Family Values (2)

“Michael, tell your mother what’s on your mind.” said Josephine Falcone. The light from the stained-glass window fell across her face as she continued her knitting.

“Nothing ma, nothing…You heard about Annette?” Desperate to evade the question, Michael knew the subject of his sister-in-law would occupy his mother for hours.

“No I can’t say that I have. Taken ill again, I suppose? She’s not what I’d call strong.”

“Ma, she’s having a baby,” said Michael. The grey-haired old woman looked up from her knitting. Her head appeared to be floating atop the black mass that was her dress. Her brows furrowed as she said, “Oh. How nice. I wonder how she’ll handle it though. You know, she can’t exactly handle herself.”

“If anything she’s over-qualified. That girl hasn’t got a bad bone in her body.”

“Oh no, Michael? Have you forgotten she promised to marry you? Have you forgotten how she threw you out like yesterday’s stale bread? Now look what you’ve got! That sister of hers…nothing but leftovers…”

Michael Falcone brooded. Josephine, with a smirk of satisfaction, continued her knitting.

***

As Mr. and Mrs. Frank Gardner sat down to breakfast, the telephone rang. Dutifully, Laura Gardner rose from the table and took the receiver off the wall. “Gardner residence. Who’s calling?” Mrs. Gardner’s voice had the cordiality of a spring day, with all the tact of a winter storm.

“Mrs. Gardner, it’s Louise Falcone. How are you?” Her voice was shrill and hurried, not exactly pleasing to the delicate ear of Laura Gardner.

“Oh hello Louise! What a nice surprise. What can I do for you?”

“I have great news! Annette is going to have a baby!”

At that moment, an odd sensation came over Laura Gardner. Filled with immense joy and intense confusion, she said, “Oh my God, I’m going to be a grandmother!” This caused Mr. Gardner to look up from his newspaper, now interested in what his wife had to say.

“Oh Louise, thank you so much for calling. I have to tell Frank! Goodbye!” she hung up the phone. “Frank! You’ll never guess–“

“Yes, I heard! I knew my boy had it in him,” said Frank Gardner proudly, “But why did she call? I think that might have been something they might’ve wanted to tell us themselves.”

“I thought the same thing. I have no idea. Then again, that’s how she is, always butting in where she doesn’t belong. I suppose that sort of thing rubs off when you marry into that kind of family.”

The Gardners stood in their bright kitchen and kissed as they had done a thousand times before. Devoted to each other, not even Louise Falcone’s gauche behavior would ruin their moment. How proud they were of their son, Redmond.

END

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