Kay found the list in the shoe box, stuffed in with love letters and her sisters’ travel letters. Kay groaned. Poor Nonnie was gone, but the evidence of her passage on earth was crystal clear. Still.

The list was a menu and all the things her mother had needed for a dinner party. And she had kept it, like a treasured document. A simple hand written note with things for a fancy dinner. Shrimp cocktail and  sauce. (need cocktail glasses). Frozen corn, Harvard beets, mashed potatoes. Salmon. (8 pounds. Four inches deep. ten minutes per inch). Lemon Sherbet. Squares and shortbread. Tea. Coffee. Purdy’s chocolates.

She stuffed the list back in the shoe box, closed it and put it in a brand new black storage box with fancy handles and a leather trim around the lid edges. If she had to live with all this family archives,  at least she could have them in decent boxes, not cereal boxes, or liquor store boxes advertising Absolut.

Kay muttered to herself. “Obsessive. It really was obsessive. I couldn’t bear those days before an important dinner party when I was at her beck and call.”

“Polish this! Bring out the gravy boat and the pink dishes! Fill the salts and peppers! Count out the silver ware!” It was just too much!

She packed the big box on the top of the tall book case, two boxes high and sighed with relief. She’d look at that stuff again in a year when it wasn’t such a weight on her shoulders.

There were still two hours in the evening before her normal bedtime. Whistler was watching a TV show she didn’t care for. Besides, there was nothing she wanted to see.  She turned the light on at the computer desk and found a stack of papers she had left for a month. Really! It was about time she sorted through and ditched the bulk of it.

At first she tackled the accounts from the party. Kay and Lizbet had agreed to share the costs.Then she scanned her business card to send to the Valley Women’s Voice, a newsletter of a networking group she had just joined. To her dismay, she discovered that there was a printing error. The last name, Kerrer, had been spelled just fine on the top, but in the e-mail address, one ‘r’ had been left out. it read. So she fished out the receipt for the recently printed cards, scanned the card she had provided as an example and with Adobe Photo, red-circled the error. That done, she e-mailed to the company and asked for a replacement set.

Next she pulled out a pile of paper work and started to sort it. She threw out charity fundraising requests. Christmas was only two months away. They would all send new pleas for money in late October. Next on the pile was a ring-bound school book with ….

“ACKKKK!!!” Kay reacted in horror.


For the Nelson repairs – Soffits and Hornets; See what’s under the L/R carpet. Call D’Or Gallery. E-mail Fran. Electrical Pipes. Call Fortis. None of it had been finished. Kay had work to do.

The next one was:
Friday Breakfast – Everyone on their own

11:00 a.m. Lunch. Pizza and salad.

Tea – Menu – cheese plate and crackers, vege plate , salmon wraps, chicken wings

Sweets – Mango mousse cake, Lizbet’s squares, chocolate pound cake, cream puffs, Champagne.

6:3o Dinner at The Acropolis Restaurant, and the address.

It was obsessive! Bon Dieu! It was contagious! Kay had caught it from her mother ! Ack!!

Then there was the list for the Maple Ridge house:

Dinner with Ron; Call the Roofer; Date for the Piano Tuner; Write Diana in Mexico;Move the hydrangea bush; dig out the vegetable garden; call the handyman for the back stair railing; cut back the bushes from the roof;

Then there was the list for her art and writing activities:

Photograph pastels; make list of competitions; prepare work for the trade fair; mat photos; unpack the framing materials in the basement

On and on it went like some madness. Madness that had been inherited in the family for list, list, lists.

Kay ripped a sheet from the coil bound book and crunched it in her fist. It was just too much. Her whole world was run on ruddy lists!


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