Why, oh why, did my European ancestors settle here in the south? It can only be that they got here in the fall, and enjoyed the gentle winter, nice spring, and were too entrenched to move once summer laid claim to the area. So, having worked a few horses today, I now am hiding indoors while the sun travels across the sky and am trying to find diversions to control my cabin fever and anger at the heat. Writing, painting, definitely not house cleaning, I will find something I am sure, but thinking cool thoughts isn’t working by it self and the air conditioner hasn’t stopped to rest in a week.
A young boy was holding the box and the dutiful preacher held his bible in front of his chest and the funeral began, somber words from the preacher spilling forth to the family to help them with the reality of Jimmy having moved on and the finality of the physical and the immortality of the afterlife, etc, etc etc. Finally when the preacher has said his fill, it was time for Jimmy’s ashes to return to the ground and the young boy was told to put Jimmy in the hole.
The kid approached the hole and very reverently positioned the box to line up with the cavity. In the box slid, and then stopped. The boy gave a slight push with his foot to encourage Jimmy to move on down, trying not to look inept, but was not successful at either. He gave another push, and then looked up for advice from the preacher. The box was hanging up on a bit of ground in this post hole and wasn’t looking like it was going anywhere, so the preacher walked over to see if he could help. After his pushes were also not working, more friends came over to see how many guys it took to stuff a fellow into the afterlife. After numerous attempts to stomp, shove, and cajole Jimmy to get his body buried, they had to pull the stuck box out to assess the problem. It was getting to be a very awkward moment, with Jimmy’s poor grieving family sitting there in tears watching this funereal chaos. Jimmy went in, and then he came out, then back in again, but still with no progress.
Finally, somebody got the silly giggles and their futile attempts to stifle their snickers got worse, and it was contagious. The moment was shattered and nervous laughter erupted onto everybody’s faces, even the preacher. Something was said about how Jimmy had always been the rebel and had never gone the normal path of life and he wasn’t doing it now in death and another round of deep laughter was set off and the mood of the funeral was lightened. Eventually one of the funeral home folks got a set of idiot sticks, a post hole digger, and cleaned the hole out enough to let Jimmy get six feet under. Dirt was thrown into the hole and Jimmy was at rest, finally.
Then the funniest flower arrangement I have ever seen was at my husband’s grandfather’s funeral. There was an easel holding a fluffy plaque to which was attached a pink plastic princess shaped telephone with the handset left dangling in the air. The floral writing on the thing stated the obvious, “Jesus called…!” Dad would have rolled over in his grave at the silly thing, but he wasn’t in there just yet, and quietly lay before us with a rather stoic face.
Now as I sort through the huge stack of papers my mother gave me to take to the funeral home to pre-purchase their caskets and services, I am looking through plot deeds and who is already resting in which slots, and how many bodies can be stacked where. My mother bought a large section of this graveyard many years back and we have room for a very large clan, and then some, with each slot being able to bury two stacked on top. There is rank even in death it seems.