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On Mary’s birthday, it is mentioned that the next family birthday will be Aunt Eleanor’s and she will be 100, so suitable celebrations should be planned.  Ideas for a lunch are deemed insufficient and plans develop for a big party at the nearby hotel with a large cake from the high street bakery, that is hoping to benefit from the publicity, as the local newspaper aims to cover the event.  Not wanting to surprise an elderly lady, Aunt Eleanor is informed although not keen on the plans, but the family carry on regardless.

The family apply for a copy of Aunt Eleanor’s birth certificate so they can apply for a birthday card from the King.  When the certificate arrives, the cause of Aunt Eleanor’s lack of enthusiasm is understood – on her next birthday she will be only 85.  Plans for the celebrations cannot be cancelled without causing embarrassment so it is decided that Aunt Eleanor cannot be allowed to reach her next birthday.  Clearly, murder is out of the question so an accident must be arranged.  Aunt Eleanor is encouraged to try a variety of dangerous pursuits, from parachuting to bull fighting, but unfortunately no accident occurs.  A reporter from the local newspaper arrives to interview Aunt Eleanor to get background for the report, but politely leaves when it is discovered that Aunt Eleanor has “gone”.

It transpires that Aunt Eleanor has not died, but eloped with her flying instructor.  It’s quickly realised that the wedding of such an elderly couple will be a great news story so the celebrations can go ahead after all.

A Birthday to Remember by Jane Wanless

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