Day 660: Gratuitous Obituary

Laetitia didn’t have to lead a tour today because it was another almost-day-off, but she still had to post a limerick, and she was drawing a blank on ideas. She opened the big front door of the Emerald Victorian and went through the foyer into the kitchen. Today’s packet of coffee was Vienna roast, a blend slightly lighter than what she usually drank. But it had an excellent aroma and flavor. As she went through her email, she was surprised to find an obituary attached to one message. The email was from Uncle Milt, but the name of the deceased was unfamiliar. Was it some relative she should know about but didn’t? Then she read it. She decided it was Uncle Milt’s idea of a joke.

In a nutshell, the deceased’s story was this: Her widowed mother abandoned her when she was 16. She and a friend worked in the wartime food industry until World War II ended and they lost their jobs. She had two husbands and a daughter by each. During her working years, she rose early each morning to support herself as a cook, housecleaner, waitress, and dry-cleaning presser. She loved to laugh, read, sing, garden, and walk. She had lifelong addictions to alcohol, cigarettes, and bad men. Before she died at age 87, she requested that there be no memorial service. Her sentiment was, “If you didn’t come to see me while I was alive, why bother after I’m dead?”

What was remarkable about the obituary was its refreshing candor. The deceased was a spunky woman who played the hand she was dealt as well as she could, showed no remorse, and spat in the eyes of those who couldn’t be bothered with her during her life. She didn’t give them the opportunity to not come to her funeral. Laetitia pondered the obituary for a moment and then wrote the limerick of the day. Then she decided to write a song based on the obituary to be performed at Uncle Milt’s next party. Since the deceased was from the Appalachian Mountains, she planned to set the lyrics to Wildwood Flower, a Civil War era mountain tune. She contacted Cousin Sharon to make sure she would be there with her guitar. She decided to call the song, Eleanor RigbyNot.

She an Eleanor Rigby was not
She played hard with the cards that she got
And reacted to slights
By eschewing last rites
‘Twas her own kind of Parthian shot.

Parthia was an ancient kingdom in what is now Iran. Its mounted archers were noted for their ability to twist around while at full gallop during a feigned or real retreat and send a barrage of arrows at their pursuing enemy.