Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Organ Music And Flowers

I went to the wake of a funeral director today and there were a few of her compatriots standing around; the others were planning to gather that evening. It was tastefully done, as these things go; in this area (perhaps elsewhere ... who knows?), wakes can be events you approach with some trepidation.

We often have the easels with photos from infancy through grandparently days, occasionally appearing to include every photo the family could dig up from World War II back to baby clothes. One such included a photo of the dear departed mooning the camera.

The contents of the casket always contain the deceased; whatever else might be there can vary considerably. Toys, little gifts from the pets, bottles of whiskey, even the Departed laid out in a baseball uniform. Some caskets are so filled with trinkets that it looks like a tag sale and you can hardly see the Guest of Honor.

One time, a woman was sitting halfway down the room chatting with friends while another, dressed in black, was weeping at the head of the casket. The Weeper in Black was the mistress; the wife was there more out of form than any other reason.

When my father passed on, our closest family friend was sitting in the crowd, a dead ringer for Dr. Kevorkian. Some people I knew came in and expressed their condolences; I pointed to the friend and said, "I'd like you to meet his physician."

Another person said, "He looks so good." I said, "Yeah; any better and he wouldn't be here."


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