An Extraordinary Tip :: N2W 220626

Inspired by KL Caley’s #WRITEPHOTO Challenge to wite a
short story about her June 24, 2022, plane photo

“Good morning. It looks like you’re our first customer and with weather like this, you might be our only customer. Would you like coffee or tea?”

“I may have both, but my caffeine needs are well into the coffee range, so I’ll start with a big mug.”

“Here you go.”

“Ahhh – that smells wonderful.  Why is it that no one has yet to create a coffee scented perfume or aftershave?  Some mornings I’d tackle any man who smelled like a strong french roast.”

“Ha – that’s funny but I think I’d prefer my men to just smell either clean or like a lumberman. There’s something about the combination of sawdust and sweat that just makes me drool.”

“Oh my! You are a woman who knows her mind.  Bravo! Okay, can I have a buttery, small bowl of porridge, fried tomatoes, bacon crisp, and eggs over easy? I missed dinner last night and am famished.”

“I just had most of that for my breakfast before we opened the door. You’re going to love Alan’s cooking. If interested, he also makes a life-changing tattie scone. I’ll get this going for you.”

= = = = = =

“Oh hi!  You’re back. I don’t have a coffee-scented man for you, but the beans were freshly ground about an hour ago and the smell alone should be therapeutic.  Can I get you a mug?”

“Absolutely. I ran around most of yesterday on that breakfast and still regretted not trying that tattie scone. I’ll take the same breakfast as yesterday but switch out the buttery for the scone please.”

“Let me get your order to Alan and bring your coffee. This weather is keeping everyone else indoors. So, it might just be you and I again for breakfast.”


“This looks promising, you brought two mugs so maybe we can chat.”

“Well, you ordered one of my favorites, Alan’s tattie scones, so unless another customer walks in, it’s going to be you, me and those scones.”

“Delightful! My name is Rose. Your name tag says Shylah.  That’s unique. Is it your real name or work name? I’ve known some waitresses who don’t want to use their real names at work.”

“Oh, it’s my real name. I’m told that mum gave it to me, but neither she nor my father stayed around to raise me. Dad left us before I was born, and mum was something of a local legend around here, but she died, and I was raised by a foster mum.”

“Well, that’s too bad,”

“No, not really. My real mum favored being the legend. She may not have been cut out to be a parent and gave me up before my first birthday to a wonderful woman who gave me a great childhood that my birth mum never would have sat still long enough to give me.”

“Wow. That does sound, um, better. What was this legend thing about?”

“You must not be from around here. Everyone knows about, Kelly Ann Larsen the flying hospice nurse. Did you fly into town or . . .”

“Wait. Kelly Ann was your mum? — I met her in Aberdeen — must have been 22, maybe 24 years ago. She was the only nurse with her own plane and did the most remote patient calls. She was your mum?”

“Yep. That was her and now you must tell me everything you know about her. All I have of her are stories because I have no memory of her. I do know that she died out on one of those calls.”

“To your question, yes, I flew in and am combining some business meetings with a short vacation.”

“Then you must have noticed the weird black and white plane near the parking lot just north of the airport. After she died, someone flew the plane back here and they stuck it up on that pole as a memorial. 

plane 2 N2W

A lot of the families she worked with appreciated her flying the extra mile in that old plane to take care of their loved ones who were too remote for normal support. I wish I had the chance to know her, but I was a baby and needed a mum not a pilot or nurse.

“Ah – there’s Alan’s bell.  Your breakfast is ready. I’ll be right back with it.”

= = = = = =

“Hi Shylah. Does it always rain like this this time of year?”

“Good morning, Rose. I’m glad you made it back again. I went ahead and poured you a big mug. Breakfast?”

“Oh yes, but much lighter today. I can’t afford to replace my whole wardrobe which those scones and butteries might make necessary. I’ll go with just the fried tomatoes and eggs. What does Alan do to those tomatoes. They’re wonderful.”

“He dips them in a mix of olive oil, fresh ground pepper and herbs before dropping them on the grill. Not everyone around here likes them but, our more sophisticated diners love them. So – no scone today?”

“I need to back off on the carbs. They’re wonderful but . . . “

“Want to split one with me?”

“Oh Shylah – you are becoming one of those diet-killing enabling friends – but yes, I’ll allow myself half a scone but only if you warm it up and smother it in margarine, not butter.”

“Agreed. Let me get the order in.”


“Today, I want to hear more about you. What are you doing with your life? Are you married, any kids, career goals, which football team or bands do you follow?”

“Ha – none of the above, except career. Next fall, I start at medical school. It was hard to get, but I got accepted. I’m going to be a doctor, hopefully a surgeon.”

“Wow – look at you! Your mum must be so proud. Kelly Ann would be too.”

“Thanks. Mum is proud and brags about it to everyone at church. We don’t have much money, so there’s a big cost we’re trying to manage but we think we have a plan that will work. I like to think that I got my interest in medicine from Kelly Ann.  I just hope no one wants to put a plane up on a pole in my honor though. I still think that was over the top.

“Wow – Alan must have seen you coming. Your meal is already ready. Stay put and I’ll slice and warm up that scone for us.”

= = = = = =

“Good morning Shylah. Am I in the right town? I saw some sunlight when I checked out of the hotel and worried that I somehow got lost. This is a pretty place in the sun.”

“Hello Rose. I had to put in a special order for that bit of sun. It won’t last and the rain will be back before you can finish breakfast.  So today is your last day.  I’m sorry to hear this. It’s been so nice starting my morning with our visits and you can see, you’re still the first and only one here so are you going to let me bring you something you’ll regret later?”

“You are such a tease girl. Fine. I’ll fast for a week when I get home and run around in my sweats until I can squeeze back into my jeans. Bring on the scones, tomatoes, bacon, and eggs.”

“Coming right up.”


“Ooo – this smells wonderful. If I worked here, Alan would cause me to need a hospice nurse. “

“Rose, what can you tell me about my birth-mum’s plane?  Why did the adults at the time think it belonged up on that pole? That has never made sense to me.”

“Hmm, let me think – what did she tell me that might explain that?  Well, she learned to fly during the war and was one of the young pilots who flew new planes to the airfields where the RAF pilots picked them up and took them into battle. She flew several different types and I have no idea which ones.

“She got friendly with one factory manager where she also helped test some of the new planes and he ended up with one that was left as surplus for some reason, but when he couldn’t fly any more, heart condition or some such, he gave it to her. By that time, she was finishing up her nurse training and wanted to bring her nursing and flying together somehow. For nursing, she’d been drawn to palliative care and the hospice program because of its focus on comfort and quality of life by reducing pain and suffering. Some bright administrator was trying to find nurses who would go out to some of the more rural areas recalled someone telling him about this one nurse who had her own plane and viola the match was made, and a unique service was created. I recall that she disliked that particular plane because of some unique design features that only complicated how she used it. It also had a cranky aileron control on one side that never worked quite right.”

“Wow, Rose. I’d never heard any of this. So, it really was her plane and not one that was provided to her. This fills in so much of what I didn’t know. Thank you.”

“It was fortunate that the hospice folks took this project on because there was no way she could have afforded to maintain of fly that thing. It worked but was a money pit to maintain. They never did get that aileron to work right.”

“I’m going to have to look that up. I have no idea what an aileron is.”

“Oh; she told me that it’s part of each wing. It’s like a little flap that the pilots use to keep the plane level or help them turn.”

“Opps, the sun let someone out who wants breakfast, I’ll be back when I can.”


“Rose, I’m sorry.  As you can see, things got kind of busy, and on your last day, I was hoping to chat more.”

“Oh, dear girl; I so enjoyed meeting you and wanted to leave you a special tip.  Tuck this envelope away and read it when you have time. You are going to be a remarkable doctor.”

“Oh Rose, whatever this is, I’m sure you didn’t have to do this. I was pleased and fortunate to have met you and hear some of your memories of my mum. Did you include a way for me to contact you?”

“Everything you need is in the envelope.”

“Okay. Bye-bye Rose. It was such a pleasure.”

= = = = = =

“Hello and thank you for calling Kirkwood and Lassing Legal services. How can we help you?”

“Hi. My name is Shylah Larson. I was told to ask for Malcom Kirkwood.”

“One moment please.

“Ms. Larson, I can transfer you now.”

“Hello Ms. Larson, this is Malcom Kirkwood. I was expecting your call.  How can I assist you?”

“Thank you, Mr. Kirkwood, for taking my call – but I’m very confused. A customer gave me a letter you wrote, and I can’t believe that I understand it correctly. Did Rose, and, and – I’m sorry but I don’t even know her last name, but did she will me some money?”

“No. That’s not correct. She setup a trust for you.”

“Yes, your letter said it was a trust, but I don’t know what that is or means.”

“It simply means that, after we finish certain filing requirements and move the money to a new account, that you have 800,000 euros to spend on your education, living expenses or whatever you want to spend it on.  She was convinced that you did not need any limitations on how the money was to be used and is trusting you to focus on becoming the best doctor you’re capable of.”

“What do I have to do? I only met her four days ago. Why would she do this?”

“Rest assured Ms. Larson. There is nothing untoward about this gift or the money. She told me why she wanted to do this, but she also asked that I not burden you with the details but only assure you that this is fully legal and was done with a sound mind. You can freely use it for tuition, travel, living expenses, investments or donate it as you desire. It’s yours.”

“She seemed like such a nice lady. Can you at least promise me that she didn’t do anything illegal to get this money?  It’s not stolen, is it?”

“That’s a prudent question and yes, I can assure you she got this money legally; as a gift very much like the way she’s giving some of it to you. I understand that this must be extraordinary for you, but you have no cause for concern. She was given a large sum of money by one of her patients just over 20 years ago. I was the attorney who processed that transaction and 2 days ago, she contacted me again to help her make this gift to you.”

“Can I write or call her to say thanks?”

“We discussed this, and she would prefer that if you want or need to communicate with her that you do so through my office.  I don’t need to review anything. You could write as many letters as you like, send, or bring them to me (my office is only a ten-minute drive from your work) seal them in separate envelops and I’ll forward them without reading them. If she responds, I’ll make sure you get any response also without reviewing them.”

“Okay. . . . This is all so strange Mr. Kirkwood. I’m so curious as to why Rose would want to do such a nice thing for me and why she was fine walking into my work, having breakfast with me, laugh with me, but then step out of sight after giving me such a gift.”

“Her life took a nasty turn back before her own gift and she’s been a recluse ever since. Please try to understand. She’s not trying to be mysterious or evasive. She just wanted to do something nice for you and told me that she was sure you would make her proud.”

“Thank you, Mr. Kirkwood. I’ll certainly write a thank you note, but I may also resort to begging her to come back and sit down with me for a real meal. She’s lifting a huge burden off me. Perhaps, I could help bear hers.”

plane N2W

Photo Credit: KL Caley

GW bio card 4

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