Mrs. McGregor

Damon Runyon

Mrs. McGregor was quite a widow in Our Town.

She had a world of experience.

She was married to seven different men.

One died. Four ran away and got divorces from her, and she divorced the other two right in Our Town.

The names of Mrs. McGregor’s husbands were Cadwallader, Kearns, Tilbury, Turnbull, Smith, Doyle and McGregor. Her maiden name was Suggs.

She was nothing extra for looks but men seemed to like to marry her.

Cadwallader was her first husband. He worked in a shoe store. He was one of the four that ran away. The others were Tilbury, Turnbull and Kearns. Doyle and McGregor were the ones she herself divorced.

She said they were guilty of mental cruelty.

She said Doyle smoked a pipe in bed and McGregor ate onions and limburger cheese and drank beer every night after getting through work.

He was a switchman in the Santa Fe yards.

Everybody agreed that Mrs. McGregor had grounds in this case.

She was a strapping big woman, with auburn hair and white teeth. She came of a good family in Our Town and was a fine housekeeper. She seemed to have plenty of good common sense.

Smith was her third husband.

Nobody in Our Town could remember much about him.

He was a salesman in an electrical fixtures store and was a little, quiet man who had nothing to say. He came from Salem, Massachusetts.

He was married to Mrs. McGregor about a year when he died of pneumonia and was buried in River-view Cemetery. He came and went so rapidly that very few people in Our Town mentioned his name when calling the roll of Mrs. McGregor’s husbands.

She rarely spoke of Smith.

She would talk about Cadwallader, Kearns, Tilbury, Turnbull, Doyle and McGregor and tell you what bums they were, yet never a word about Smith.

But every Sunday afternoon, rain or shine, Mrs. McGregor would go out to Riverview Cemetery and visit Smith’s grave. Sometimes she would take flowers.

Joe Sneezbold, the superintendent of the cemetery, said she would sit beside the grave for hours at a time. She kept this up even when she was married to Tilbury, Kearns, Doyle and McGregor.

They did not mind much.

One day Joe Sneezbold remarked to Mrs. McGregor that she must have loved Smith a great deal. She said no, she did not love him an extra lot. She said she did not love him any more than she loved any of her other husbands but she respected him more.

She said Smith was the only man she had ever known who occasionally asked her if she did not feel tired and that it rested her now to sit beside his grave.

Mrs. McGregor was regarded as a strange woman.