Miz Maypearl was a God Fearing Woman. She lived a life of service to her God, to her country and to her family. In that order. Miz Maypearl kept her home spotless and made certain that no playing cards, heathen music or strong drink ever darkened her south Texas door. Her wardrobe had three colours in it; tan, navy and black. She didn’t believe in “putting on airs”.
When Miz Maypearl learned that she had terminal cancer, she carefully boxed up and labeled her belongings for distribution after her death. She said she didn’t want to be a trouble to anyone after she’d gone. She wrote goodbye notes to her loved ones that told them each what they personally needed to hear to work through their grief.
When she was buried with full military honours, it was standing room only at the First Primitive Baptist Church in her no longer small hometown. Speakers from her community eulogized her with words like “upright”, “exemplary” and “pillar of virtue”. They spoke of how she never said a cross word in her life and how she truly had been one of the rocks her community had been founded on.
After the funeral, her son went back to her spotless, organized and now strangely empty home to dispose of the few little things she had kept with her in her final days. He opened her modest black handbag and in her wallet found a piece of paper neatly folded behind miscellaneous insurance cards and such. When he unfolded the yellowed, much creased paper with the edges tattered from age, he could not believe his eyes. There in his mother’s own handwriting was a dirty joke. Tame by today’s standard and wickedly funny, but nonetheless off-colour. Today he keeps it tucked close to his side in his own wallet.