Inheritance & Divorce

I need no excuse for a knees-up. When celebrations and fetes are mooted, my sense of wellbeing enters a special kind of high gear – be it a Sunday lunch on the on hand or civil banquets at the other end of the intimacy spectrum. I need a sound reason to turn down a wedding invitation. None has ever presented itself.

Perhaps not till death parted them

You’ve heard of the fellow in the White House. In the year I was born, the occupant of the White House was Lyndon Johnson. Mr Johnson was the life of the party. Lyndon was a fellow of charm as to be described thus: ‘when Lyndon went a party, the party would catch alight – not in the direction the hosts intended, but the gathering would catch fire’. Few anywhere or of anytime could match LBJ for charisma – in any sense we care to understand the word. I fear, as party animals go, I’m not anything a Firestarter like as Lyndon Johnson was. Nevertheless, I like a party.

It would take dropping a nuclear bomb to keep me from a wedding.
I’m known in certain parts as a grammar-nazi. It wouldn’t do to overplay one’s hand. However, few things wind me up like when like those who talk of wedding as if it were a synonym of marriage.

Olivia, was in one of these on-again, off-again relationships. One spring, I picked off my doormat, an envelope containing an elaborately embossed exemplar of ornate calligraphy. Olivia was getting married. In no one’s thinking was he the man of her dreams. You’ve seen his sort on the radio.

I need no excuse for a knees up. The wedding was a grand gathering. The wine was fine. The bride was, as to have been expected, radiant.

In the haze of hugs, smiles and kisses, I met Mary – Olivia’s mum. It’s a tale as old as time. It’s such a hackneyed phrase in relationships, I hesitate to relate it. Mary had doubts as to her son-in-law’s suitability. Not many years have passed since the festivities that beautiful summer’s day, but two things have happened.
Mary had been diagnosed of some dreadful ailment the afternoon before the wedding. An assignment of honour was being me copy-editor on her eulogy.
The lady was right, Olivia’s man proved his suitability. There was, as mushrooms follow the rain, talk of divorce. AS my mum always mused: ‘When someone shows you his true colours, don’t change him.’. This fellow gilded his unsuitability.

In the talk of the divorce, he asked for half. He asked for half of everything. He asked for half what Olivia would have inherited from her mother. What an onanist! He wanted half.  The small matter that the old lady had paid for his wedding put no shame in his breast.

In the final analysis. He got nought. That his fellow was a gold digger was apparent to Mary. Everyone saw he was just after free money. His sister wondered how he managed to persuade anyone to accept a ring from him. Mary had seen him coming. Mary had intuited he’d make a claim on half her wealth. Mary had arranged her affairs such that her daughter and future generations of her family would get her wealth. Gold-diggers including divorcing spouses would whistle.

It took me a day’s draughtsmanship, but Mary’s wealth is out of the hands of onanists in the manner of divorce claimants and their like. The wedding was as a fine celebration. The marriage was the embodiment of brevity. Mary’s family retain their wealth in perpetuity.

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