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Rated: E · Short Story · Other · #2045151
Short story about a family befriending an old lady

All Perplexed                    By Coral Boucher

The little family was perplexed ...... Why had Auntie Joan not called to see them today?
They had sat waiting for her to come just in time for afternoon tea.
She had always called in, rain, hail or shine. Her smiling, cheerful face was always a welcome sight. She chattered away, always keeping up with what was going on in the village.
We had never heard her actually gossip or to speak badly against anyone. She always adored Mum's Ginger Fluff sponge, and she just couldn't wait another minute to have a piece. It was like the cat which had the cream; she looked at the cake lovingly.

At the cream oozing from between the beautiful chocolatty cake.
She was almost drooling when she took that piece and the first bite.
A look of sheer delight lit up her eyes as she savoured in tiny mouthfuls, the rich gingery taste with a hint of chocolate then the inch of thick, slightly sweet cream exuding from the centre.

Mum always put a tiny teaspoon of castor sugar and vanilla, when whipping the cream.
Layered with the cream in the centre and a dusting of icing sugar on top.
It was bliss when you bit into the slice and the thick cream would ooze, seeping out and having us liking our fingers. So now we
had a plate and spoon to eat it with.
But..... Auntie Joan! Where was she? She had not phoned and Mum did not want to phone her in case she was resting and didn't want to be disturbed.
We were very worried though, and all of us said if she had not come by next week.
We had not been in her house, neither Mum nor we children.
We had met coming home for a walk with our two little dogs.
They were terriers and were always getting into trouble.
Rags and Rusty were jumping and chasing each other and jumping up on us, yipping and yapping and dancing around, when another little white puppy ran towards us, having slipped her lead.
As she gamboled with our two, a little old lady came running up to us.
'I am so sorry', she said. 'She got away from me.' I hope she hasn't been too much of a nuisance. 'Sit down Molly' she said. But Molly was having too much fun.

She looked at Rags and Rusty, ears pricked, head on one side, then looked back at Auntie Joan, back to our dogs and then she was off racing after them, having so much fun.

Auntie Joan, as she asked us to call her, just shook her head and smiled.
She was so glad to see Molly having fun.
We always met Auntie Joan every Sunday and Molly had the time of her life. Jumping and playing with our dogs. I think that our two enjoyed it too. Auntie Joan accepted Mum's invitation to afternoon tea.
Luckily Mum had made our favourite Ginger Fluff as it really turned out to be a real hit.
Auntie Joan said Molly had never had any friends to play with and during the week she pined for Rags and Rusty.

At Mum's encouragement Auntie Joan had started to call for a short time often during the week so that Molly could have a play.

They never stayed too long, just time for Molly to have her play and Auntie Joan to daintily eat her cake and sip her tea.
She had made so much fuss over the cake, exclaiming her delight at the flavours all melding together to make a cake fit for the Queen.
This week we had not seen her at all and we were very worried about her.
We asked the neighbours if they had seen her but none had.
Mum wanted to go around straight away in case she was sick or had fallen and needed us.
Grandma convinced Mum to stay home as we had never ever been in her house and didn't really know her well. A neighbor of Auntie Joan had seen her taking wood in for her fire. So Mum was persuaded not to interfere.

One day, as we were walking past her house, she was out in the garden and Molly was running around.
We said hello and asked her if she was alright and told her how worried we all had been about her as she had not even called even on Sunday.
'Well' she said 'I'm sorry you have been worried". She didn't have a phone and it had been extremely cold outside. 'I am O K. Just tell your mother I will call and see her tomorrow if it wasn't too cold or wet.'
The next day we ran home from school hoping Auntie Joan and Molly were still there.
They were not but Mum told us she had come and had not stayed very long. She had told Mum why she had not been to visit.

She had an older sister who lived in north Queensland who had been very, very ill, and not expected to live long. Auntie Joan could not go to see her as she did not have the money to fly there.
She had always tried to keep a cheery face, and hated to be around people if she couldn't keep that up.
Always working very hard at keeping that smiling face.
She had been so very worried and had stayed in the house in case a telegram came for her.
She would love to talk to Mum if she could come and see her.

Auntie Joan had been reluctant to have anyone at her house, but she asked us in then.
We looked around, as kids always do and saw nothing wrong with her house. It was very, very clean with not much furniture, just one lounge chair and two kitchen chairs, a table and not much else. So what?
Auntie Joan didn't have much furniture as she had sent all her spare money to her sister to pay medical expenses.
Mum said she would pop in every day or so, when Auntie Joan didn't come to see her.
Aunty Joan was happier now that she knew we would not criticize or gossip and she knew she could trust us.

This was the beginning of a very beautiful, long friendship between Auntie Joan, Molly and our family. One can never have too many friends.
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