Monday, 16 December 2019

Theodore's Boxing Day

It had been a busy year for Theodore Luxton-Joyce the eccentric millionaire businessman and he hadn’t been in touch with Father Ignatius for some time. So it was a surprise for the priest when the phone rang early on Boxing Day, the day just after Christmas, and he heard the familiar voice.

“Is that yourself Padre?” asked Theodore.

“Yes … it is. Merry Christmas Theodore to you and Rose …”

“Yes quite … jolly good …” interrupted Theodore, “I was somewhat concerned at getting that other French priest on the phone. You know the one … you’ve had him visiting lately …”

“Yes … Father Gaston. He has gone back to Paris”.

“Jolly good I say … what? Never liked the French … Father Gaston being an exception of course … he was rather quiet and said very little … just as I like the French to be … what?”

Father Ignatius smiled and said nothing whilst Theodore continued totally unaware of what he was saying.

“Right … now that I’ve got you on the phone rather than that French fellow, I need you urgently to help me out! Terrible spot of bother … old boy … terrible I say!”

The priest frowned fearing the worst. “What’s happened?” he asked.

“Well … Rose and I had arranged a quiet after Christmas get-together for this evening and we’d invited the Mortimers … you know them? He’s a businessman working from the US most of the time. No … Of course you don’t know the Mortimers. Have you ever been to America Padre? I’m sure the Vatican has opened a few Branches over there …

“Anyway … back to the Mortimers. They’re over here right now for a few days … visiting family … that sort of thing … Rose and I thought we’d invite them for a spot of dinner this evening … Disaster old boy! Disaster I tell you!”

Father Ignatius smiled again.

“Well, as it happens …” continued Theodore never stopping to pause for breath, “the Mortimers can’t make it tonight. Jolly bad show don’t you think? We’ve got most of the food prepared and all … well Mrs Frosdick the cook and her staff have everything prepared anyway … And the Mortimers can’t make it for dinner. They’re stuck up North because of the terrible snow storms we’ve been having over Christmas. Totally snowed in and cut off from civilization and a drop of whisky I shouldn’t wonder!

 “So I thought of inviting the Hendersons … now I’m sure you know them Padre. They live about a mile or so from us, just up the hill. I thought I’d introduced them to you some time ago. Not Catholics you know … but decent people all the same. Better than many Catholics I know, I should say! Anyway … dash it all … they’ve decided to spend Boxing Day with the in-laws. Now what kind of nonsense is that? I tell you … Who’d wish to spend Boxing Day with the in-laws? It’s just like being in Purgatory I imagine … what?”

Father Ignatius smiled once more at Theodore’s continuous rant and wondered what all this was leading to … and then it came.

“Well Padre … as neither of them can make it tonight, I thought of you. Would you care to join us for a quiet spot of dinner this evening? We’re having a goose and Brussels sprouts you know … traditional fare for this time of year sprouts … and I’ll be playing the latest musical instrument I’ve mastered … the harmonica … much less stressful than the bagpipes. I can now play Chopin’s piano concerto on the harmonica as well as the pipes!”

The priest was amused at being the third choice as guest at the millionaire’s luxurious mansion in the country, but he knew that Theodore meant no malice by it.

“It’s so nice of you to think of me …” he said quietly, “but I’m afraid I’ll have to decline too. The problem is that this evening St Vincent’s Church hosts the annual Christmas Dinner and get-together for the old folks of the Parish. We bring them to the Church Center and Father Donald and I and a few of the nuns from the Convent prepare a Christmas meal …”

“Bring them along too …” interrupted Theodore with no hesitation, “we’ll make a party of it … we’ve plenty of room over here …”

Father Ignatius knew that there was little point resisting Theodore’s generosity and enthusiasm; so plans were hurriedly changed to reschedule the venue of the Parish Christmas Dinner to the mansion on the hill.

And so it was that about fifty people including the nuns from the Convent went to the millionaire’s house to enjoy Theodore’s and his wife’s genuine kindness. They all gathered in the grand dining room which had been festively decorated at short notice where they enjoyed the best food and drinks sumptuously prepared by the catering staff.

Theodore dressed up like Father Christmas to give each guest a gift and then he entertained them with a sing-along which featured him playing his repertoire of the classics re-arranged for the harmonica!




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22 comments:

  1. A new twist on the Parable of the Banquet! That Theodore certainly knows what it means to be a Christian.

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    1. Yes, although he is a little absent-minded he has a heart of gold.

      God bless, Kathy.

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    1. Often misunderstood. Yes, he is a cool character.

      God bless, Bill.

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  3. What a nice thing for Theodore to do.
    Was that you playing the harmonica?

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    1. It was me pretending that Theodore was playing the harmonica. I can't play it as myself though.

      God bless you Happyone. Keep smiling.

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  4. That must have been a very lovely evening! Theodore showed the true Christmas spirit.

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    1. Theodore is an eccentric rich character from my books. Based on an upper-class English/Scottish gent.

      God bless you Alexandria.

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  5. What a delightful experience for those elderly church-goers! I hope they never suspected their company was old Theodore's 3rd choice.

    PS - I enjoyed your harmonica solo. But I didn't catch what it was you said at the beginning? :)

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    1. All right Mevely ... you got me. I played the recording over and again and I did not hear me saying anything at the beginning. I got my techie guy to play the tune in slow motion and to check the visual sound wave you get on recordings. All we could hear was a slight click at the beginning. Possibly the click of the recording starting.

      Now please tell me. Were you joking? Or are you listening to another recording?

      Can any other readers hear anything said at the beginning?

      God bless you, Mevely. Please help solve the mystery.

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    2. So sorry you had to go to all this trouble! Nope, I wasn't joking. 'Just listened again (twice) and suspect you're right about the click. Well, that and I sensed you took a deep breath. Of course, there's always the possibility my old ears are playing tricks on me.

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    3. I'm sure your ears are OK, Mevely. It most probably was me taking a deep breath. Well ... me pretending to be Theodore, because I can't play the harmonica as myself.

      God bless you always.

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  6. He's the kind of person you want on your side. Precious story!

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    1. A good-hearted person. A character I enjoyed writing about in my books.

      God bless, Mimi.

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  7. I think that was a nice thing for Theodore to do :)

    All the best Jan

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    1. Yes, it was Jan. I'm glad you enjoyed this story. The sequel is tomorrow.

      God bless.

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  8. The perfect example of Christmas spirit and generosity. Only Theodore could do so with such elan!
    Victor, we are on vacation, and our Chrome book is not connecting. I may have trouble connecting with your posts for the remainder of the week. Love and blessings to you!

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    1. Enjoy your holiday, Martha. Wishing you a blessed Christmas and happiness and good health throughout.

      God bless you all.

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  9. Vatican has opened a few branches in America?

    Father Ignatius thinks fast. Great unexpected event.

    Excellent musical performance.

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    1. Thank you Susan. I'm glad you liked the character of Theodore from my books.

      God bless you.

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  10. Chopin on the harmonica! Haha. Theodore was in one of your books I read. Was it The Priest and the Prostitute?

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    1. Yes Manny. Theodore appears in The priest and Prostitute, To love a Priest, and in a number of short stories in the book Theodore - The Loveable Eccentric.

      God bless you and your family.

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