I was standing in the front yard of my mother's house talking to her neighbor who graciously gets Mama's mail everyday for us. This lady, who I know but is not a close family friend walked up and interrupted us. "When y'all start dividing up your Mama's things, I want that table that used sit in your Grandmama's kitchen. You know the one she kept her spices on." I was clueless. Instead of saying, "Have you lost your ever love'n mind?", I politely asked her, "I'm not sure I know the one you are talking about. I don't remember one like that in my Grandmama's kitchen."
"Oh, yes you do." And, she proceeded to describe the piece in detail and tell me where it sat in my Grandmothers fairly large kitchen. I was still reeling from her audacity to, first, interrupt my conversation with Mama's neighbor, without as much as an 'excuse me', and secondly, demand a family piece of furniture. "Well, Gail (I did know her first name) I really do not remember the piece you are talking about and it is not here. And, even if is was, why would you want to buy it?" "Oh, I'm not going to buy it. You're going to give it to me."
"I don't understand. I don't think we are kin. And, Mama never said a thing to me about giving you anything. And, if you think she left it to you in her Will, well you're out of luck there, because as best we can tell, she did not have one." "Oh it's nothing like that. I have an order from a judge for it." With that she pulled out, what looked like an official 8 1/2 by 11 inch envelope with a local judge's name (whom I recognized) written on the front in a very ornate old fashion way in fountain ink. "Here it is. He signed it. The piece is mine. Now where is it?"
Pulling out the contents of the envelope, I told her, "I don't have it and I really don't even know what you are talking about." Sure enough, the letter inside stated that she had the rights to this piece of furniture and that we were to turn it over to her immediately. But, it did not explain the provenance of her ownership or any relationship to either my mother or my grandmother.
I wasn't about to invite her into the house, for fear she would lay false claim to some other random piece of furniture. Once again, "Gail, I can read what the judge said, however, if we don't have it, we don't have it. I'm sorry. If you want me to go before the judge and discuss it with him, I'll be glad to do so." She just stood there and glared at me.
Before, I could say anything else, I heard, "You better get up, it's after seven." It was a dream - no, it was a nightmare. Thank God, I was beginning to think my name was Alice and I had been at a Mad Tea Party with the March Hare and the Hatter.
Later in the day, I had an email from my office in Richmond, "Gail called, would you please return her call at 803- . . ." Maybe, maybe not.