Ruth told the cook that when she was growing up in Tennessee, her mama fixed turnips once a week.  Said this to the cook like she was Queen of the South, and the next thing you know, we’re stuck with turnips on the menu.  

Ruth, with the red, red nails of a hussy, three diamond rings, and then to have to listen to her golden bracelets clinking over the roll basket.  

She’s the queen all right, just ask deaf Will.  Nearly always after ice cream he shuffles over to our table, shouting to Ruth, “I love your beautiful face, why oh why don’t you come to Bingo, darling?” 

Then last night after three nights in a row interrupted, when I merely say, “I’d like to get through just one dinner without the paramedics,” Ruth starts in with how fortunate we are if our blood’s thin enough, if our hearts can hold us up.  

As if I didn’t know.  As if I hadn’t lost my Paul.

Linda Lowe
A Gentleman in Moscow
Amor Towles