Thursday, May 22, 2008

Friday Cemetery Blogging

Tryphosia always wore big hats. The kind that would make Dolly Levi's ostrich plumes droop with envy. Tryphosia was all about the hats.

Her first husband, Mr. Foster, always found them a bit pretentious. There was a lot about his wife that he found pretentious once the newness wore off of their connubial union. He wished she were content to stay at home and can vegetables like the other ladies in town. There were quilting circles and the Women’s Missionary Union at the First Baptist Church that she could be involved in. Surely that would have been enough for any good Christian housewife.

But it wasn’t. Not for Tryphosia. She dreamed of glamour and glory. She longed for the theatre - spelled backwards, just like that. Theatre was rather more grandiose than plain old theater, she thought.

When Mr. Foster died unexpectedly in a freak plowing accident – they didn’t even bother with a burial, the minister just said a few words over the cotton field (that year’s harvest was one of the best in local memory) – Tryphosia used the insurance money to lure a director straight from New York City to come out to the plains to direct the “Happy New Century Musical Extravaganza” that the Ladies of Agriculture Theatre Guild planned as their first civic consciousness-raising performance.

The young widow was thrilled when James G. Scarborough answered her advertisement in the New York Times. He actually arrived before the copy of the paper with her ad in it that she had mail-ordered did. He told the assembled ladies of the guild that he was fresh from his latest triumph on the Great White Way – a musical-comedy revival of Othello – when he read the ad looking for a professional thespian willing to undertake their directorial duties. His muse beckoned and he took the first train west.

The ladies were thrilled.

Tryphosia was enthralled.

The show was a flop.

Tryphosia wasn't particularly distressed by the bad reviews and poor attendance because, by the second week of rehearsals, James G. was sneaking ever so discretely through the kitchen door of her rambling farm house every evening after dark. The Methodist minister agreed to marry them on-stage, following the first performance of the show. Rev. Simpson was new in town, having been summoned by the bishop from somewhere back east. The ladies of the Women’s Missionary Union at the First Baptist Church mentioned this as they clucked their tongues at the thought of such scandalous behavior being legitimized by the presence of clergy. Thankfully their own pastor, a long-time local, understood the impropriety of the situation and refused to participate in such vulgarity.

Tryphosia and James lived happily ever after.

For a couple of years.

Then, James disappeared. It was rumored he left town immediately after a Pinkerton detective had arrived and visited with the local constabulary. Nothing was ever proved. Tryphosia appeared heartbroken and immediately indulged in a recuperative trip to Buenos Aires as a means of rediscovering herself.

A telegram arrived a few years later, reported to be from Tryphosia’s Argentine spiritual and legal advisor, which detailed the death of Tryphosia resulting from an encounter with rampaging llamas. The wire indicated that in her will Tryphosia left a substantial sum to the municipality which was intended for erecting a towering monument in the town square to the memory of the Scarboroughs. Rumor had it the Tryphosia had been with child when she left for South America, but nothing had ever been proved and the telegram was frustratingly silent on that subject. Further attempts at communication failed and no one ever knew for sure.

The Women’s Missionary Union was charged with constructing a fitting tribute. After much discussion it was decided that the most Christian thing to do was to erect a simple tombstone and send the rest of the money to widows and orphans relief in the wilds of darkest Africa.

And that’s what they did.

Happy Memorial Day! (Or as I like to call it - Amateur Day.)


Presbyterian Gal said...

Tryphosia and James are now bowing effusively to my thunderous applause and standing ovation.

and you have a big future in obituaries!

annie said...

Yes, but we all know that alleged child will show up any minute now (actually there were triplets born to Tryphosia--a cosmic nod to the hidden meaning behind her name) looking to claim the leftover spoils of the will that were not used when the Woman's Missionary Union elected to build such an obviously cheap memorial and subsequently elected to put the remains of the family fortune in their coffers where they hoped to be able to quietly move said funds into their own accounts, if only the darn triplets, Alphatry, Betatry, and Trytry had not shown up to claim the family fortune.

My regrets to the Women's Missionary Union on their great loss.

DogBlogger said...

So THAT's what happened! I'd always wondered.

SpookyRach said...

PG - do you think there's any money in obituaries?

Annie - BWAAAHAHAHA! Love it! I think you are onto something - definitely triplets.

SpookyRach said...

dogblogger - yep. Gospel truth, I tell ya.

Anonymous said...

Too good!!

jonboy said...

So ... not much to do at home on Thursday night?

C. Wright said...

Oh yes, I remember her well she was the one who always brought pea salad for funeral meals.

JenStar said...

Scandal...I always love a good scandal. It keeps the small towns hoppin'.

SpookyRach said...

Bunny - Thanks!!!

Jonboy - Shut up hair boy.

c.wright - not just ANY pea salad! Her's had parsley.

jen - sooooo true!

Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

And the parsley was from her garden. And she always took home the leftovers. crack me up.

Hot Cup Lutheran said...

that was a deliciously fun read... the beginning of a mini-series i believe.

zorra said...

Now that's the best thing I read today. Enjoy the weekend!

cheesehead said...


So damn good.

mid-life rookie said...

Tee Hee. I'm behind on reading this, but it was the perfect break in a too long in front of the computer day. Thanks for the entertainment. What's next?