Grandpa phoned me back mid-afternoon. He was feeling much better after consuming two pieces of dry toast and a cup of orange juice. I wished for Grandpa’s sake that my Grandma Elsie could tell her family story, as it was her story to tell, but she has trouble remembering.
I asked Grandpa why Dieter’s wife would have hated Theodore, as they lived over 1,000 miles apart and had likely not ever met. Grandpa said that Dieter’s wife thought Theodore was after Dieter’s fortune. Dieter had done well in Washington and had amassed a rather large estate.
But Theodore and his family were quite happy living in Melville. Theodore’s tombstone business was thriving thanks to the lack of adequate medical care in Saskatchewan at the turn of the century.
When Dieter was on his death bed, he told his wife that the accordion should go to Theodore, as it was a family heirloom. When word came that his brother had passed away, Theodore sent his condolences. The wife’s reply simply stated that Theodore would not be receiving one red cent from the estate.
Theodore sent a cordial reply, stating that he didn’t want any money from his brother, but asked if the wife would be willing to part with the old accordion. Theodore said it contained some fond family memories, and it would mean a lot if she would send it to him. As Dieter had also bequeathed it to Theodore, she agreed, and the accordion was sent from Washington to Melville.
When the package finally arrived Theodore called the family together as he opened the package. He pulled off the string and brown paper and opened the box. There was the accordion, slightly worse for wear. He pulled the straps over his shoulders, ready to give his family a long-awaited concert. He pushed the buttons while expanding the squeezebox. The accordion huffed and wheezed, but it wouldn’t play.
The next day Theodore took the accordion down to the repair shop to see if it could be fixed. The repairman was stumped. The accordion seemed to be in playing condition. All buttons were accounted for, and the bellow’s pleats seemed to be without trauma. He wondered if there was something inside blocking the movement. The repairman carefully sliced open the bellows and a bundle of one hundred dollar bills fell to the table.
Grandpa laughed, “I’m sure his wife hadn’t accounted for that”.