It’s not heaven when . . .

When Grandpa passed away, we were sitting on the veranda after the service and Aunt Katie, the black sheep of the family, asked,” I wonder if Alf in is Heaven or Hell?”

We all looked at her stunned and Dad reprimanded her in a stern voice, “Katie that’s not the sort of thing you say at a funeral! You shouldn’t speak ill of the dead.”
“Well, “responded Aunt Katie, as if thinking aloud,” Let’s face it, he was pretty rough on his wife. He was a heavy drinker, loved his rum, smoked like a train and he wasn’t slow to use the odd swear word either. He resented giving any money to the Church, the poor or any other charity. He sure as hell wasn’t an angel!”

That got us kids thinking and we pestered Mum for an answer all the next week. The following week was the school fete and there was a fortune teller there. We figured she must be pretty good because she wasn’t anyone local.  Finally, probably just to shut us up, Mum decided to pay $20 and get a reading done.

She came out of the fortune tellers tent about 30 minutes later, looking quite upset. Dad was trying to calm her down, telling her, “Come on Jane, you know it’s all a bunch of hokem. It’s all smoke and mirrors stuff with those ‘one-fits-all’ statements, like  ‘a tall dark stranger will cross your path’.  You can’t think it’s for real! Surely!”

Dad’s efforts weren’t having the desired effect, Mum didn’t look too convinced, so he decided to probe a little deeper, “Well did she say he was in Heaven?”
“Well no, not exactly.” Mum stammered.
“Then, did she say he was in Hell?” Dad asked becoming exasperated.
“Well no, not exactly.” Mum stammered.
“Well then. What’s all the fuss about?  What makes you think she even spoke to him? Why are you so upset?” He insisted.

“Well I knew it was for real when she said she had some obnoxious old man who was always asking for a ‘bloody Rum and Coke 50-50 no ice’ and was chain smoking cigarettes.” Mum replied hesitantly.
“Ok. So it sounds like him alright but what’s the problem?” Dad asked.
“It’s not what she said, it’s more what she didn’t say, that gave it away!” Mum said holding back tears. “They don’t tell you the really bad stuff.”
“I don’t get it. What didn’t she say, that’s convinced you he’s not in heaven?” Dad asked impatiently.

“He was chain smoking as usual and the cigarettes just lit themselves. He never once asked for his “bloody lighter”!” Mum howled.

About Mimenta

Originally a teacher from NZ with a farming background I came to Aussie in 1981, from a cold wet Auckland, straight into the oven they call Brisbane and a chook farm owned by a rip-off artist who sent us broke. I fought up from the gutter, lost a wife, a business and gradually got back onto my feet. Along the way I met some colourful folks and had some great adventures and grew to love this great wide land of laconic people we call Aussie. I found my greatest asset wasn't my education or qualifications - it was my sense of humour and ability to record and relate those little things in life that are so precious and make us what we are - True Blue Aussies
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