The Markham’s



“If there is one thing I learned, it’s that history repeats over time. You know, Dulcie, there’s something our family carries and passes on to their children. We just seem to be doomed to have misery, desperation and just plain ol’ misfortune. I know it’ll be tough having all of us under one roof, but, hon it’s just two days.”

Rose made Dulcie’s bed hospital style, rolling her over to one side of the bed, tuck the sheets, and then roll her to the other side, smoothing and tucking as she finished. She kept talking not pausing as she worked. She knew Dulcie wouldn’t mind. She hadn’t moved or spoken since she had a stroke in 2013.

“This has been the oddest Fall we’ve ever had. I looked for the leaves to change in October. Here we are slap dab in the middle of December and leaves are still hanging on. Remember we had the windows open last week, and this week we need the heat.”

Rose’s intent was to entertain Dulcie and try to soothe her. She had been in a silent snit since she told her she had invited the whole family for Christmas dinner. Well, who would have thought they’d all say yes. The last time they all showed up was mam’s funeral in February of ’91. Vultures! They came thinking the sisters would stand silently by and let them strip mam’s home of antiques. That was before Dulcie’s stroke. She was the oldest and always was the one to take charge. Rose laughed to herself. I wish someone had filmed the reading of the will. No one thought mam would leave a will. Mam left the sisters, her daughters, everything, lock, stock and barrel.

At first, one or another of mam’s siblings called or wrote letters pleading their case over one piece or another. Uncle Bill’s lawyer sent a letter reminding the girls as the oldest he was next in line for inheriting from the estate mam left her children. The muttering and dismay heated up over time, and everyone stopped talking.

Twenty-two years. It didn’t seem that long, thought Dulcie as Rose left her room. Rose always referred to the alcoholism that effected members of their family line as the misfortune or the misery. It was the reason their father disappeared in ’51 when Dulcie was 11 and Rose was 4.

Rose had a streak of kindness that dominated her. Her wish for a big happy family never materialized. Dulcie prayed that this Christmas would prove different, at the same time she feared it was a wasted prayer. This week would be the test.






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