HomeSouthern VoiceLong Distance

Long Distance

by Kathleen Brewin Lewis

The phone rang and she answered it. It was her mother.

“Meriweather, I hope I’m not calling too early.”

“Hey, Mama. No, I’ve been up a while. How’s everything?”

“Pretty good. Yesterday I went to see Dr., Dr. … ”  Her voice trailed off.

“Dr. Porterfield?”

“No, the other one.”

“Dr. Dorsey.”

“Yes, and I want you to know that I know that I am having some word retrieval problems. I know it, okay?  And Dr. Dorsey said to tell you and everybody else that the best thing to do is to go ahead and give me the word I’m searching for, don’t make me keep groping for it, just go ahead and give it to me. That way I won’t lose my train of thought.”

“Okay, Mama,” Meriweather said. “I can do that. What else did you do yesterday?”

“Went to the Golf Club and had lunch with Peggy. The chef had made that good …”  She paused. “That dish I really like.”

“The chicken salad with the grapes and the pecans?”

“No … no. Salmon! Salmon. He fixes it in a light cream sauce, with red bell pepper and green beans. It’s delicious.”

“Good, honey. Is Peggy excited about her granddaughter’s wedding?”

“Oh, yes,” her mother said. “We rode over to … to – that dress shop I like.”


“Farrington’s. She’s got her dress for the wedding, but she’s still trying to find something for the rehearsal dinner.”

“Did she find something?”

“Oh, yes. A very pretty silk skirt with a matching lace jacket.”

“What color was it?”

There was silence on the other end of the line.


“I’m thinking,” she said. “That color that’s a pale purple.”


“Lavender. Lavender.”

“Well, that sounds pretty. Do you know what you are going to wear to the wedding?”

“I’m going to wear the mint green cocktail suit I wore to Pastor Tillman’s son’s wedding. It’s a different crowd and this group won’t have seen it before.”

“Good plan, Mama. That suit looks really nice on you. What’s on your agenda for today?”

“I thought I’d call Hosea and see if he’s got any fresh crabmeat. I thought I’d make some crab au gratin and have some girls over for lunch tomorrow.”

“That’s a nice idea.”

“Thought I’d make some red rice and open a can of, of … oh, shoot!”


“Asparagus. Maybe have a fruit salad, too.”

“Well, that sounds delicious. I’ll be right over,” Meriweather replied. And they both laughed.

“All rightee,” said her mother. “Well, it’s good to hear your sweet voice.”

“You too, honey. We’d like to come for a visit Memorial Day week-end. It’s a three-day week-end. Would that be a good time?”

“Any time’s a good time. I’ll look forward to it. I like having something to look forward to.”

“Okay, good,” said Meriweather. “Put it on your calendar.”

“I will.”

“And I’ll call you next time. I’ll call you in a couple of days. I love you, Mama.”

“I love you, too.”

“Bye, Mama.”

“Bye, darling. Oh – Meriweather?”

“Yes, Mama?”

“When is Memorial Day?”

“The end of May, Mama. The last Monday in May.”

“That’s right.”

“Don’t forget now.”

“Oh, I won’t,” she said, trying to sound reassuring. “I wouldn’t think of forgetting.”

Kathleen Brewin Lewis is an Atlanta writer (born and raised in Savannah) whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in Weave, The Red Clay Review, The Prose-Poem Project, Cerise Press Journal, Like the Dew, Georgia Backroads magazine and She recently received her Master of Arts in Professional Writing from Kennesaw State University and is an assistant editor for a new online literary journal, Flycatcher: A Journal of Native Imagination.

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Literary Friday
  • Marina Aimer / May 12, 2012

    What a great Mother’s Day Story! Reminded me of my own beautiful mother and how, when she was alive, we would talk on the phone every day. This is powerful and evocative–a beautiful reminder of the loving bond between a mother and her children. And with a hint of sadness at knowing what is slipping away. Thanks for sharing! Marina

  • Lynn Neill / May 14, 2012

    I’m choked up with emotion, having read this beautiful piece. There is joy and there is sadness and the reality cuts right through. This author has hit the heart with a humor laced home run. I, for one, will welcome any and all reads from this talented author?

  • DonnaToulme / November 29, 2012

    What a catchy closing!

  • Vickie Dorsey / November 29, 2012

    The author’s work poignantly captures the essence of the shift in the mother-daughter relationship as a mother ages and the daughter takes on the role of caregiver. For those of us who have already experienced the process and seen it through to the end, it’s a heartwarming and heartbreaking story, all at once. Well done!

  • Duncan Connelly / November 29, 2012

    This story is a delight as I am fully aware of entering the last stage of my own life (turning 60) with a clear memory of my delightful parents. I hope my children will be as forgiving of my shortcomings as Meriweather is of her mother’s. Kathleen’s story is beautifully personal, savory but sweet,and brilliantly brief, but most of all it made me hungry. I think I’ll have crab an red rice for lunch today thank you. Now where do I go to find that in Atlanta? I know, I’ll call Meriweather.

  • Louise Stewart / November 30, 2012

    This is so good. I love how gentle and caring yet supportive Meriweather is of her Mother. And at the same time, how up front her mother is with her daughter about what is happening to her. It really hits home. Excellent story.