Desiree had thought about this moment for years. She had imagined it over and over. And now the time had come. In fact the moment had come and gone. It was nothing like she had imagined.
She had always wondered what the circumstances of a marriage proposal would be. Would it be over a romantic candlelight dinner? Would it be in a garden full of flowers and birdsong? Would it be in an orchard with bright red apples shining against a blue sky? Would it be…?
Then she met Liam. Her dreams intensified. She knew Liam was to be the one. He was such a romantic too. Whatever scheme he was to invent in order to propose marriage it was destined to be exotic and quixotic. And now the moment had come!
Liam was driving his old truck to pick up some garden compost from the Garden Centre for his parents. Desiree tagged along too as she often did. Then out of the blue Liam said, “I suppose we should get married” and Desiree said, “I ‘spose so”.
Nothing riled Nora more than Jonathan putting up the artificial Christmas tree crooked. Year after year it would be crooked; just on a slight angle; not much mind you, but just enough for Nora to notice it every time she passed. The tree would go up on Thanksgiving.
The glittering baubles hung on a small but observable angle. Each year Nora would wait for Jonathan to leave the house and no sooner had he gone than she would crawl underneath the tree with a small plastic clothes peg and poke it in the Christmas tree stand against the trunk to make the tree perfectly upright.
Then when she went out herself she would return only to find the peg had gone. It had been taken out and the tree was once again on the tiniest angle. Nora knew exactly what she would get Jonathan for Christmas; something he seemed to want so much: some clothes pegs from the dollar shop.
This ritual had gone on for years. In fact, it had become a Thanksgiving Day tradition. I forgot to mention that Nora and Jonathan were next door neighbours – I suppose you thought they were wife and husband. They had been neighbours for over forty years, and both widowed for about ten. Thanksgiving was a time for them to help each other put up the Christmas decorations. Then as the evening approached – they always observed the day in the evening – their respective families would arrive in each household for the celebration.
This year however it was going to be different. Both families were meeting at Nora’s house to celebrate an accepted marriage proposal.
Happy Thanksgiving to my USA readers and their families – and anyone else who happens to be thankful!
Theodora was a stickler for looking nice. She would never appear in public without first putting on her glad rags. A carefully made up face was a must, and always with lipstick to match her nails.
When an earthquake struck and she ran out of her home flat stick, people commented that surely she wasn’t dressed to the nines all the time. She must have known an earthquake was about to strike! But the reality was, of course, that she did care every day for her appearance in and out of the house.
It therefore came as quite a surprise when Theodora’s name began to be associated with Teddy Potts. Teddy was a local farmer and as rough as guts. Even the backside of his pants was worn and sometimes torn. He always had a bit of hay here and there on this woollen pullover. The self-rolled cigarette permanently hanging from his lips was rarely lit. It was there for effect.
Soon Theodora and Teddy announced their engagement. All were invited to the wedding on the farm. It was to be “Bring a plate” (which is the Australian/New Zealand term for Potluck). The big question was: what should the wedding guests wear? It was on a farm so dress casually; or it’s Theodora’s wedding so dress fashionably; or it’s Teddy’s wedding so wear your old gardening clothes.
Guests arrived wearing all sorts. What a mixed crowd! Teddy was in a tuxedo but with a cigarette still hanging out his mouth. Theodora arrived wearing a stunning ensemble complete with veil and holding a bunch of barley and wild flowers off the farm.
Everyone had a great time. Even the old cow just across the fence watched the proceedings and mooed when the couple kissed. Everyone laughed.
And so, Dear Reader, this tale is proof indeed that some plots don’t ever get off the ground. Most lives are ordinary. They’re not riddled with murder and intrigue but things happen in a lovely way. And no doubt this couple lived happily ever after.
For some time now Clarice had suspected that not everything was right with hubby. Ramon had been in a bad mood for several weeks. He was working too hard. Every night this week he had come home late. He said he was “burdened with work”. Somehow for Clarice the story didn’t sit right.
“I suspect he’s having an affair,” thought Clarice. “That sprightly, lithe office assistant called Monica is the likeliest candidate to attract Ramon’s attention.”
Clarice searched online for a company that did private detective work. There it was! It was specific: “We specialize in investigating your spouse.” It was exactly what Clarice wanted. She phoned. They arranged to meet. Max wasn’t at all what she had expected. She had expected a tweedy little man with a monocle; well not exactly a monocle but at least horned-rimmed glasses. Max wasn’t any of that.
Anyway, that was months ago. Clarice no longer needs to have husband Ramon investigated as she’s moved in with Max.
Darryl’s sister, Molly, didn’t want to go for a ride on the Ferris wheel at the fair, so Darryl said he would go on his own. The man guiding people into the “buckets” asked Darryl if he minded sharing the double seat with a stranger, so he said he didn’t mind. A young woman sat down. Her name was Connie.
Around and around the Ferris wheel went! Up then down! Up then… It stopped just as Darryl and Connie’s “bucket” reached the apex. That was fine. Clearly they were loading new participants aboard. But they weren’t. The Ferris wheel had broken down. They were stuck.
Eventually they were rescued.
Ferris wheels have improved since then. That was years ago. Today Darryl’s sister, Molly, is popping around to help Connie and Darryl move into a retirement village.
It was a sad day for Hilda and Murphy. They had been married for eleven years and things hadn’t worked out very well. It’s not that they argued; it was more that they had nothing to say and the silence was stressful. More and more stressful. In the end they did talk, and with mild enthusiasm – they would go their separate ways. The decision brought both sadness and relief. There were no children; not that they hadn’t tried. This was liberation of sorts.
Hilda booked a bus to a neighbouring town. In fact, it was the town where she worked. She had rented a small cottage. Murphy would stay where they had been.
Well, Murphy shopped around and bought a big box of chocolates as a sort of farewell gift. Hilda loved chocolates. She didn’t realize that chocolates could come in such a big box!
What a dismal failure. Off Hilda went, chocolates and all. Not a month had passed before she went back to the original house. She had brought the chocolates with her – unopened.
Urs was a tyrannical husband. Alice had long felt trapped in the relationship. She knew she should untangle herself from such a situation but really she didn’t know how. Her only time of peace was after the evening meal when she would take her coffee (Urs was watching the evening news) and wander down to the back of the garden where Urs kept his racing pigeons.
Urs was besotted with his pigeons. Alice found their gentle cooing both soothing and consoling.
The racing pigeons were worth a pretty packet. He would enter racing competitions with them regularly. He cared for them more than he cared for his wife.
One of his more tyrannical aspects was that Alice should prepare only healthy food. He regarded vegetable greens as a must to every meal, especially peas. “Peas are riddled with nutrients,” he would say. “That’s why they are so green.”
Alice hated peas. Part of her post-dinner evening walk was to take the peas she had hidden in her napkin and give them to the pigeons.
One early morning, Urs went down to see his pigeons and they were all dead. A veterinarian post-mortem showed that they had eaten poisoned peas.
Have you any idea how expensive it is to get a divorce? Raymond wanted to get rid of his wife but he wasn’t keen to lose almost half of what he’d worked for throughout his life. It was cheaper (and quicker) simply to get rid of her in a cunning and imperceptible way.
He devised a fabulous plan. As far as he could work out, it hadn’t been done before – at least he’d never heard of it. He had one of those cars whereby the driver had controls to lock the car doors. It was a child protection device. If the children in the back and passenger seats were messing around they couldn’t accidently open the door and fall out.
What Raymond would do was to stall the car on a rail crossing just as a train was hurtling towards them. Then he’d quickly press the button to lock his wife’s door, leap out his own door, and… Oh what a tragedy! Oh what a sadness! Why did it happen to me?
It wasn’t exactly something he could practise. After all, how many cars can one afford? But he drove the route several times and knew well the times the trains passed.
The day arrived. They were to visit great aunt Maude and bring her the usual weekly supply of chocolate and cat food. They were just about to leave (Raymond was actually wearing his running shoes!) when a message came that great Aunt Maud’s sister also wanted to visit Maude, and could they pick her up on the way? That ruined things. The request meant they would have to take another route. Murder would have to wait another day.
The following week off they went on their habitual visit. Raymond’s wife (goodness, as yet she is not introduced – her name was Fiona) had trouble dragging Raymond’s drugged body to the garage and into the car. Once done she drove to the rail crossing and stopped. She got out to watch.
Oh what a tragedy! Oh what a sadness! Why did it happen to me?
(P.S. A Happy Easter to all who wish to be wished such! I shall be hopefully back with a murder on the 5th, Easter Monday!)