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The Eloise Cure

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Isn't she lovely?

Isn't she lovely?

Praise God for all the people who spread kindness
quietly, who every day make
sweeter by a note, a call — What does it
take to do the things you’ve always meant to
do but never took the time; too busy,
overladen with responsibility, with
this committee, that event, the social
whirl; but aren’t we meant to feed His sheep?

Small kindnesses can save
the world. Thank God for them. Amen
Anonymous

Tea with Eloise

tea_roomYesterday, Sister Alma Rose and I had tea with Eloise. We met at the Hilltop Tea Room, which is very sophisticated for Hilltop, which is to say that all the plants are real and not plastic. The tablecloth fabrics are different colorful French Provincial prints, the dishes are unmatching white china, very beautiful, and for ambient music the owner, Mrs. Fern Feeney (really, that is her name), plays Beethoven and Mozart rather than sanitized versions of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” performed by the Orchestra of All Our Music Sounds the Same.

tearoom_ouytdoor_diningIt was a beautiful morning, and we decided to have our tea and scones on the patio, where there are a tinkly fountain and enormous potted plants filled with daisies and moss rose and petunias and asparagus ferns and begonias, and that stringy stuff, moss, or something.

French provincial-style drape

French provincial-style drape

I always, always, always thank God, up close and personal, for Eloise. If I were on my deathbed, bleeding from all orifices, with a temperature of a hundred and ten, delirious and retching — and Sister Alma Rose said, “Fanny McElroy, let’s go have tea with Eloise,” I would be instantly cured. I would “rise, pick up [my] bed, and walk,” as Jesus told the paralytic, but I’m sure the paralytic’s bed did not have an antique carved-oak headboard and footboard and two mattresses, so I am speaking figuratively, not literally.

frenchch_provincial_tea_thingsHere is what I love about Eloise: She is truly, genuinely, deep-down kind. If you need something, she is right there, whether the “something” is a kidney donation or $10 to get your eyebrows waxed.

Eloise got married in her mid-30s, for the first (and last) time, to the guy (Duncan) who is tied for Second Most Wonderful Man in the World (first most wonderful is my dad), who is 10 years younger than Eloise (Duncan, not my dad), and when Eloise was creeping up on 40, she and Duncan had a baby boy and, a few years later, a baby girl, who are adorable,

Me, Fanny McElroy

Me, Fanny McElroy

smart, funny kids, and Duncan and Eloise do not ask me to baby-sit as often as they could, even though I wouldn’t let them pay me because I love the kids and I also love Duncan and Eloise’s unpretentious 90-year-old house with oak floors and enormous double-hung windows, the kind where the rope is always breaking in the guts of the window frame, where you can’t get to it, so you have to prop the window up with a tire iron or something.

PattiLabelle1A number of years ago, Eloise and her family, including her grandparents, Ellen and Rick, were dining in some swank Kansas City hotel when Patti Labelle slipped into the room. Eloise said, quietly, to the assembled family, “Patti Labelle just walked in.”

Ellen, thrilled but not, unfortunately, beyond words, bellowed to Rick, who was hard of hearing, “Look, Rick! It’s Patti O’Dell!”

Who?” Rick bellowed back.

“PAT-tee O-DELL!” Ellen screeched, an octave higher and eighty decibels louder, in tones Patti might have envied, were she a lesser person.

Eloise’s dark side?

I have a story on Eloise, something she did when she was five years old and had to stay home from kindergarten because she was sick, so she was sitting on the front porch watching all the other kids walk home from school, and she was very crabby, and a little girl from Eloise’s kindergarten class walked by, and Eloise yelled at that little girl, at the top of her (Eloise’s) lungs, the absolutely most inventive bit of profanity you can think of.

An elegant spittoon

An elegant spittoon

But I am not going to tell you what it was, except to say that, based on that oh-so-cleverly articulated word alone, you would think that Eloise would have taken the Wrong Path and would have grown up to be a sniper-terrorist-Nazi-Satanist instead of the smart, generous, beautiful, delightful woman that she is.

Here is proof of Eloise’s wonderfulness: She has only one auntie, and every few weeks she takes her auntie to coffee, and her auntie, whose name is Augusta, hates the world because she, Augusta, has ugly warts, and she chews tobacco and curses loudly and is always scratching her private places, where there are, no doubt, fleas or something worse, I don’t want to know, and she rarely smiles, which is a good thing, because, when she does, there are bits of chewing tobacco between her teeth, of which there are seven (I counted) and they (Augusta’s teeth) resemble kidney beans, and when she wants the waitress, she yells, “Girlie!” really loud, and when the waitress refills Augusta’s coffee cup, Augusta always says, “leave room for my medicine, Girlie,” and then she pours something vile and alcoholic from the flask she always carries… and Eloise loves her anyway.

pie_cupboard

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    6 thoughts on “The Eloise Cure

      • Dear Eleena — She is beautiful, isn’t she? In the blog, she is “Eloise.” In real life,she is a model whose name I don’t know. Thanks for your kind words, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Blessings… Mary

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