Party Girl

Confronting advanced breast cancer without a dime to her name, Texas legend Priscilla Davis insists the good times aren't over yet

A friend she speaks to only occasionally heard that she'd contracted breast cancer, and asked if there was going to be an estate sale. Priscilla smiles a little bitterly as she relates this.

"I was, like, well, there's not really much left to sell," she says, her arm gesturing around the tiny apartment. "He's always wanted that mural. But I'm like, gaw, the funeral hasn't happened yet."

You can see why someone who knows Priscilla would prize this 17 year-old image of her. It is eerily emblematic of her life, her charm, her strengths, and her weaknesses. There she is on the wall, life-sized, cocktail in hand, laughing and refusing to look squarely at what's ahead.

On the subject of drinking, Dee Davis says she used to pester her mother about her consumption. Dee is, after all, a drug and alcohol counselor, and moreover, a sober alcoholic, and therefore spends a lot of time silently assessing the habits of those around her. She eventually came to the conclusion that it was really none of her business, and that Priscilla would do what she wanted to, anyway. Dee gave her mother a martini glass for her most recent birthday.

Priscilla, on the other hand, insists that she may not slurp as much alcohol as people think. In the country clubs of Dallas and Fort Worth, everyone knew what "Priscilla's drink" was--vodka with a splash of water. But she was famous for leaving her cocktails unfinished. If the ice melted too quickly, she'd send it back and order another one. She still does. The philosophy behind this is simple: "They'll always make more."

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