Books by Paul Francis Mc Cann
Web Site: ABC Tales
The story of a man who after buying a teapot finds his life is turned around .
After Tom and Irene were married four children arrived into their lives . Their children were much loved and the focus of everything that mattered most . Eventually the children grew up and found partners then left the home to begin a new life with their own children . When the children left the house Tom and Irene felt lost and alone . Tom continued to work in his job and Irene continued to work in the home . Things were different now for them both .
After Tom retired from the workforce he found it difficult to live at home with his wife Irene .
Irene and Tom were not used to being together all day and after a while little arguments had begun .
Irene was uncomfortable with Tom being around and it stressed her out to have him sit around and watch her do the daily household chores that she had always done while he was at work .
Tom had come to a point where he couldn’t adjust to retirement and knew he had to find an interest in life to keep him occupied and to get Irene off his case .
He offered to do the weekly shopping for them both and Irene was glad for him to do that as it got him out of her hair for a few hours .
Tom decided to take up art and joined an art class where he could get away from Irene and her moods .
Gradually things began to improve between Tom and Irene . Tom had discovered the hidden artist and Irene had reclaimed her lady of the manor identity again .
After a year into his retirement Tom had found happiness and an escape with art . He had built his very own art studio in what used to be his tool shed and it was in there that he worked on canvasses for his art class and also for himself and a few people who appreciated his talent .
His creativity often came in moods and during those moments he would either finish works in progress or begin new works . Tom would always have three or four unfinished works going on at the same time .
Now Irene had a new problem with Tom . She couldn’t cope with him being in the shed all the time and never adapted well to him being an artist . It was very frustrating for her to cook dinner and him not coming when he was told . Toms creativity as an artist had now drove a wedge of separation in their relationship . But it was easier for her to put up with his absence in the home than to have him under her feet all day .
Since Tom had reinvented himself as an artist he never spoke much anymore to Irene and she accepted that situation because it was convenient for her .
Once a week when Tom did the shopping he enjoyed rummaging through the second hand stores looking for props and subject matter for his artwork .
One morning as Tom was going through items in a charity store an old teapot covered in dust sitting on a shelf . It had a story to tell and he was drawn to it like a magnet . Taking a closer look , he saw the price sticker on it and all they wanted was fifty cents so he took it from the shelf and paid the lady at the front of the shop .
In all the time Tom was painting Irene had never shown any interest in his works or in what he was doing . Tom knew Irene had once collected teapots and thought maybe he could impress her with doing her a teapot on canvas .
It would have made Tom so proud if Irene had hung just one of his art works somewhere in the house . Maybe the teapot piece could be the one .
His first thought was to put some soil and then a plant into the teapot and paint that image on canvas for Irene . Then he thought of using the teapot as a focus point for a work that portrayed a small group of ladies having high tea on the veranda of a country home . Another idea was place the teapot with some cups in a gazebo in the middle of a rose garden . The thing was Tom had too many ideas and couldn’t make his mind which one to choose .
He put the kettle on to make a cup of tea and used the new teapot . As he began to pour out the tea from the teapot he found the spout was blocked . On further investigation he discovered there was a small paper scroll wrapped in a plastic bag that was jammed into the spout of the teapot . He used a small quirk stick and prod it until it was dislodged . He took out the scroll from the plastic bag and there was a message that read .
Hello . My name is Timothy and when I was alive a great desire of mine was to make some one happy . Now after my death I’ve asked a friend to do a few things for me one of which was to leave some of my belongings into a second hand store where you have probably bought this teapot . From this day my friend your life is going to change . I am the last of my family line and with no one to leave my wealth to I have left it to the hands of fate and you have been chosen . Underneath my statue that stands outside the national art gallery I have buried a strongbox and the contents of which are yours . Enjoy what I have left you and be happy .
Mr T Potts .
Tom was dumbfounded and ran into the house to tell Irene . She thought he had made the story up . He was adamant that he never and she could see that he was serious . Both were convinced that something very special had come their way . They didn’t waste any time and went to check out the Art Gallery . They booked a room at a hotel in the city as it was about three hours drive and it would surely be dark by the time they arrived .
In the early hours of the morning Tom and Irene walked around the grounds of the National Art Gallery and noticed there were a number of statues around the building but eventually they found the one they were looking for . It was the statue of a man sitting at a table with a cup in his hand .
There was a plaque with the name Timothy Potts - Patron of the arts 1886– 1956 ; and a small inscription read
“Art is a gift we leave behind for others to enjoy Be happy with your gift “
It was the first time since Tom’s retirement that he and Irene had stood together holding hands . They looked at each other and smiled .
Now there was a big job ahead and Tom basically had to come out of retirement it get things done . There was a statue to move and a strongbox to find .
He booked the hotel room for another week and a half then he started to make some phone calls . After getting a ball park figure he hired some equipment . Then contacted an employment agency for a person with the right attitude and the skills required to operate a mechanical digger and a small crane .
After getting a list of people who had applied for the position Tom did the interviews and eventually he found the perfect person for the job . His name was Harry and he had just recently got released from prison . All Harry was interested in doing was getting back on his feet and saving some money He was desperate for work .
Tom explained the situation to Harry and told him of the strongbox . Harry agreed to do the job . Harry and Tom disguised themselves as engineers from the water company and placed some signage around the site that some excavation work was to be done .
As soon as the equipment arrived and Harry operated the levels of the small crane and lifted the statue of Timothy Potts from its base . With a few gentle movements the statue was given a temporary spot nearby . Then it was time to smash up the concrete base where it had stood before any digging could commence . A tipper truck was hired to remove all the broken concrete and then in an area as wide as the statue had been sitting a large hole was made and slowly digging began . Tom stood and watched every bucket load of soil that was taken from the site . It didn’t take too long and after a few moments Tom waved his arms in the air and shouted .
“Ok Harry . That’s enough stop there. “
Harry turned off the machine and waited for further instructions .
Tom got into the pit and grabbed the strongbox . He placed it on the ground and rang Irene to tell her the news that he had found the box .
She was somewhere in the city shopping and found it difficult to hear a word Tom was saying .
He told her he would try and ring her again later on .
As Tom opened the lid of the strongbox he saw a large envelope . Inside the envelope was a letter and a key . He read with haste what the note said
“ Well done , so you now have the contents of the box . The key you have in your possession will open the door to the cleaners room which is situated on the basement level of the Art Gallery . When you are inside that room look for a gold key on a yellow key ring . It will be hanging on a hook on the wall just as you come in the door . This key will open the door to my home which is now your home . The deeds to my home have all been prearranged with my solicitors to who ever presents this key . All the rest of the details of what you need to know will become clear when you have picked up the key .”
Tom instructed Harry to fill in the hole and put construct a form to pour a bed of concrete where the statue would be placed .
Harry went to work and Tom went inside the art gallery to find the cleaners room . Once inside the gallery he located a map of the building . He made his way to the ground floor and walked around looking for a way to the basement . Timothy Potts had made so easy . A statue of him pointing to a door in the corridor left little to be confused about . When Tom opened the door he reached for a light switch and switched on the lights . In front of him was a staircase . He descended slowly to the basement where he found the cleaners room .
He opened the door and felt for a light switch . Then he saw it hanging there , on a hook , just where Mr Potts had said it would be a gold key on a yellow key ring .
Tom looked around the room , but there was no other information to be found .
He put the key into his pocket and left the cleaners room making sure to lock it up . To his surprise sitting there on the staircase was an old man dressed up in what appeared to be cleaners overalls . He stood up and walked over to Tom who was a little nervous . Tom smiled but before he could speak the man in the overalls said ,
“Hello my name is Andy , I’m the cleaner around here . So may I ask you who you are .”
“Hello Andy . I’m an artist . My name is Tom . “
Andy nodded and checked his watch then said .
“Well I’m pleased to meet you Tom . So have you got the key then ?”
Tom went through his pockets and produced the cleaners room key then he said .
”Is this the key you mean Andy ?
Andy shook his head cautiously .
The light on the basement ceiling began to flicker on and off as he said .
“I really must get that wiring checked Tom . Its an old building . I’ve been here for many years you know . I can still recall a man by the name of Mr Potts . He gave me this gold key on a yellow key ring and paid me well to look after it for him as he told me that one day someone would come to the gallery and move his statue and that person would start digging up the ground and that person would also make his way to the basement and take a certain key from a hook on the wall inside my store room . I’ve been watching you all day Tom and to be honest I was starting to think Mr Potts must have been a little eccentric for his time if you know what I mean . But true to his word here you are .“
As if he was struck by lightening Tom stood there for a few moments before making any response . He produced the gold key from his inside pocket .
“Is this the key you mean Andy ?”
Andy replied .
“That’s the one all right . That’s the key to his home which is now yours including everything that is there within . I have a letter for you with the address of the home and all his solicitors who are waiting for you to contact them .“
Tom took the letter from Andy’s hand and asked .
“How well did you know Timothy ?”
“ Well Tom the thing is , no one really knew him . He was a bit of a recluse . After his sweetheart died in a car crash he never left his home much . He donated many rare works from his private collection to this gallery . He told me all he ever wanted to do was make someone happy . He had thought very carefully and put together a plan that would carry out that legacy after his life was over . I am proud to have been part of that process and now I have now done my part . You my friend are the new owner of his home and all the property within . “
He reached out hand and Tom shook it saying .
“Its an honour to have met you Andy .”
Andy smiled and continued .
“Now Tom , I don’t think you’ll be needing the cleaners room key any longer so if you wouldn’t mind .”
“Of course .“
Tom handed back the key and made his way to the staircase . Tom climbed the staircase to door at the top and turned to wave good bye to Andy but he had already gone .
Once outside the gallery he rang Irene to tell her the good news . Then he made his way to see how Harry was going .
Tom was impressed the soil was levelled and put back into place and he had started putting the formwork in place ready for concrete to be poured.
A week later Irene and Tom were in their new home . There were rooms filled with art treasures , rooms that had been set up for little children , rooms for sewing , even a studio for painting that was perfect for Tom .
Tom and Irene were so happy in their new home and had regular visits from their children and grandchildren .
By Paul McCann
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