, I’ve been told. After Baby died, momma lived vicariously through my dogs. I don’t remember my first dog, who was hit by a car. My second dog was Trixie, a black-and-tan rat terrier who would bark at her reflection in a mirror; she died while I was in college. In graduate school, I had adopted a mutt named Little Bit. When I went to D.C. for the summer, she stayed in Georgia on the farm and didn’t come back to Virginia with me when I returned to school — because she’d adopted my mom.

I don’t think I was spoiled, but I was indulged. For example, she took me to see the Kentucky Derby in 1966 (Kauai King won); at the time, I wanted to be the first woman jockey. When I was 15, we drove to Chickasha, OK to pick up a horse trailer; I drove most of the way back to Albany, GA on my learner’s permit, which I don’t think was fully legal. (Yes, I was horse crazy.)

After her stroke in 1990, she could no longer drive. That was probably the most difficult thing for her to accept, as she cherished her independence. Now she had to ask daddy to drive her into town; no more four-wheel escape.

Love ya, momma. You are missed.

Cross-posted from WiredPen

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