Tern smiled and said no. She had put her wine cooler aside in favor of a glass of milk and was sipping it. "My stomach," she said, smiling in embarrassment. "Don't worry. The milk makes it go away."
Kennedy and Terri left before midnight.
Peggy Kennedy is almost six feet tall, a big-boned woman with salt-and-pepper hair and a forthright manner that calls to mind the actress who plays TV's Maude. She married James Kennedy Sr. when he was with the FBI before World War II, and now, with some trepidation, follows the paths he cut as a furniture salesman, selling her line of decorator accessories. She does it "to get out," she said, not having to do much mothering for daughters who are 14, 22 and 23. "I can't tell the older ones when to come in anymore," she said.
"The thing about Jim," his mother said, "is that he has always been a good boy. No goody-goody, I don't mean that. Just a neat guy, you know? Absolutely no trouble raising. I could have raised 50 Jimmys to one girl."
She sat in the lobby of the Campus Inn on game day waiting for Kennedy to join her for breakfast. She said she had driven all the way from St. Louis by herself, the first time she'd ever done it. Ordinarily a daughter brings her, she said, but none was available. "I had to solo. I was scared to death, but I'm here." She nodded her head proudly and winked, adjusting the tilt of her tinted glasses.
She said Jim and his father had had "a neat relationship. You could see how close they had gotten. He doesn't say so, but I can still feel how it hurts him when he comes home, when he walks into the house."
She said her husband had predicted that Jim would someday play for the Big Eight championship. She said they had been grateful he was able to play under "such wonderful men as Coach Stewart and Coach Kelley." And as for Terri, she said, "How could he be so lucky? Don't you just love that girl?"
She said, "Jimmy never asks for anything. I mean, he has to have his back to the wall before he comes to me. I suppose he withdraws about $50 a month from his bank account. But he'd rather do without than ask."
It had begun to snow in Columbia and by midafternoon the parking lot at the Hearnes Multipurpose Building was a dirty white sherbet. Lines were already forming at the gates when Kennedy drove his Mustang in and he and Danny got out. "Gonna be a big crowd tonight," he said.