• mrs. dansen •

• mrs. dansen•
Mrs. Dansen had called me on Friday. “I haven’t gotten your bill. I’m going to be leaving soon, I want to settle with you. I’ve got to get out of here.” She sounded like a voice from far, far away. Tired, I’d guessed. We all get that way, from time to time, God knows. Sweet old lady. Heh. Really, very.
“I’ll have it for you tomorrow, Mrs. Dansen. Thank you for calling me. It’s wonderful to hear from you.”
We had only ever communicated by sweet little short notes, back and forth, over the years. It was odd to replace that whisp of a voice to what I had been hearing in my head. A woman of fairness, and integrity, just as sweet as the day is long, Mrs. D.
Once, years ago, when her account had been switched from paying me directly to “Direct Pay” (as a result of some promotional for “great savings” to our customers), when I informed her that the reason it’s so cheap is because I pay for the papers I deliver, and that the paper gets paid twice for the same paper, but that my remuneration wouldn’t even begin to cover my expenses, she insisted her account be switched back to our previous arrangement, so that I could make a living wage. Over these many years she’s been sweet that way, Mrs. D. She couldn’t bear to think of it. I always respected that about her. Her sense of fair play.
“I don’t know when I’ll be leaving, but I’ll call you to let you know in a few days. How’s that, dear.”
“That’s fine, Mrs. Dansen,” I had told her.
“Too much snow, for me. You understand. Stay warm, if you can.”
I assured Mrs. Dansen that I would.
Yesterday, Mrs. Dansen’s daughter called me, saying she was placing the envelope out for me to collect it, this morning. There would be cash in the envelope, she told me. She wanted me to know it would be there.
She told me her mother had passed away yesterday, suddenly.
“It was quite unexpected,” she said.
~ Tim Burchfield
2/17/15

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