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Stories & Scripts

Source: Adults

Author: joan crawford

Title: Family Funeral 5

Part 5

Although I attended the reading of the Will I wasn`t expecting anything as Uncle Bertie had turned his house over to me some nine years before, however, I received quite a substantial amount of money – this was frowned on by all four of my aunts when it was announced.

Various charities benefitted as did the local cricket club. Uncle Bertie was a keen follower of the game whether it be local, county or test cricket. I used to help with refreshments at local home games while he and Dad watched every ball in every over. Apparently there was enough money to cover the costs of a new sight screen and score-board, heavy duty mower and roller as well as new equipment for the players.

The four Uncle Bills each received a sum of £500 for taking it in turns tending Uncle Bertie`s garden and mowing the lawns. The keenest gardener, Uncle Bill Lewis, inherited the petrol driven mower as well.

Each of my four aunts received what they thought was the measly sum of £150. Furious didn`t begin to describe their facial expressions and for a short while, they were speechless.

Several other good causes were read out and then the final beneficiary “The sum of £5000 I bequeath to my dear friend, Fiona Appleyard for all her kindness, patience and loving care every evening for the last three years.” “And who might Fiona Appleyard be when she`s at home?” shrieked Aunt Roz;”And what was the loving care all about?”Sneered Aunt Agnes, “What was the old boy up to every evening?” “At his age too!” Aunt Sybil and Aunt Ellen both nodded in agreement

At this point, I felt an explanation was due before the Aunts dragged themselves further into the mire. Fiona Appleyard was Uncle Bertie`s evening Social Worker; I looked after him during the day and she came along each evening at his request so that I could have a rest and a decent night`s sleep!” I said “So why isn`t she here and why wasn`t she at the funeral?”was ring leader, Roz`s, next question. By now, I was really beginning to lose my patience. “Poor Fiona had a heart attack two days before uncle died!” I flared, “She is still in hospital, hopefully recovering.”

Then followed much discussion and several angry comments before they all drifted away. Aunt Roz`s parting shot was “The rotten old devil, if I`d have known then what I know now I wouldn`t have spent all that money on that wreath!” to which Aunt Agnes replied “Those pork scratching cost me, I put the £150 towards new dentures so that`s my inheritance seen to!”

The following spring, after Uncle Bertie`s generosity , the village cricket ground was looking quite wonderful after the installation and use of all the new equipment and a plaque in memory of its benefactor was placed at the front of the pavilion for all to see.

Poor Fiona didn`t survive and Aunt Roz would have been astonished to read in the local press that she had left the sum of £5000 to the local hospice.

I haven’t seen anything of my aunts since the reading of The Will but my four Uncle Bills, happy to get away from A,R,S & E, still come round, together now, and help out with the garden on a regular basis. I make a heap of sandwiches and we share several, alcoholic beverages either indoors or in the gazebo if the weather is fine..

So we all say, “Cheers to you, good old Uncle Bertie!”

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