So Bernie and the bride lived a happy and prosperous life there in downtown Preston. Time went on and they married off their two uber-talented daughters. The elder one hooked up with a young lad who was going places at Electrohome, the TV and electronics manufacturer in nearby Kitchener.
The younger one hooked up with the milkman.
That was in an era when the milkman drove a horse and wagon round to your house every day to deliver milk and bread. Bernie and the bride weren't too keen on that match-up. At least Mr. Electrohome had some prospects.
The years went by. Each of those sacred unions produced five children. Bernie and the bride were grand-parents ten times over!
Alas, things were not what they originally seemed. That up-and-coming young fellow at Electrohome turned out to be a bit of a dreamer. Left Electrohome to chase a dream, then another one, and then another one after that.
The milkman, on the other hand, soon graduated from the milk wagon to a junior exec spot in the bread company whose product he'd been peddling from that wagon. It was a company called Weston's Bread. By the early '80's he was a VP at one of the biggest conglomerates in the land, and indeed believed himself to be in line for the presidency of the corporation.
By then Bernie was long retired from his sales route. In fact, that entire travelling salesman gig had pretty much faded into the mists of time. Folks who ran hardware stores mostly were attached to hardware chains by then. When they needed stuff they called head office, not some guy who visited once a week. The times had changed.
But life was good. Bernie and the bride kept up appearances. They were gentle and generous people.
Then the bride died.
Just like that.
From perfect health to deader than dead in a heartbeat.
It's always surprised me how everybody acts completely surprised when somebody well into their 9th decade kicks the bucket. What do they think is gonna happen? People get old and then they die.
When the bride died nobody was more surprised than Bernie.
He kept up appearances throughout the funeral celebrations. "Celebration" may be the wrong word, but you know what I mean. All the well-meaning relations bring in tons of cole slaw and potato salad. People you haven't seen in twenty years throw their arms around you.
We bade our farewells after the wake, promised to be in touch soon, and that was that.
Left Bernie to his own devices.
.... more soon.