Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Just an average day

Today was a late funeral. While most are done in the early morning, some are in the afternoon. So, I got there a little before noon to start lining up cars for the procession. Most of the family was already there and lined up for me. So at that point, I figure that it's going to be an easy one for me. So the representative from the funeral home went inside to do whatever it is that they do while I'm standing out in the cold.

Twenty minutes after noon, I start to realize that I've got 3/4 of the parking lot filled and I've still got 40 minutes of people arriving. And the cars keep comming. One after another. By 12:30, I'm on my last row available and my lot for people not going in the procession is FULL. I've got six cars in the driveway awaiting my direction. So while I'm talking with a driver, I'm dialing the funeral home up on my phone. The wind was starting to pick up and causing all sorts of noise on the phone. After a few unheard cries for help, I yell into the phone, "I need Bob out here now!" He came rather quickly and we had to stop traffic on the street, back the people out of the driveway and have them pull onto the grass of the empty lot next door. Meanwhile, people are still coming.

By 1:00 I had cars everywhere I could think to put them. If I could have started a second layer high, it would have been done. Inside, there were people everywhere. This woman had a lot of friends and family and they all wanted to be there. The night before at the visitation we had almost 200 people sign the guest book. At today's funeral, every chair, all 375 were filled and people were standing.

By the time we reached the cemetery with the procession, we realized that the funeral going on at another home in town, had just gotten there before us. It too, was a large one. The guys at the cemetery were panicking. In a snap decision, we decided to go graveside, instead of at the chapel. Mind you it's the last day of November and the clouds above look like one of those movies where they show a bunch of clouds moving in, in a sped-up motion. So the winds were kicking off the shore of Lake Huron and the rain is starting (coming in sideways of course). Umbrellas are collapsing in the wind and high heels are sinking in the mud. We had our favorite reverend going with the flow. He really is amazing. Nothing seems to bother him. And to look at myself or the funeral director, you wouldn't think anything was wrong at all today. Just another average day in the funeral business.

By the time I was on my way back to the garage, the weather had taken a turn for the worst. Those rolling clouds had turned black and it looked like it was night time despite the actual time of 4pm. It was all I could do to keep that 22 foot long Cadillac on the road with the winds blowing from all direction, seemingly all at once. Somehow, I made it through it and now I am home safely. The sun has just set and a gentle rain is falling outside my office window. The Christmas lights that my husband strung in the pines outside are all lit up and glistening in the rain. My dog, Pugsley is nestled at my feet and all is right with the world.

I'll take a knapp now and then head off to work at the drug store.
I challenge anyone with an eight hour a day job, to keep up with me.


Jabacue said...

You win Stew!!
It was almost comical, if you know what I mean. This could be a movie sketch.
I really like your writing.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

It's good that you can see the funny side of it all, it reads like something you would read from a Monty Python sketch :)

Hesta Nesta said...

Well done for getting through what could have been a disaster!! It does rather sound like a Brian Rix farce though, or a Dave Allen sketch!! My goodness you do work hard. Love the sound of the Cadillac hearse, bet it is a beauty.
Jo xx

AJ-OAKS said...

Now that was quite the challenge and adventure all rolled in to one! I am exhausted just reading it. :)

Coop said...

What a vivid story, Stew.

I saw LIGHT BLUE funeral vehicles today. That's a first.

Stew said...

It really was, just an average day.

And Coop, my first hearse was light blue. What a pretty car that was. My reasoning for it was, this is one of the last memories that you'll have of your loved one. Each hearse after that, has always been dark blue (our entire fleet is dark blue now). And the interior of each has been what matters most to me. You'll never see me with a black hole of a hearse to slide grandma into. It's a beautiful, well appointed and lit vehicle to transport her to her new home.
That's just the way I roll.

sophie...^5 said...

You had me all the way to the end. What an amazing time you have. Would never have expected this kind of thing happening...now I can rest.