A Union of Hearts:
The streets were dark and empty yet the little house stood with door wide-open and welcoming light. On this of all nights of the year it was open house for all who wished to take advantage of the family’s hospitality. From somewhere within echoed the words; “Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind, should old acquaintance be forgot and days of Auld Lang syne.”
It was midnight Old Years Night. Around the large dining table covered with special goodies, (shortbread, fruitcake, turkey, ham, drinks, fruit and nuts) stood the family, arms crossed and linked as they sang. Ned and Betty stood at the head of the table, their eyes moist and sparkling with joy. To their right stood John and Elaine, Robert and Loueen (who had recently graduated from being “Miss what you can’t catch.’), and to their left were Bill and Fiona, Edward and Jill.
Jill and Loueen completed the circle at the foot of the table, while various grandchildren stood laughing by. Shortly before midnight they had all gone outside and arranged themselves for entry to the homestead in the best Scots tradition. Bill with his black hair and dark complexion, (inherited from his mother) always entered first. There was no need to throw a handful of coal in ahead because of Bill’s complexion, or perhaps it was because he had been the ‘Black Sheep’ of the family, that was, until he gave his life to Jesus. Now he was a Pastor in a Pentecostal Church with all that entailed. This was the happiest night of their lives having come together from great distances.
John and his family now lived in Pretoria in the Transvaal. He had always been the more stable and reliable although his first marriage ended in disaster when his wife ran off with her employer. His remarriage had caused a rift with Robert whose strong views could not accept divorce. It was at this time that John asked Bill, “How is it you are not concerned with my remarriage when Robert is?” I guess the answer must have floored him because he later committed his life to Christ. It was, ”John I don’t expect a non-Christian to obey God’s Laws. We must all be ‘born again’. ”
Bill and Fiona were now in Umtali Rhodesia and Eddie and Jill in Howick Natal.
Scattered, but tonight they had all gathered in the home of Ned and Betty where they had all grown up. In Pietermaritzburg, Natal. This was still Robert’s home for he had not yet left caring for them in their old age, as they had especially cared for him in his illness. Although engaged to be married, he did not intend to tie the knot until his parents were home in glory.
If ever this family would get together it would have to be at Christmas or New Year for these were always special times when the four boys were growing up.
Suddenly Bill awoke realizing it had all been a very pleasant dream. Their lives had never afforded them the luxury of a family reunion although each of the boys had visited with their families from time to time. His dream had replaced a real memory when they as children had celebrated New Year. Sadly their very different lives had robbed them of such an opportunity.
The true reunion was when Ned died and the families came together for the funeral. Bill conducted the funeral and after it was over the four boys sat in the Lawyer’s office for the reading the will.
Ned had left his estate equally to each of them but had them all down as co-executor’s of his estate. “This is going to cause numerous problems, because of the distances.” The lawyer declared. Unanimously the boys answered, “We will leave it all to Robert.” And each boy signed a ‘Power of attorney’ in Roberts favour. John then reminded them that Ned had loaned him a large sum of money to buy his first home and wanted it deducted from his share. Again the decision was unanimous, he could disregard it.
The Lawyer remarked on how unusual such harmony was over a will, and Ned a Betty stood in heaven filled with joy, eyes moist. There will be joy at their reunion in heaven.
(728 Words reading grade 7.6)
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