Well, they’ve done it, Bamford. They’ve really, really done it. The most detestable and disreputable branch of the Buckford-Westington family, the (I shiver to say it out loud) Peascotts have managed to completely leave behind any shred of grace, tact or dignity they once possessed. They have, as the ancient aphorism goes, stepped to us, and, well, it must not be allowed to stand.
Some backstory should be given, just in case our readers have not fully digested cousin Torvald’s extensive seventy-volume history of the family. The Peascott branch long ago left our ancestral mansion to go a-hunting on the Western Coast, engaging in all sorts of sordid trades such as beaver-trapping, gold-mining, saloon-brawling and, more recently, technological development. It seems they have built themselves an app, which you apparently access through your telephonical device?! Prepostous, Bamford. Stop smiling.
Which is, by itself, all well and good. We’d be perfectly content to allow the Peascotts their hip and tech-savvy nonsense as long as they stayed out in San Francisco, while we prayed for another earthquake to thin their ranks a bit, but they have now taken things even further, by DARING to come back to the Middle West and make some damnable and far-fetched claim to owning a piece of the family fortune! Specifically, the historical Buckford-Westing Auxiliary Trophy Barn Annex, here on the estate. They claim that the Annex is rightfully theirs, when it’s not, and further claim that they’re going to use it to “host” their site from it, as a “server farm,” which are frankly just a whole lot of words that I want nothing to do with, not a bit.
Obviously, it’s all poppycock, but the Peascotts are insisting, and so we have officially had to solve the problem in the historical way. Which means, of course, that we have enacted the Olde Historical Buckford-Westington Foofera Assuagement Protocols. Basically, it’s the Olympics for rich people, like us. And guests attend!
Picture it, Bamford. The Protocols in action for the first time in three generations. Blimp jousting. Butler fighting. Molten-gold skating on Lake Michigan. It will truly be a sight to see, and I’ll be sharing more details on the specifics in the upcoming weeks. But in the meantime, get your tickets now! That means you, Bamford, especially. About time you started earning your keep.
And bulk up a bit, won’t you? We may need you for the Money Pile Climb event.
I’m sure you’ve all heard by now. If the village crier didn’t catch you, you’d no doubt have heard the pealing of the ancestral Buckford-Westington bells. Recent remodeling required that they be moved into the squash courts, but rest assured, we pealed them all the same. Because the worst has happened, friends and family. The truest tragedy has struck.
Uncle Chucky is…is…dead.
(Did you write in the ellipses, Bamford? Just like we talked about? Good. No, don’t type this, don’t…oh never mind, I’m too upset.)
I can hardly bear to think about it, let alone have Bamford type it. A guiding light of our familial life, snuffed out well before his prime, at the ripe young age of 113, just weeks shy of his birthday. Of his party! The greatest party the city would have seen. It will now be a wake, alas. A dignified, and classy, and above-all stylish wake. (Be sure to buy your tickets!)
Still celebrate? Of course we still will celebrate. For we are not deterred, we Buckford-Westingtons. We won’t let death keep us from honoring the deceased. We won’t let mortality intrude upon our revels. We won’t let Uncle Chucky’s leaving us be an occasion for anything less than the grandest, most regally-appointed funeral in history! A funeral to do him proud, and maybe convince his barrister to let us take a peek at that damned will of his. We’re going to send that delightful old coot off right, don’t you worry, and you’re going to be right there celebrating with us because of course you are, because you loved ol’ Chucky, because you wouldn’t miss it.
Plus, we’ll probably have some festive birthday hats, because young Elson can’t locate the receipt and so we’re stuck with them.
We’ll miss you, Uncle Chucky. You’re singing with the angels now. The cantankerous, old, Irish lilting angels.
You know, Bamford, as we draw near to Uncle Chucky’s birthday, one gets nostalgic. Not in that bloated, heavy way that sets in after the sixth course, but in the wispy, wafty style, that drifts so gently over after the eighth snifter of port. Let me now elucidate you, and, through you, our guests.
The Buckford-Westington name is bound up in the web of time, and pulls the whole thing down with the weight of its honor (take that, time!). We have no “official” governmental coat of arms anymore, but what was taken from us by various war crimes tribunals has been made up for in gumption, glitz and glamour. Our love of family is the only coat we need, and it’s a warm one. Threadbare and moth-eaten, perhaps, with a few unpaid debts in its past and the faint, musky smell of scandal about the elbows, but certainly cozy enough to help us make it through the winters. (We spend most winters barricaded inside our mansion against the cold, so this is hardly a tall order, but do allow me my allusions.)
And good old Chucky’s birthday, so impending as it is, serves as a reminder of that love that we all share for one another. Oh, sure, we may not see each other as much as we would like. And, yes, there does tend to be an argument or five whenever we’re together. And, okay, Bamford, FINE, it may be the case that none of us have actually had much contact with Chucky in the last, I don’t know, decade or so, except through his lawyer, as all we inquired very tactfully about the state and contents of Chucky’s will (inquiries which, I might just add here, were always quite rudely and aggressively rebuffed). But what I’m saying, in the larger sense, the grander, nicer, richer sense of it all, Bamford, is that our Uncle Chucky is our family, and gondormit, family’s what matters. We may have had our differences, our turf wars, our petty felonies from time to time, but the name stands.
I mean, just look at these fine, upstanding attendees. They’ve RSVP’d, not just with their stationary, but with their hearts, and I for one can’t wait to see them. I’m sure that Chucky can’t wait, either, as he sits, all tucked away in his far wing of the house, staring into space and probably listening to folk tunes, or some such thing. He’s old and Irish, isn’t he? How do I know what he gets up to? The important thing is, less than a month from now, we’ll be together, all in one room, with all our friends, and Chucky’s friends, as well, I mean, presumably, one has to think. He never sent us down a guest list, despite my really quite seriously intending to ask him for one months ago. I’m sure they’ve gotten word by now. I’m sure they’re coming. I’m sure they’re lovely! They’ll fit right in, I just know it.
Because we Buckford-Westingtons are nothing if not welcoming. And in a scant matter of weeks, we’ll be welcoming all comers, to celebrate the life and times of a man who…well, epitomizes our family’s name. Even if he hasn’t used it in a while. Or been heard from. Or ever given any indication that he thinks about us, ever…
Pah. What matters is, he’s rich. And if you’re monied, you’re a B-W, eh, Bamford? Eh? Eh? That’s probably why you feel so out of place all of the time. Got to make your first million in these computatron bamboozles. Then you’ll feel right at home.
See you at the party!
You know, Bamford, I was thinking recently that the world might want to know more about birthdays in our family. No doubt that the world wants to know everything about our family, as storied, admired and monied as we are, but given the particular event for which we are all preparing, it might be a nice bit of the ol’ thematics for us to focus in on one particular, birthing-related side of Buckford-Westington history. We shall save the story of the family’s fabled grapefruit spoons for another day, perhaps.
Birthdays for us B-Ws are a chance to look back on our history, and revel in the jolly good sport we can have when you get us all in a room together with fine liquor. We put our pants on just the same as everyone else (or so I’m told; I’m usually reading or smoking while the family pants-servants take care of it for me), and just like everyone else, we do like a good party. Consider a few highlights of family yore, revolving around celebrations of spawning through the ages:
- 1793: The first Buckford-Westington to have a birthday party was Phileas Letterford, over two and a half centuries ago now. There were many Buckford-Westingtons before him, of course, but due to a long flirtation with various puritanical religions, they never quite “partied hardy,” as they say (at least not in public). Phileas’ was a moderate affair, and the man himself feeble; the locals fashioned him a cake to which it turned out he was allergic. Thus was the first Buckford-Westington funeral held, too.
- 1801: Marcifus Muriel Buckford hosts a small gathering at the Southern Lodge on the family grounds in Wisconsin. A game of spin-the-port-bottle gets slightly out of hand, and before you know it an entire square mile of the estate has been annexed by Spain.
- 1829: After 28 years of peace with the “Spanish Mile,” as the annexed portion of the grounds came to be known, Thelonius “Flibberjib” Westington uses the occasion of his own birthday to declare that family’s estate must be reunified. The attempt is repelled, however, when the residents of the Mile soak the ground surrounding their habitations, and none of the raiding party wants to get their good pants dirty.
- 1810: Floribel Isthmus Ignatia Westington finds herself locked in the wine cellar on her birthday. The family record books all insist that it was for a good reason.
- 1889: Gunther Magnanimus Buckford, having been born on December 31st and also fed some bad intel by a psychic, believes that the year is actually 1899, and puts together a massive birthday-plus-turn-of-the-century swimming party. Nearly bankrupts the whole family buying “20th Century” branded beach towels, which gives the residents of the Spanish Mile the chance to annex the entire South Wing of our mansion.
- 1914-1918: All birthday celebrations suspended while the entire Buckford-Westington family joins forces to overthrow the encroaching Spanish Mile empire. Finally succeed by standing outside of their windows at night making annoying noises. To my knowledge, it is the most notable world event of that time period.
- 1943: Due to rationing for the war, Helena Taylor-Westington-Silvania is forced to hold a birthday party completely devoid of rubber. The books don’t say what the rubber would have been used for, but apparently it really was an inconvenience.
- 1986-1990: a period of years during which, due to the recent family acquisition of a company that made 8-track players, every family birthday party featured a soundtrack of the same Steely Dan album on repeat. No one much had any fun.
- 2000: Gunther Magnanimous’ descendants decide to throw him a proper, honorary birthday-turn-of-the-century party, in honor of the new millienium. It is broken up by an ambush by the descendants of the formed Spanish Mile, who it turns out had been hiding out in the garden shed all these years.
Truly a storied history of birthings, deathings, celebrations and Spaniards. Although no Buckford-Westington birthday has ever had a guest of honor quite so old, distinguished, or mysterious as dear old Uncle Chucky! No doubt his upcoming celebration on May 17th will be one for the ages, eh, Bamford?
Don’t answer, Bamford. That was rhetorical.
Not many folks, family or otherwise, are familiar with Dear Uncle Chucky. I, for once, can’t ever properly recall any of our meetings. I am sure that they’ve happened, and always remember entering the room, but, well. From there the details are all hazy, cloaked in shadow…a mist of mystery. Possibly from all of the opiates, but who can tell these days, eh, Bamford? Nonetheless, Uncle Chucky is CERTAINLY real, and will CERTAINLY be having a birthday, and if you need a bit of background to get you through the cocktail chatter, well, we’ll be providing it right in this electrosuite on the regular from now till the party.
Bamford thought it would be good to begin with a moving-picture-talky-strip on Chucky, wherein he sits down for an interview about his life, his accomplishments, and his deepest, darkest dreams. Things take a turn, as you’d suspect, but I was frankly too amazed by the video contraption to be all that put out. They put buttons right on the video! Right there on the screen! It’s devil’s magic, I tell you. And I love it.
Why hello, good friends and family! I did not hear you enter into this electronium parlor. This is Hadley Buckford-Westington, coming to you all from astride the world wide internexus. Though I detest all buttons, nobs and switches on a normal day, it does behoove me to have that useless heap of hobrot, Bamford, use his jiggerbox for something more productive, just this once. He’s taking this all down as I shout it, while sitting in my easy chair and snifting loads of brandy.
Attention! I have news! News of the greatest, best, and most rewarding sort. Read on, dear chaps, read on!
On behalf of the Buckford-Westington family, and our globe-spanning wealth and graciousness, I’d like to cordially invite you to join us on Saturday, May 17th, 2014, in a celebration of the full and monied life of our Great-Grand-Uncle, Phineas Charlington “Chucky” Buckford-Westington. Dear Old Uncle Chucky’s turning the big one-hundred-fourteen, and we’ll be there to fete him in the style most befitting one of his iron-lunged stature.
“But Hadly,” You are saying, if you’re anything like Bamford, hunched up in his corner, caked with Cheat-ohs. “May 17th, Two-Thousand-Fourteen?! That’s oh so far away! However shall I while the time till then!” Well never fear, dear reader, never fear. We shall be using this very space, carved out of God’s own protons and electrons, to bring you whole kaboodles of helpful and, dare I say it, titillating information on a regular basis between now and then. You’ll learn all about the history of Dear Old Uncle Chucky, including how he amassed a fortune that’s impressive even by our standards, who in the family is in and out of his will on a daily basis, and just why exactly none of us have seen him in, oh, must be…thirteen years now? Twenty? Who can keep track these days; he’s all the way over in the South Wing.
Click the little doodagummy on the side, there, to subscribe your electromail to this site, and you’ll have it! If you’d rather, we can also have Bamford hand-deliver the updates, right to your door, but he’s pretty obscenely out of shape so I’d say skip it.
In the meantime, have a looksee at the other details on our sitespace, including times, ticket prices, specifics of the party, and so much more! And if you happen to wind up on the page for Sideshow Theatre Company, while you’re at it, well, it happens. We took those lovable theatricians under our wing three years ago, and now they just pop up from time to time.
There, that should do it for the moment; stay tuned for more updates posthaste! You do tune in to these things, don’t you, Bamford? Like a ham radio? That’s what I’d always assumed…
More brandy, Bamford! Onwards! Stop typing, this second!