My Aunt Pat's first husband (and father to the three sons involved in the whole lioness fiasco) died when the youngest son was about 15. She remarried a fellow named Steve, who was a WWII veteran and active in local politics. Steve was also a widower, and he had one son and one daughter. The son is fairly normal. The daughter, however, is not. She is crazy in that uniquely southern way that inspires people like Faulkner to write dark tales of familial intrigue and violence. I say all of this not only by way of explanation, but also to make the point that I share NO DNA with this person. Thank you, God.
Linda was married and had 4 children--three daughters and a son. Before she was married she was athletic and adventurous; a cheerleader who counted skydiving and shooting among her favorite hobbies. After marriage and pregnancy, though, some odd trends began to surface. Linda became obsessed with collecting antiques, and living the "pageant lifestyle"--dressing up the daughters and parading them around in pursuit of crowns, scepters and sashes reading Little Miss Boll Weevil, or whatever. She also let herself go physically, replacing activity with food. Eventually Linda's collecting and controlling got out of hand, and she ended up driving her daughters into early marriages and her son into permanent sullen withdrawal.
Linda lives in a large home in a rural area. However, you cannot walk through the house, because it is crammed with antiques. She has something like 30 full sets of china, as many sets of silver, tons of furniture, etc. She even has a tractor trailer parked behind the house, also crammed with expensive antiques that are rotting, because they aren't being properly stored. She will not sell them. Meanwhile, the house itself is falling down around her, because she "cannot afford" to get things fixed. Her church buys her groceries. This weird combination of hoarding (if she sold her dining room table, it would fetch at least ten grand) and poormouthing finally broke her on-again, off-again marriage, and her husband left. Linda was furious.
Things came to a head one day when her oldest daughter called Linda and asked if she'd come over to help her (the daughter) out. Halfway there, Linda realized that her daughter would never, ever, call her for help. Her father (Linda's ex) must have put her up to it! With a screech of tires, Linda turned the car around and sped home. Sure enough, there was her ex's car, and he (and his new girlfriend!) were just leaving. Apparently, he needed to pick up a few belongings, and knew that Linda would never consent if she were home. He was right.
After a brief confrontation, Linda went inside and returned with her pistol, which she began firing at the tires of the ex's car. The ex and the new girlfriend made it out unscathed, but a little upset. It's not every day that a large crazy woman shoots at you in the driveway, after all. When word got back to Steve, he just shrugged and made the following reply,""Aw hell. She was just mad and trying to shoot his tires out. She's an excellent shot--if she'd wanted him dead, he'd be dead."
And that was that. Everyone in that area knows each other, and they know Linda, so they tend to be a little more blase about this sort of behavior than, say, I would be. Yep, gotta love the SC branch of the family tree. Next time, I'll round out the Southern Gothic series (for the time being--I have many stories, grasshopper) with a visit to the mountain dwelling branch of the family, where you'll get this quote explained:
"There's a carload of Mexicans in the creek. I'm gonna tow 'em out before Otis shoots them."
Yes, I have not one, but two relatives named Otis. Do not start with me.