Lucille Cox was a family friend when I
was in my teens in the mid 1960s. I don't remember how my mother
met her but we visited her on a regular basis. She was a remarkable
woman. She was probably in her sixties when I knew her and she
had been totally blind since being thrown from a horse at the
age of eighteen.
But blindness seemed to mean little to
Cille, as her friends called her. She was an accomplished pianist
and singer doing mostly gospel songs although one of her favorite
songs was the old Les Paul and Mary Ford hit, Listen to the Mockingbird.
As far as I know, she never performed in public but she did cut
an album, in a manner of speaking.
Dad had a friend in Maryville who had
a small recording studio and I had a reel-to-reel stereo tape
recorder so, one day, I set up in Lucille's living room and we
recorded eight or ten songs. Dad took the tape to his friend
who cut half a dozen copies on long-playing discs. She was so
proud of those.
Lucille was an excellent seamstress too.
I think that was how Mama met her because she sewed too. She
would take Cille fabrics and I remember her holding a piece in
her lap one day, feeling the texture, and saying, "How wonderful!
What color is it?"
Watching Lucille at the sewing machine
was a terrifying experience. She ran it as fast as any sighted
person and her fingers were so close to the flying needle, it
was frightening. She assured us she had never had an accident.
One of my most cherished memories of her
was on a day when we came for a visit on a late summer afternoon
and, as the shadows grew longer and the room began to darken,
she suddenly rose and turned on the lights in the room apologizing
for what she considered an inexcusable lapse in manners.
"I forgot," She said, "You
can't see in the dark the way I do."