Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Uncles/Aunts (04/17/08)
TITLE: My Name is Lawrence
By Sheri Gordon
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
Who am I kidding? I suppose I was young—once. And I definitely am a bachelor. But the handsome part is stretching it a bit. Okay, a lot.
Truth is, I’m an old man, with no wife, lots of money, and a gaggle of ungrateful nieces and nephews. I receive the obligatory Christmas greeting from each of them, but they aren’t fooling me. They only want the cash I send in their cards.
Fully aware that my expiration date is nearing, and bored of watching Oprah, Fox News, and The Beverly Hillbillies reruns all day, I decided to have a little fun with my nieces and nephews. Each of them received the following special delivery letter:
As you know (actually, you probably don’t know because no one visits me), I have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. Since I can’t take my money with me (although I have thought about doing just that), I have decided to leave all that I have to the person who contributes the most to the quality of my remaining life.
Regards, Uncle Lawrence
Just between us, the terminal illness part is a smidge misleading. Okay, it’s a lie. The way I figure it, though, I’m one day closer to death today than I was yesterday. Besides, I needed that line to get everyone’s attention.
So, after sending the letters, I waited with great anticipation.
Cara was the first to come groveling at my doorstep. She faithfully brought her identically dressed daughters every Monday afternoon, when they would dutifully perform a song and dance routine. My favorite was “Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam.” The girls certainly are precious. Laura, Samantha, Christy, and Jenny. (I call the little one Bubbles ‘cause when she sings, tiny bubbles come out of her mouth.)
Next were Nathan and his two boys. My yard never looked so nice. The grass hardly had time to grow before they were cutting it—again. And never a weed in sight. (I suppose they fired my regular gardener—I never asked.)
Wesley has written some self-help book and he sent me a personally autographed copy. He even mentioned me on Oprah. Guess I’m famous—sort of. He called me his “favorite Uncle Larry.” (My name is Lawrence, not Larry.)
Katherine owns a fancy-smancy bakery. I’ve seen it featured on the society page of the local paper. (I don’t read the society page—I flip by it to get to the obituaries.) Katherine sends me a fancy-smancy dessert every week—wrapped in a pretty pink box tied with a white string. The treats are mighty tasty, but I can never finish them by myself. I’ve tried to share with Cara and the girls, but she says they don’t have time—always running to dance or music lessons. And Nathan’s boys won’t even come to the door—say they don’t want to “bother” me.
Mandy is the manager of some la-di-da restaurant downtown. She has one of the delivery boys bring me dinner three times a week—complete with salad and bread. Too much for one old man to eat. When I’m the final stop on his route, Tommy, the delivery boy, comes in and shares supper with me. He lives down the road a piece. He used to be my paperboy. He always brought the paper to my door because he knew it was hard for me to walk to the end of the driveway.
And lastly, my youngest nephew Ray. He’s been my insurance guy since he graduated from City College. He used to talk to me twice a year, when my premiums were due, but since he got the letter he’s been calling every week. Says we need to “reevaluate” to stay on top of the “changing situation.” Just how often can we “reevaluate?” And how “changing” is the situation? I’ve been a dying old man for years. Same house. Same car. Same everything.
So there you have it. My nieces’ and nephews’ feeble attempts to get on my good side...win favors with me…lay claim to good ole Uncle Lawrence’s riches.
But they don’t get it, and they aren’t getting my fortune. I don’t want to be entertained, or served, or nourished, or sweetened, or “reevaluated.” And I certainly don’t want fame.
I want someone to care about me. I want someone to break bread with me. I want someone to choose to spend time with me. Someone like…Tommy.
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