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THE POST-LADY’S RETIREMENT PARTY Eventually I had to swit h the !

la e "a # on a$ain and %esto%e &y will to live' (o% I was ve%y low and u%$ently needed to "elieve I ould on)ue% the $%ie* and su%vive' So I th%ew a !a%ty *o% ou% !ost-lady who was %eti%in$+ and delive%ed the invitations "y hand' The !ost-lady le*t a &essa$e in &y lette%-"o, to say I &ust "e &ista#en - it was so&e othe% !ost-lady and ould not a!!ly to he%' I went to the Post O**i e and "e$$ed the& to !e%suade he% to o&e' I didn’t #now any othe% !ost-ladies I said+ and all the nei$h"ou%s we%e o&in$+ in ludin$ a $uest o* honou% - an old lady o* ninety-th%ee who was leavin$ he% house *o% the *i%st ti&e in yea%s+ and *o% who& I’d a%%an$ed a s!e ial !a%#in$ !la e outside the $ate' I invited the Ma "eths+ who didn’t a!!ea%+ "ut it was a su ess anyway' The%e we%e "un hes o* olou%ed "alloons all down the lane' .a%s d%ove u!' Nei$h"ou%s "%ou$ht a#es and too# ove%+ *o% lea%ly I was in o&!etent' And hel!less' Possi"ly ho!eless' /ut e%tainly ha%&less' And this was a $%eat %elie*+ *o% they #new what to do' They #new how to have a %eti%e&ent !a%ty *o% a !ost-lady and went to thei% !la es' It was "e o&in$ noisy' Rau ous even' Then a&e the a%%ival o* the !ost-lady he%sel* who was on*idently di%e ted to !a%# in the s!e ial !la e a!!ointed *o% the $uest o* honou%+ and eve%yone hee%ed he% ent%an e and a!!lauded loudly' She &oved in li#e a %e$i&ent+ with he% a#es and "ottles and wine "o,' (o% she too #new how to have a %eti%e&ent !a%ty *o% a !ost-lady' I loo#ed on da0ed' La%$e &en %oa%ed and lau$hed "oiste%ously standin$ in $%ou!s %ound the "a%' It was an e,!losion in a 1oy *a to%y' S&all wives nestled $lea&in$ at ea h othe% in $%ou!s %ound the tea-ta"le' Peo!le who hadn’t s!o#en *o% yea%s *ound they $ot on a*te% all and too# !hotos whi h they sent ea h othe% a*te%wa%ds' Then the $uest o* honou% a%%ived in he% a!%on and "ed%oo& sli!!e%s+ ve%y su%!%ised "e ause she thou$ht the !a%ty was on Sunday - /ut it is Sunday we said - and she was delive%ed st%ai$ht into the $ateway with !lasti sho!!e%s !ut down so he% sli!!e%s would not $et wet2 and she loo#ed al&ost as da0ed as I did as she sat a&on$ the a#es and the $lea&in$ ladies %ound the tea-ta"le' Then all the &en disa!!ea%ed and a&e "a # a*te% twenty &inutes s&i%#in$ ons!i%ato%ially and loo#in$ shi*ty - they had "een tou%in$ the holiday otta$e sea% hin$ *o% a &an unde% the "ed - And I suddenly dis ove%ed I had a lot o* *%iends' It was a su lane to olla!se and sh%ivel into %a$s'
3*%o& SHI4A’S DAN.E "y E' 5' 6a%d'7

ess' It was the "est %eti%e&ent !a%ty *o% a

!ost-lady I had eve% "een to+ and it too# th%ee days *o% the olou%ed "alloons down the