During lunch Jane raises her wine glass in a toast to Sally, and says, "I'm so glad you decided to come back home. You make this old house seem less lonely."
“Thanks, Mom. It would be perfect if Dad were here.”
“No such luck.”
“Maybe this weekend, huh?”
“No, he called to say he had business to do.”
“What kind of business?”
“He didn’t say, but I can guess.”
“You mean Marie?”
“Of course. All that slut has to do is spread her legs and--”
“Stop, Mom. You‘re better than that.”
“I could kill the bitch.”
“If Dad says he has business, I believe him.”
“Let’s not talk about it. Tell me about your trip to Lexington to see Judd’s Old Kentucky Home, if you’ll pardon the pun.”
“Well, it’s an expansive and stately old house with tall white columns, like something out of Gone With the Wind. It’s surrounded by trees and sits about a mile from the main road. I almost expected to be greeted at the door by Scarlet herself.”
“I think I’d prefer Rhett Butler.”
Sally laughs. “It’s a horse farm, you know, and the barn that houses the horses is like a manor itself--you could eat off the polished floor.”
“Yes, but down the road is the famous Calumet Farm with acres of land and miles of white fences. Lexington is in the heart of Bluegrass Country, and Calumet is a breeding operation noted for all those Kentucky Derby thoroughbreds.”
“Tell me about the party.”
“It was just what I expected.”
“The women displayed their wealth like glittering peacocks.”
“You mean peahens.”
“Yes, and the irony is they served this heavy stew called Burgoo, which is cooked outdoors in a large kettle and served in big cups. It’s an old Kentucky custom.”
“Actually, it was quite tasty.”
“What about the men?”
“Well, the men, tailored in silk, concealed their intellect in racetrack trivia. I rarely saw Judd except on his mother’s arm, like a trophy. His inebriated father, who owns all these new car dealerships in three states, stood there like the lord of the manor and ogled me like a strumpet. He introduced me to his cronies as Judd’s filly. I thought for a while that he was going to strap a saddle one me.”
“Later, when I told Judd about, he laughed and said that his father was just having fun showing me off.”
“Then, late in the evening, his father disappeared--I think he had too much bourbon and went to bed. Soon after, the party broke up.That’s when Judd’s mother put me through this silly third degree.”
“She quizzed me about the guests. I was supposed to remember all the names and why each guest was important. When I stumbled over most of the names, she said, ‘Sally, that won’t do. These people can do a lot for Judd’s career.’ All I could say was, Judd is a history professor. And his mother said, ‘Not for long. His father has bigger plans for him.’ Again, when I mentioned it to Judd, he said, “She did the same thing with Brother Tom’s girl friend. That’s just her way.’”
“And what did you say?”
“I said, well, it’s not my way; and Judd said, ‘Forget about it.’ And I said, I will as soon as I get back to Cincinnati.”
“Does that mean the romance is over?”
“I guess so. Besides, I don’t know when I’ll see Judd again.”
“Sooner than you think, Sally. He called and said he was flying out this weekend.”
“Damn, I was hoping Dad would be here.”
“Me too, but remember--he’s got business to take care of.”
“Mom, let’s don’t do that again.”
“I think I’ll fix a pitcher of martinis.”
“Are you sure? Don’t you think it’s a little early for martinis?”
“Don’t be so protective, Sally. I’m not going to do anything stupid.”
Fighting back tears, Sally embraces her mother.
Later that night, when Sally calls Cliff, there’s no answer. When she calls Marie, she’s told that he is not there.
“Oh,” says Sally, “where is he?”
“He’s trying to deal with the Jack situation. The kid has been moved to a New Jersey jail, and Cliff is trying to convince Jack’s father or his Uncle Art to hire a good Jersey lawyer.”
“My guess is that Dad and Lew will have to take care of that expense.”
“That’s what Cliff thinks.
“I wish I were there.”
“Cliff prefers that you remain with your mother.”
“But I’d like to take care of Dad.”
“That’s my job.”
“Yes,” says Sally, and hangs up.
When Sally tells her mother about the call, Jane says, with a slur, “That damn family is a curse. They’re the reason Cliff and I broke up.”
“Really? Wasn’t it because of Dad’s illness?”
Jane ignores the question, and says, “I think we should take a plane to Cincinnati, don’t you?”
“No. Dad would not like that.”
“You mean the bitch wouldn’t like it.”
“Please, Mom. Let Dad take care of this mess with Jack.”
Jane fumbles with the pitcher, pouring most of the martini on the floor.
“Mom, please be careful.”
“Because I love you.”
“Sally, I’m grateful for your love, but…
“I need more than that.”
“I know.” Sally fills her mother’s martini glass.
Jane drains the glass and collapses in her daughter’s arms.
“Oh, Mom, what are we going to do?”