Chapter Four

“Then you won’t be marrying my daughter.”

Beauty is only skin deep. Most of us only pay that old chestnut lip service, but George had become a firm believer after meeting May. They both loved horses, farm life, and each other. They even stopped noticing the wind, that’s how smitten they were. May’s mum was very happy for them, and when May’s dad saw how much progress George had made on the farm while he was in the hospital, he was chuffed with the new state of affairs too.

One night, he and George were in the lounge having a brew while May and her mum were discussing wedding dresses and bridesmaids and all that stuff woman find so fascinating. While they chatted away in the kitchen, the two men talked about the finer points of farming, politics and even the taboo subject of religion was broached.

May’s parents were good Catholics, as was May.

“You’ll have to give this Baptist thing up of course.” Said May’s dad.

“What do you mean?”

“Get confirmed, join God’s church.”

“You mean become a Catholic?”

“Yeah.” May’s dad had already talked more about religion than he was comfortable with, and was eager to get back to farming.”

“We’d better move the hoggets, they’ve chewed the grass pretty low, and I saw a few mushrooms in the bottom paddock.”

“But I can’t.”

“Aye? Is there something wrong with your dogs?”

“No, I mean, I can’t become a Catholic.”

May’s dad gave him a steely gaze.

“Then you won’t be marrying my daughter.”

And that was the end of the matter.

May and George had talked openly about their faith, and May was happy to follow Georges interpretation of the Bible. But her dad had drawn a line in the sand, and it might as well have been in concrete.

George was also a man of conviction, and as much as he loved May, he couldn’t compromise his faith either.

Everyone started noticing the wind again.

George stayed on, hoping the old man would change his mind and become his father in law, but he knew deep down it was never going to happen.

After two years he left the farm and a heartbroken May. But he soon came back, life without May and her horses was insufferable.

A few years later the old man started coughing. He was a heavy smoker and prone to coughing, but this cough was different. He began losing weight and even slept in some mornings. Everyone knew what it was, but refused to believe it.

The funeral was held on a bleak Saturday morning, not many people attended. May’s dad had kept to himself after the war. He’d had enough of seeing his friend’s die, so thought it best not to make any more.

Poor George was terribly conflicted. He didn’t want the old man to die, but now that he had, he thought he had the all clear to marry May. He didn’t know how to feel.

It wasn’t the right time to discuss marriage plans, so they weren’t, but the marriage was very much in the thoughts of George, May and her Mum.

The will was read at the solicitor’s office on a Wednesday afternoon. George was invited as it was assumed he would soon be family. Everything was left to May’s mum, no surprises there. On her death, everything was to be left to May on the following conditions. (1) She was a spinster or (2) Had married a confirmed Catholic. If she married outside the faith, the farm was to be sold and the proceeds given to the church.

May’s mum had the solicitor go over the will to try and find a loophole that allowed them to contest it. But it was well drawn up, and they were told they would only be squandering the few precious dollars they had.

By the time Sue and I arrived on the scene, May’s mum was long dead, and May and George were in their 70’s.

This will do for tonight. And be warned this story doesn’t have a happy ending, so maybe you should skip tomorrow’s blog.

If you haven’t read Lou and Len, have a look at that instead. It does.

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