Okay, to cheer us all up…
When my mother came out of hospital, we felt quite cheerful – only a few days earlier she had been very close to death, but a stent and a couple of litres of blood had perked her up no end. She, my sister and I coped with it best with black humour and there were a lot of funeral and cancer jokes – though that was between the three of us; when a quite close friend tried to join in the hilarity we felt it hit the wrong tone entirely.
One day, the phone rang. Mummy was in bed and Wink and I were both sitting in the elegant but not very comfortable Edwardian armchairs in her bedroom. Mummy picked up the phone – it was evidently someone wanting to send her raffle tickets to sell for charity. She listened politely and then replied “I’m afraid I’ll have to say no – I’m rather ill and only just out of hospital”. “We’ve got until December 17th before the draw takes place,” said the caller brightly. “Unfortunately,” said my mother fruitily, but with great kindness, “I may not have until December 17th myself.”
Embarrassed apologies and goodbye and the phone went down. All three of us fell about laughing. We were still chuckling when the phone rang again a minute later. Mummy picked it up and said ‘Hello.” A squawk of dismay and another apology from the horrified chugger, who had been so flustered that she’d redialed.
We nearly cried with laughter. For days later, one of us would recall it and snort again with mirth.