195. Sylvia's list
© Bruce Goodman 23 April 2014

When widow Sylvia died, she left behind five grown sons and a daughter. She had pre-paid the funeral expenses. The remaining money was divided evenly by six.

When it came to the personal chattels, Sylvia had made a detailed list. Every little household item was carefully allotted to this child or that. Eleanor, for example, would get the cloisonné vase, because she had given it to her mother one Christmas. Shaun would get the huge screwdriver set, because he had given it to his father years ago.

“And,” wrote Sylvia at the bottom of the list, “by all means swap one with another if you wish. But no arguments.”

Five of the siblings were grateful for their mother’s carefully thoughtout list. But Carlyle, who couldn’t make it to the funeral, wanted his mother’s Irish linen table cloth. Not wanting to cause an argument, George gave it to him. And Carlyle wanted the Dutch oven. And Carlyle wanted the cuckoo clock. And Carlyle wanted… And who got the cake mixer? asked Carlyle. And why did you get the hand-crafted duvets? Can you freight me the lawn mower because mine’s old? I should really have the golf clubs; who else plays? The five stayed as faithful as they could to their mother’s wish not to argue.

But it takes only one to stuff things up. And Carlyle certainly knew how to do that.

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