Life's Simple Pleasures

Entry by: QueenC

16th December 2016
On Notice
The teapot was on the table, the toast popped up from her mother’s old sunbeam toaster, a boiled egg was ready for her husband and the tablecloth was a suitable pale green. People called her home retro. Her mother Teresa a descendent of Irish Catholicism had left her mark on the living room. The lace doilies, the painting of Our Lady of Fatima, the wooden dresser and the quality porcelain. Keith her husband a member of Opus Dei an ultra-conservative catholic group approved. As Teresa used to say they were a match made in heaven
And she liked to live as though today, like in the 1950s, the world knew what was right and wrong. Prayer and going to mass were right. Sex was wrong or at least too much of it. And after a night of her husband’s snoring she even thought it could be good to return to the practice of sleeping in separate beds like on the “I love Lucy show’.
With that thought she opened the morning newspaper to indulge herself in one of life’s little pleasures—reading the death notices. It used to be that employers would ask her about hobbies. She would volunteer singing and bushwalking but turned red when she thought of telling them about her favourite—the obituaries. After all, reading the obituaries isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time.
In the last few years even this static part of life was altering. Too often she found herself saying Do they not have some sort of editorial policy? There must be guidelines.
Now she winced as she read
‘William Gunn escaped this mortal realm on Friday July 29 2016 at the age of 69. We think he did it on purpose to avoid having to decide in the next federal election’.
And sweet lord Jesus the blasphemy in this woman’s notice
‘Phillips Alma It pains me to admit it, but apparently, I’m dead. Everyone told me it would happen one day but that was something I did not want to hear let alone experience. Once again, I did not get my way!’
For that matter what kind of family could write this about their loved one?
‘She liked four letter words as much as she loved her rock garden and trust us she LOVED to weed that garden with us as her helpers, when child labour was legal or so we were told.’
Her mother Teresa had coached her in the etiquette of death notices. It will be the only time I have my name in the newspaper and I want to be proud of it. When Teresa died she personally dictated the paragraphs to the journalist. Cloaked in propriety and goodness she set her mother’s remembrance. ‘Teresa Connolly (nee Houlihan) born in Swan Hill to Michael and Carmel Houlihan, proud feinian, loyal wife to Padraig Connolly, farmer, devoted mother to Siobhan and then she had stopped ‘and and? pushed the journalist and? ‘Sean’ ‘your brother? She had to think ‘regretfully yes’
Suddenly her eye caught on a large tableau amongst the notices. Usually she liked these fancy ones.
‘Family love’ died at home September 21st 2000. After a long struggle with dysfunctional parents. Survived by two siblings who hate each other and a lot of money for one of them. No flowers but please donate to the conflict resolution network.’
She panicked. He was at it again. Sean the crack in their propriety. Her little brother who had slashed one of Teresa’s our lady photos with a pen knife, who her husband described as the devil incarnate. Sean, who when Teresa had asked him what he was going to do for work answered ‘Mother I am setting up an escort agency. There is a lot of money in it.’ Sean who caused a fight every time he came home challenging all religious belief with his atheistic logic. Sean who had one girlfriend after another and dared one to walk nude into the kitchen to scare his mother. Sean who had a degree in engineering but worked as a waiter so he could write his book.
She was the administrator for Teresa’s will worth millions. Sean was not going to get a cent of it. She would rather donate it to Opus Dei.
Someone appeared at the door.’Mrs. Carey? ' As he entered a policeman pressed a subpoena into her hand.
‘What…' She ripped it open
‘Me? charged with fraud! in relation to the will of Teresa Connolly specifically the ‘falsification of the late Teresa Connolly’s signature and the creation of a false additional amendment’. This is a joke…’
‘No ma’am this subpoena is from Sean Connolly’s lawyer. You are to appear in the magistrate court at 9 am tomorrow.
She sat down at the table and stared. A smaller notice with a thick black border jumped out at her from the paper—See you at Court Sis. Sean Connolly son of Teresa and her abusive husband Michael.