On The March With Mrs. Feeney

We hope you haven't entirely forgotten that lady of many interests, Mrs. Jay Feeney, prominent Columbus church and clubwoman, who received the Barbara Fritchie, Woman-of-the-Year Award for her work against the fluoridation forces. A long-time friend of the medical profession, Mrs. Feeney had donated teeth, tonsils, both breasts, thyroid, stomach, gall-bladder, appendix and pelvic organs to earlier surgery, all in the interest of preventive science; her most recent contribution was a 3/4 length of colon just six months ago which, in her own words, got rid of "that cesspool of bacteria."

Since childhood, Mrs. Feeney has been a pioneer promoter of health through diet control, and for years now has existed on nothing but her special formula eggnog, and still finds it exhilarating. Widowed many times. Mrs. Feeney has survived seven husbands (she lost out on an eighth when he passed suddenly on the way to the altar), and, as a close friend of the morticians, she spearheaded the drive in '63 against the Communist influences that threatened to undermine America's sacred burial industry. In 1964, she authored the Feeney Index, a do-it-yourself questionnaire which caused an upheaval in the field of psychiatric social work.

We felt certain, with all of the social ferment going on in the last few months, that Mrs. Feeney could not have remained idle, so we were not surprised the other day to see her step down from a Greyhound bus, dragging a picket sign behind her. It was noticeable, however, that some of the bounce had gone from her birdlike gait; her feathers were disheveled and she looked weary. We hailed her cheerfully, but there was not much spirit to her reply.

"I'm beat, Sugar. Been on the march and demonstrating for almost two months. I've worn me a callus on both shoulders from carrying this sign. Just got back from Brunswick, and I'm plumb wore out."

When we said we hadn't heard of any Viet Nam or civil rights demonstrations going on in Brunswick lately, Mrs. Feeney glared menacingly, and swung feebly at our head with her placard. "Never mind them civil righters, Son. I been busy fighting sin and whiskey over in Augusta and Brunswick. Been on the antimixed drink circuit over there, and it pains me to tell you they beat us. The Forces of Evil has prevailed."

Mrs. Feeney gladly accepted our offer to ride her home. On the way, after emptying the last bit of nourishment from her ever-present traveling thermos of eggnog, she slipped off her shoes and recounted some of her troubles.

"My feet are killing me. Wore out five pairs of shoes in less than eight weeks. Them marshland bigots were too slick for us. They split up the vote between county and city, and kept us on the run covering too much territory. Even so we had 'em licked until the last day when they resorted to unfair tactics, and we just plain give out."

"What happened?" we asked.

"Some smart aleck started a rumor in Brunswick that the U.C.L.A. was a bunch of loose-living beatniks from that California college, who come east to integrate the Bible classes. It was dirty pool, I say."


"And that ain't all, Dearie. On voting day they confiscated my supply of eggnog and slapped me in the cooler on a charge of driving under the influence. I done an unplanned sit-in. Wouldn't have minded so much since I'd already voted twice, but I was scheduled to drive four bus-loads of church ladies to the polls, and by the time they turned me loose it was too late to make it. No telling how many other upright citizens got slandered the same way. It was a disgrace to democracy."

Mrs. Feeney contemplated her thermos, and slumped glumly in the seat. On reaching her house, she gestured us in, and, without a word, led us back to the kitchen. "You're just in time for supper, Baby," she said, and proceeded to mix up a fresh batch of her special liquid diet. She still uses her original half eggnog, half alcohol proportions, although this time, for good measure, she poured in an extra pint of grain alcohol. "On days like these. Sweetie, I need the added nourishment. It's them extra calories that gives me strength."

By the time we had downed the main course, the color had come back into Mrs. Feeney's cheeks, and her spirits were on the upgrade. When we admitted mild surprise to find her on the side against mixed drinks, she raised a bony talon heavenward and proclaimed, "Don't confuse Nature's food with Satan's poison! I stand with the Lord, Brother-boy. There ain't but one side in my Bible! Drink your salad, Son, you're missing some vitamins."

"It was a trying thing, Honey," continued Mrs. Feeney. "I walked my feet to the bone spreading the Christian Word about mixed drinks, but they didn't heed me. They were intolerant to the Truth. And if there's one thing I don't tolerate, Son, it's intolerance. I tell you them ignorant folks in east Georgia has let the Heathens take over. The sea will rise and swallow them up!"

"Amen," we said as we downed another cup of eggnog.

"Well, I'm washing my hands of the whole lot," said Mrs. Feeney. "But I'll say one more thing. It's good to be back home in Columbus where we got that Old Time Religion and enough fine folks with Christian intelligence who know how to vote when it comes to whiskey drinking."

"Praise the Lord!" we said, heading for the door.

"Don't go, Sugar," said Mrs. Feeney. "We still got half a jug of dessert comin' up."

(c) The Doctor's Lounge, Muscogee County (Georgia) Medical Bulletin, Vol XX, No. 1, 1971, p20

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