Wherever the Road Leads

Today’s Family

Or Lack Thereof

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is reporting the story of northern Ontario grandparents who are being sued for child support for their grandchild. The headline reads:

“Mother sues her daughter’s grandparents for $760 in monthly child support, plus $47,000 in back pay.”

The wording seemed odd to me from a family and relational standpoint. While the wording was not inaccurate, it was a little misleading, glossing over a detail or two. Should the headline not read,

“Mother sues her in-laws for child support”?

But it appears that this will be the first time anyone in the family has been in front of a Judge, a Justice of the Peace and forget about a preacher.

Conrad Hunter and Denise Deforge of North Bay. (Erik White/CBC)

The story goes on… “Denise Deforge and Conrad Hunter will be in court Friday to fight a claim that they should pay $760 a month to the mother of their 10-year-old granddaughter.

She (the young girl’s mother) is also seeking $47,000 going back to when the girl’s father, Deforge and Hunter’s son, died in an accident in 2013.”

I can’t find any further information about the case, or the name of the mother of the young child but I’m going to re-word the headline and am willing to bet that I’m not wrong.

“An unwed mother is suing the unwed parents of the now-deceased man who sired her illegitimate daughter.”

However, who put the money-grabbing witch up to it? I smell a Gloria Allred wannabe in the background.

I realize that I’m painting with a very wide brush, but I tell people down here that no one in Canada gets married. They shack up. Then, instead of getting a dog, they have a child and when the relationship goes sour, the taxpayer takes over support of the ‘single’ – read ‘unwed’ – mother.

The summer before last I had the opportunity to watch youth sports in Toronto. There was a lot of basketball being played by a lot of teenagers in a former airport hanger that the city had converted into a multi-court facility called The Hoopdome. I soon learned the politics of the parents. Far too many were mix-n-match.

“See Johnny playing ball? Well, that’s his mother with the guy in the baseball cap and that’s his father with the woman in the pink blouse. The coach used to be married to the blonde doing all the yelling but she’s now with the guy beside her wearing the ear plugs.”

Additionally, half the people in the bleachers were white and the other half weren’t. It was really mix-n-match, and an eye-opening experience for this barefoot boy from the bible-belt.

Not that my own past doesn’t have its checkered moments.

I’ll gladly speak kindly of all the women with whom I have had relationships, except one. The Madwoman of Gatineau. My own fault completely. No one held a gun to my head but I was infatuated with this woman. I ignored every, almost daily, sign that she was trouble. Not the least of which, she knew more about Bail Bondsmen than my sheltered butt will ever know.

The Madwoman of Gatineau had moved from the French-speaking city of Hull – now Gatineau – Quebec to Atlanta in the late 70’s with her husband. Sort of. They never married, though they had a house and children together. At the time of the move, Canada recognized Common Law marriages. So did the state of Georgia. Georgia ceased recognition for those entered into after 1989; Canada seems to encourage them to this day.

Foolishly, I wanted to move forward with The Madwoman of Gatineau so I started to look into the legal implications. Her long-separated husband was a likeable fellow but had become a bit of a deadbeat. I didn’t want any of his creditors coming after his ex-wife and my money if we were together. I learned that there had been ‘common law marriage’ in Georgia but there was no such thing as ‘common law divorce’. Even after seven years of separation, she needed to apply for a formal divorce.

She engaged her own Gloria Allred, a real vulture willing to pick anybody’s bones, including her clients’.

There was a house involved. The Madwoman of Gatineau had told me that her ‘husband’ had approached her one day in the years past, giving her $40,000 cash with a promise of $40,000 more in order to buy out her half of the house. He asked her to sign a piece of paper he had made up. He had never come through with the promised $40,000 and The Madwoman and The Vulture now wanted to go after it, as well as the divorce.

In fairness, although she had been speaking it almost exclusively for thirty years, English was not the MofG’s first language. She called what she signed, ‘a piece of paper’. I imagined a hand-written statement on a piece of copy paper or a yellow legal pad. If she had said, ‘I signed a form’, I might have asked a few more questions. But I didn’t.

So in court when the judge said, “But Mrs. Madwoman, you signed a Quit Claim’…” he had to look up to see who it was from the gallery that had let out such a groan. Moi. Guilty. But not as guilty as The Vulture who had the Quit Claim in her file. Like the CBC headline, The Madwoman’s “piece of paper” was not inaccurate per se, but it sure did gloss over the actual significance.

Outside of the courtroom, I started to argue with The Vulture. The Madwoman banned me from future discussions.

Finally, I came to my senses. Thirty days later – after some prompting – she was gone.

I was well-rid of the Madwoman of Gatineau, just as the unmarried Denise Deforge and Conrad Hunter would be well rid of the conniving, ruthless, unmarried witch in their lives. Unfortunately, the illegitimate granddaughter is being used as ransom.

Perhaps if someone along the way had said, “I do…”

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