Luther Sweeny called Bunny. "I hate to be the barer of bad news, but I just left Cordelia Wells' house. She is fairly sick."
"Oh, no," said Bunny. "How bad is it?"
"Well, Dr. Magill is calling all the family. I know you are not technically family but I will always put you with Harrison, and he adored her."
"So do I. What Can I do?" Bunny asked, remembering how supportive Cordelia had been when Bunny did not know which way to turn.
"Nothing right now I'm afraid. She called me to get her affairs in order." He paused and Bunny did not say anything. "Mercer gave her a sedative for today after I left, so probably it will not be until tomorrow before she will be up for visitors."
"Who is staying with her? I imagine she will need lots of help."
"She's OK for now, of course Pearl is there."
"Oh, I didn't think about Pearl (Cordelia's domestic help who had been with her forever). Of course, I'm sure she has that all under control." She paused. "Luther, thank you so much for calling me." Bunny hesitated then asked,"If something changes, please let me know."
Going down his list, Luther called Inez, Belva, even Tula to let them know that Cordelia was ill and that she had called him in to get her affairs in order. He called Harvey and left a message so he and Vivian would be aware of the situation. Luther was surprised and pleased that both Inez and Belva sounded both interested and concerned. Neither of them was known for their warm feelings for anyone, even family.
However, his biggest surprise was Tula. As soon as he gave her the news, she sounded distraught. "Oh, Luther, I knew I should have come to visit her last week, but I didn't. Is there anything I can do?"
Luther shared with Tula that Cordelia would be sedated for the next 24 hours and assured her he would let her know if anything changed.
"Well, I'm her closest kin and the one who should be with her now. Thank you for letting me know."
As soon as she rang off, Tula went straight to Cordelia's house. Pearl answered the door and Tula, in her usual manner, walked past Pearl, as she stood in the doorway before Pearl could even speak. "Why is it so dark in here? You know Cordelia likes the place to look light and sunny."
"Yes mam, but Dr. Magill suggested keeping it dark and quiet for now. He said it would be better for "Miss' Cordelia."
"Well, I beg to differ," Tula said as she walked from window to window opening all the plantation blinds. "There, that's better." With that Tula walked toward the staircase in the front hall. "I assume she is in her room?"
"Yes mam, but you cannot go up there right now."
"Who says I cannot go up there? I have just learned that my dear Aunt Cordelia is not doing well and I will not be denied the chance to visit with her." She took a couple steps. "And, besides, I need to make sure she is being cared for properly."
Pearl stood there, hands on her hips, and firmly said," 'Miss' Tula, Dr. Magill was very serious when he said he did not want her to have any company whatsoever until tomorrow afternoon and then only if she wanted to."
"Pearl, I'm not company, I'm family." And with that Tula turned and resumed her way up the stairs only to be stopped by a man's voice.
"Tula, Pearl is right. Those were my orders. Cordelia needs her rest right now. The last thing she needs now is drama." The 2 ladies turned to see Dr. Magill walking into the main hallway.
"Drama, you think I would be dramatic at a time like this. I just want to make sure my Aunt Cordelia knows that I am to here to make sure she has the best care. Come to think of it, Pearl, you can leave. I think it would be better if someone like me was here to see to her needs."
Pearl just stood there. She had seen Tula's temper tantrums, fits, and fusses over the many years. She was not intimidated. But before she could speak, Dr. Magill spoke."Tula, I am sure you want to help in any way you can. But right now, your 'Aunt' Cordelia needs rest." Dr. Magill looked at Tula. He added,"And since when did you start addressing her as your 'Aunt'?"
"She is my aunt, you know that."
"Of course I do, I just find it nice for you to start addressing her with some respect. Now come down here."
Tula reluctantly came down the stairs.
Dr. Magill continued,"In a day or two, she'll be ready for visitors, but definitely not today - even family."
Tula said nothing. Dr. Magill just hoped Tula would be satisfied until the next day. "I'll be going. Tula if you come back tomorrow afternoon, we'll see what Cornelia is up to."
Tula finally left. Dr. Magill consoled Pearl that all was well and she needed to continue just as she always had. Cordelia was lucky to have such a dedicated person. Pearl and Cordelia had been together so long.
The following morning Pearl just waited for Tula to show up. Sure enough she was not disappointed. At 8:30 Tula showed up ready to help. However, Pearl had to stand her ground thatreminding her that Cordelia still needed her rest. Tula left but assured Pearl she would be back. As she walked to her car, she called Marlboro and Sweeney. She made an appointment to see Luther Sweeny.
She drove straight there and waited - impatiently. It wasn't long before Luther Sweeny walked out to get her. Tula started, "I am concerned about Aunt Cordelia. Now that she is by herself and not doing well. I need counsel about becoming her Power of Attorney."
Luther paused before he said anything. "First, Cordelia is not alone. She is in good hands with Pearl and only a phone call away from Dr. Magill 24/7. As for her affairs, as I told you, Cordelia has already taken care of that. Part of her doing so was a new will and appointing a Power of Attorney." He laughed, "And since when did she become your 'Aunt' Cordelia?"
"Funny, she has always been my Aunt. Who did she name as her Power of Attorney?"
"I'm not at liberty to say."
This irritated Tula to no end. She tried to think who would Cordellia want to handle her affairs? Seriously, she said,"But I'm sure if she were doing better she would have chosen me."
"Well, she was of clear and sound mind and she didn't."
"So you're saying that there is nothing I can do?"
"Not, unless Cordelia changes her Power of Attorney." He looked at Tula sternly. "Why are you so concerned anyway?"
"I just care about her. Appearently, more than anyone else." With that, Tula thanked Luther and left determined to get this changed and quickly. She did not have much time.