Friday, 15 October 2010

I was reading the dispatched column over

breakfast this morning. It is something I glance at each day because my father has reached the age where he is more likely to know the names in the dispatched rather than the hatched or matched columns.
One of the things our state newspaper does get right is to put all the names in one place and in alphabetical order. It saves the reader having to read down columns and past or around names which have multiple entries or exceedingly large ones.
Occasionally there is a little information in the brief column, a surname will appear with "Dr" or "Rev" or "Sr" or "Br" or some other appellation. This morning's column contained two of those. I also recognised the name of the former Police Commissioner and that of a teacher who had once been in the news for the wrong reasons.
If I wanted to go further I could perhaps guess at the age of the person by their given name. A "Vera" or "Albert" is likely to be older than a "Verity" or "Andrew" because the popularity of some names do vary over the years.
At the end I found a name I knew well. It is an unusual name. I was surprised as he had seemed fit and healthy when I last saw him over the weekend, indeed he had been striding it out with their small dog struggling to keep up. His wife, who normally walks the dog, was not able to do it that morning.
I looked down to the end of the notices. Yes, there it is but it is not him. It is someone with an identical name, a very much older person. He will be someone of whom people will say, "He lived a long life" even as they mourn his passing. The two men may even be related. I do not know.
I do wonder however what the man I know will think if he reads his name in the dispatched column this morning.


Anonymous said...

I think I would be very wary of undertakers for a day or two!

Judy B

Rachel Fenton said...

I should think he'd feel lucky - "there can be only one"..

catdownunder said...

It gave me a bit of a jolt so I just had to wonder what he would think!

Shandy said...

I had never taken much notice of "Dispatched" columns until my father died. Then, for some reason, I kept returning to them to see the ages people had achieved.

I've just been listening to the Radio 4 obituary programme "Last Word" which is always resolutely cheerful, featuring Joan Sutherland and Claire Rayner this time.