“For I’ve grown a little leaner, grown a little colder
Grown a little sadder, grown a little older”

Longtime geezer fans will remember the lovely Julia Pulliam, the Belle of Monteagle, whom life has treated cruelly, first with dementia and then with the loss of her beloved “Waltuh” at Christmastime two years ago. After Waltuh’s death, Julia was shipped off right quick to a posh nursing home in Atlanta, from which she often escapes. Recently, she called up DooDaddy out of the blue on Waltuh’s cell phone. It was a Christmas Miracle.

Let’s listen in:

Julia: “Randy!” (pronounced RAY-UN-DEE)
DooDaddy: “Julia!” (pronounced JEWEL-YUH)
Julia: “What? What did you say?”
DooDaddy: “I said, ‘Julia!'”
Julia: silence
DooDaddy: “How you doin’? Do you like it down there?”
Julia: “Don’t ask.”
DooDaddy: “Are you playing any bridge?”
Julia: “Well, no. “

DooDaddy: “Are you looking forward to Christmas?”
Julia: “No. I’m dreading it.”

DooDaddy: “You know, I lost Jennie D. back in March.”
Julia: “Oh no, not Jennie D., what happened?”
DooDaddy: “Well, she got cancer and had these inoperable tumors on her neck …”  [DooDaddy choking up, pivots to a related topic and warms to his theme.]
“It’s been a tough year. It really has. Your friend, Chalmers died too.”
Julia: “Who?”
DooDaddy: “Chalmers Wilson? Your best friend? Y’all used to play bridge at the club?”
Julia: silence
DooDaddy: “And Bud Albers just died. So sad.”
Julia: “Oh no! And Harriet?”
DooDaddy: “Harriet’s been gone now for several years now.”
Julia: “Oh dear.”

DooDaddy: “Have you been to Monteagle lately?”
Julia: “Heavens no, it’s not the right time of year for Monteagle. I haven’t been there in ages.”

DooDaddy: “How’s Mary?”
Julia: “Who?”
DooDaddy: “Your daughter, Mary?”
Julia: “Well I don’t see much of her, but I know she’d be here in a minute if I called.”
DooDaddy: “Of course she would.”

DooDaddy: “I meant to tell you, people ask about you all the time around here. Everybody misses you.”
Julia: “That’s very sweet of them. Where do you live now?”
DooDaddy: “I’m still at Shannondale. In the apartment. And people ask about you all the time.”

Me: “Tell Julia hello for me and Merry Christmas.”
DooDaddy: “Laura sends her very best regards.”
Julia: “That sweet girl. Bless her heart.”

Julia: “Randy, we’ll have to get up a bridge game. You and Jennie D. and I.”
DooDaddy: “Yes Julia, we will.”

And that was the end of the conversation. Until Julia accidentally called back a few minutes later. The good news is she still remembers DooDaddy and can still dial a phone. DooDaddy said she seemed resigned to her fate. No longer crying inconsolably and begging to come back to Knoxville. Stoic, like Gmamma. Steel magnolias, the both of them. But Julia will spend another Christmas here on earth, while my mother celebrates with the angels.

DooDaddy and Gmamma’s apartment at The Home