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Home / Filipino Horror Stories / A FINE ARRANGEMENT

A FINE ARRANGEMENT

I was only four years old in the spring of 1937 and didn’t  understand what a funeral was,  but I did know everyone  was going except me. I was to stay at Grandma’s farm near  Birch River, Manitoba, with two ladies who were preparing lunch.

When everyone  had left  I went looking for my grandfather, William Bradford. He had been sick all winter and  usually lay on the living room couch.

But he  wasn’t  there  nor in his bedroom. When I saw him leaning against the  railing on the veranda I ran outside  and stared at him. He  didn’t  look old and  pale and shaky anymore. Instead of the  familiar pajamas he wore a suit.

“Aren’t you sick anymore, Grandpa?” I asked.

“No, sweetie. Fact is,  I feel very well!” He smiled. “Want to walk?” Strolling  through the barnyard  we talked about the  chicks and calves. We both laughed when the  white mare nuzzled my hair.

Suddenly Grandpa grew serious. “You like  being here on  the farm with Grandma, don’t you?” “Oh, yes! I replied. “I wish we could  stay but Aunt Edith  says  we have  to go home soon.” (My parents were divorced and I lived with my aunt.)

Grandpa nodded thoughtfully. “Sweetie, I have  to go  away. Everyone else will leave soon and Grandma will be  alone.  Now think carefully. Would you rather go home with Aunt Edith or stay with Grandma?” “I’d rather stay with Grandma, ” I answered quickly. “Your cousins will be gone .  There’ll  be no   one to play with,” he  cautioned.  “There’s  the kittens and the dog,”  I said.

“It’s all arranged then. If anyone tries  to take  you away,  make a fuss!” He winked- and I giggled.  Usually  when I  made a  fuss, Grandpa said, “That’s enough!” We went back to the  house and Grandpa said he was  going to the funeral and walked down the lane.

When the  family returned I tried to tell them  about what  Grandpa had said   but I was  told  to hush. Grandma heard  me, though, and called me aside later.

When I had told  my  story, she smiled.  “Don’t tell anyone else about this. They wouldn’t  understand. And don’t tell anyone this either- your mother  and  Aunt Edith don’t know it  yet but  you will be staying   with me!”

A few days later Grandma and I waved goodbye to the  last of  the relatives  and that  was the start  of our  many  happy  years together. The incident of my  talk with Grandpa on  the day of the funeral was never discussed until I was about fifteen years old and Grandma asked if I remembered it. I did,  of course, and I asked if she had believed me.

“Yes” she said, “because you see, early that morning  your  grandfather appeared  at my bedside. He told me I should  stay on the farm and keep you with me. There  would  be strong  family opposition to both ideas, he said, but I was  not to give in, for this  would be best for both of us,” And that is how my grandfather, on the  day of  his own  funeral, arranged our future. Grandmother and I believe  it   was a fine arrangement.

Marlene J. Porter

Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada

February 1974

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