After dinner, Mary bestowed upon Miss Gray a more elegant name - Bernadette, Mary's favorite saint. I thought it a little on the upper crust side for the likes of Boo and me, but what the h*ll.
I broke out the glasses, the ice cubes, and the bottle of Southern Comfort. Mary says I drink too much. She's right, but I do believe I'm drinking less nowadays. Then we snuggled up in front my Philco Cathedral radio (circa 1934), an inheritance from my father, the best finish carpenter Boston ever knew. He died of lung cancer when he was only thirty-nine. Mama said it was because of all the cigarettes he smoked, but who knows.
I loved the feel of that radio knob, the click of it that started that electrical hum as the tubes inside heated up and that turned on that soft, amber glow of the dial. I was hoping for some music by one of the big bands, maybe Ellington or Basie - I love those guys and the magic they make. Instead we got that wild intro to the Green Hornet, that sound of that furious wasp buzzing about and that baritone voice that told the background of Britt Reid newspaper publisher by day, crime fighter by night, and Kato, his Asian, karate-wielding partner.
I started to search for something more fitting for the cuddling experience, but Mary, bless her heart, offered, "Ian, leave it there. I kind of like the Green Hornet."
Once more, I thought, "God, I love this woman."
Kato and the Green Hornet got their man; and, I must confess, that night I got a little lucky in terms of feminine affection.
We finally fell asleep right there on the couch in front of the radio, bundled in a blue and green afghan my grandmother gave me the night I returned home from the Navy. I suppose a fair number of sailors, soldiers, and flyboys had things knitted for them by their mamas and grandmas in those years.
Mary did share with me her thoughts about Archbishop Collins. She used to love to hear him preach. He'd often preach about working folks like her and how they needed a better treatment from the people who had the money and the power. She thought he was good man, but then mentioned something I was in no way expecting ... she said that she thought he was a mighty lonely man.
Near midnight, I drove her home to Miss Hill's Residence for Women, kissed her good-night and made my way back to my little apartment in the Mallory Arms, Room 205. Boo spent the night at Bernadette's place, wherever that was, and I and Miss Southern Comfort soothed ourselves to sleep.