“Mary Jean McGrath was the eternal old lady, she’s the type you think will be around forever.” -Clay Espie, Union Cab Driver.
He’s right, she had her routines but they weren’t ridged, and she never looked or acted sick. She commented every time I drove her somewhere about my hair or how pretty I was. 80% of her rides were to or from church. She hated getting phone calls to let her know her cab was outside but she wouldn’t come out to the cab unless she got one, or the driver came and knocked on her door (this pissed phone answers off to no end, she would always answer with “I’m on my way out the door, I have a taxi waiting for me!”). She was gentle, soft spoken, and I’ll lay out a few prejudices now that she contradicted.
Despite being about 90, she didn’t smell like old lady, or sickly.
Despite being religious, she tipped always 20%. She even wrote 20% in the charge line for the tip, instead of a flat dollar amount, which drove several drivers nuts since we have to scratch that out and calculate the actual amount and put that in there. Some drivers tried to explain that to her, but she didn’t change her habit.
Despite being religious, she didn’t try to convert drivers or ask them about their religious views.
Despite being rich, she tipped.
Despite being rich, and despite being religious, she was very liberal and in her youth was a women’s rights activist and artist.
Despite being rich, old, and religious, Mary Jean was a woman that I loved and admired.
I wouldn’t say I didn’t like those things about her, but didn’t mind so much that they came with the package. She was a strong supporter of local businesses and Cooperatives. Her walls were lined with the beautiful paintings she did herself and bought from others. She was NICE. She was the type of little old lady that I’d like to have been related to or have living next door while growing up.
She passed away two evenings ago, and I hadn’t given her a ride in probably 5-6 months, so I’m not sure how she was doing toward the end. I’d like to think she passed peacefully in her sleep, since last time I saw her she was in fine health, sharp as a tack, and old as dirt. She is the old lady I hope to someday become, only replace Church with some community function or weekly bridge gathering with my old lady friends.