Aunt Isabel Loved Orange

Aunt Isabel loved Orange. It was by far her favourite colour. Walking through Marks and Spencer’s, she’d swerve abruptly at the merest hint of an orange cardigan amongst the rails, and she’d been known to literally fight for the last box of orange matchmakers in Morrison’s at Christmas. 

We don’t know where her love of orange began, but we know where it ended. Perhaps it was pre-ordained that she would fall into the custard machine at work; a useful lesson on how to make orange for any budding artists at the Bird’s factory.

Uncle Tom said we should all wear something orange to the funeral to celebrate her life. I’m never very organised at the best of times, and I always panic under pressure. The carrot buttonhole was not a success. 

The service should have been a solemn affair; after all, we were all rather fond of Aunt Isabel, or Tango lady as we liked to call her. It started well, with lots of people wearing more appropriate orange tributes than mine, mumbling and murmuring to each other, but it quickly deteriorated.

Naughty cousin Beth had somehow managed to change the playlist given to the crematorium, which resulted in the coffin being brought in to Christina Aguilera and her friends belting out Lady Marmalade. And nobody had counted on Uncle Bert’s speech impediment. He’s a preacher who'd emigrated to Orange county years ago, and come over just for the occasion. Breathing heavily, his little orange head perspiring, he clambered from the pew and dragged his mass up the stairs to the pulpit, where he proceeded to remind us, with great solemnity, that the Lord “shitteth” on the throne. 

Whilst the rest of us chewed the inside of our mouths and tried to suppress our guffaws, the vicar, who seemed to have developed a sudden tremor himself, tripped on the hem of his frock and tumbled down the steps from the altar. On his way down, he knocked over a candle that proceeded to ignite the hem of Aunt Marigold’s orange polyester dress. She screamed - and screamed even more loudly when, with lightning fast reactions, her husband ripped it off to reveal surprisingly daring, and surprisingly orange, underwear.

With what decorum there was left to muster, the coffin was sent on its final journey through the orange curtain. It was quite a large coffin and I couldn’t help but wonder what they’d found to put in it. I half expected to be hit by the aroma of crème brûlée, but we weren’t. Maybe she was in tins. 

Rod Webb
Sep 13 2020

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