Rush is gone to his inevitable reward, whatever that may be. Who’s that? Good question. Will anyone miss him? Uh… don’t know. Did he leave warm feelings behind for us to treasure his memory? Hot hatred for sure, oh, and hot ash from his cigar, probably still in the ashtray. Other than that, the silence is deafening.
I heard that Cape Girardeau, Missouri was his hometown and that there was a little shrine to him there, long before his death, even before his drug use was known beyond his dealer and public relations managers trying to keep his public image clean. That is, if such a screaming, antisocial conservative could ever be clean.
Hey, I had relatives in Cape Girardeau too back in the day. My great-grandma lived there, at least in 1920 when she appears on the census and briefly cared for an aunt, and maybe her soon-to-be widowed husband too, following the inevitable fate of all flesh. Tales of her wild lifestyle, rum-running, and divorcing multiple husbands, came down to me as a cherished legacy. The gossip of now gone aunts painted her as the black sheep of my mother’s family, but at least she lived with gusto. I copied down that oral history just in time, before the rest of that generation vanished from our mortal plane. I was able to document some of it, the overlapping marriages and divorces anyway, that helped me fill in her partners in crime, or at least debauchery, during the ravages of Prohibition and the earlier patchwork of wet and dry counties that offered bootleggers a ready market. Great grandma was colorful to say the least, but I felt ever more sympathy for her the more details I uncovered.
Born in “the hills and hollers” of southern Illinois along the Mississippi, seduced and impregnated at fourteen by a well to do farmers son, she had a rough start. He didn’t, or wasn’t permitted to step in as the daddy, so her next son, my grandpa, had another father, but then the first came back to father a third boy, before he up and married a “Lulu” of a girl, leaving Great grandma to marry yet another fellow, who may have been her first bootlegger. Sad to say, that union didn’t last long. Suicide by drowning, but the newspaper reports didn’t give his reason, other than that he often spoke of ending his existence.
After she dropped her boys in an orphanage, her trail grew cold. She popped up in Seattle before winding back to Cape Girardeau, but whatever relations with men at the time are a mystery until she snared an ex-tavern owner who married her despite never divorcing his other wife. And the beat went on.
So, you may ask what is the connection to poor dead Rush. Absolutely none, I’m happy to say. While Rush lies unlamented in his grave, Maggie, for all her wild adventures, was missed, and even by those scandalized wagging tongue women especially by those who never met her except in legend. We all gotta go sometime, so let’s go out in style. Viva Maggie!