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Remember friends, loved ones on Valentine’s Day

Remember friends, loved ones on Valentine’s Day
Remember friends, loved ones on Valentine’s Day
Dr. Wayne Willis

Evelyn Waugh, in 1934, wrote a short story, “Bella Fleace Gave a Party,” about a reclusive, elderly Irish woman who lived alone in an inherited manor.

Miss Fleace had a distant cousin in England who was her sole heir. She disliked Mr. Banks. He seldom visited her, and in his last visit he spent most all his time examining her possessions and speculating on their worth. He found himself especially drawn to a collection of rare, first-edition books.

After Mr. Banks went home, to spite him, Miss Fleace sold all those books for a goodly sum.

In her early 80s, she decided to use that book money to throw a once-in-a-lifetime bash, her last hurrah. She made a long guest list and had a Dublin designer fashion her a magnificent gown of crimson satin. She remodeled dated and worn parts of the manor. She planned the grandest, most ostentatious Christmas party that Fleacetownians had ever seen. She lined up caterers and hired a band.

On the day of the extravaganza, Miss Fleace woke up early, “feverish with nervous excitement,” going over mentally once more all to be done before 8 p.m.

When the clock finally struck eight, regally adorned Miss Fleace descended the stairs. Not one guest was there. Midnight came and went. Bewildered and crushed that not one invited guest came, she died the next day.

Her heir attended the funeral and spent a week sorting out her things. Among them he discovered in her desk, stamped and addressed, 100 invitations to the ball that never went out.

This Valentine season, Bella Fleace can stand for those lonely individuals we know out there who have few friends or family.

Consider sending a warm “just had you on my mind” email or valentine signed “With love.”