Barn boards, two old lawnmower tires, and a very tarnished urn: these were Dara’s new purchases from today’s garage sale extravaganza. Dara was thrilled. The barn board was the most important; she would use it to make frames to display her artwork. That was what supplied their bread and butter, after all. She had two paintings which would be ready for the end-of-the-summer auction, and these boards were the perfect colour to complement them.
The old tires were spares for the second-hand lawnmower her husband had just inherited. She did not know if they were even usable, but then that was Jack’s problem.
Finally the urn, well it was the perfect size and shape to fill that empty spot on her bookshelf which had been mocking her for a long stretch now. However, if it cleaned up nicely it might be just the thing for the fireplace mantel in her bedroom.
“Tea,” she exclaimed loudly as she walked into the kitchen. “I need a nice cuppa to fortify me after today.”
Jack’s voice mumbled from behind the softly rustling newspaper; she could see his half-moons sitting just on the tip of his nose as he peered at the print. “Who’s that come in with you then?” he asked vaguely.
Dara looked at Jack, then behind her at the door, to see as if someone had actually followed her in. “No one’s come in with me,” she said.
Jack went back to his paper grumbling, “Ah, how am I to know that eh?”
Dara shook her head, and thought, my man’s going daft, he is. She poured herself a full cup of tea from her mother’s large biscuit-coloured pot which forever sat ready on the table. The dark brown tea was warm, not hot, perfect for drinking. She took a good swallow, then another and sighed. “Oh that’s just what a body needs.”
Oh, it had been so good to see the look on that Magda Sullivan’s face when Dara had beaten her to the table and snatched up the urn first. The old biddy had become almost apoplectic with rage at having been bested. Dara swore she could see hairpins popping out of that tightly trapped mane. Well it was about time someone put Mrs. High Falootin’ in her place.
“Who’s that now?” she asked swinging back in her chair. But when she looked around, the door was closed, and no one stood on the mat. I’m getting as bad as that man, she thought. “Jack, I swear someone was standing right behind me.”
Jack just rustled his papers and gave a small, “harrumph.”
“Well I’ll be needing my loop,” she announced after the tea had been drunk. “I thought I saw some marks on this urn. Oh and won’t that Magda Sullivan be some mad if it turns out to be stamped silver.” She smiled at the very thought.
After a quick search the loop had been located, the silver polish and rags had been retrieved, and the day’s task had been sorted. Dara spread the thick polish over the metal and began to rub away years of tarnish.
“Oh Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,” she exclaimed. “It’s stamped with the castle and the mark of the Bucks. Five hundred years old it is. Silver it is for sure,” she chortled and giggled as she continued to rub.
“Tell your friend to stop casting shadows,” Jack said. “I can hardly see to read the print.”
Dara looked at her husband and raised an eyebrow. “Jack Ryan, I do believe you are losing your senses. Don’t be daft man, there is no one here.”
Then suddenly, as if the idea had occurred to both the Ryans at the same time, they stared at the urn. “Well don’t just stare at it woman, pull the stopper and let a body see in,” Jack said.
Dara’s hands shook as she struggled to get the stopper out. And sure as potatoes grow in the rich Irish ground it was full of the ash of a dearly departed. Dara and Jack both crossed themselves at the same time. It looked as if Dara had brought home more than just a good buy.
Image #1: “Urn 2,” by FlickrDelusions. Creative Commons Flickr. Some rights reserved.
Image #2: “Gramody’s Ghost,” by Gramody. Creative Commons Flickr. Some rights reserved.