Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Steaming out the Wrinkles

I don't consider standing in the near 100 degree heat to be sweltering in the sun. In my mind, I am simply steaming the wrinkles out of my suit.

As I'm sure you can tell by my absence, it has been quite busy around here. The business is doing well and I am now in my last week of working at the store. With my father needing more care and my sister still recovering from her aneurysm, my duties at home have increased. I am also working more visitations at one of the funeral homes that uses our services often. I've had a request from yet another funeral director to add to my fleet, with the promise of increased calls if I am able to supply her with a black hearse instead of navy blue. Now, the lease is up on the blue one in the spring. But since two of my main customers want the blue and they pay me for the fact that their funeral homes stand out from the others, I think I'll stick with blue for my main vehicle, when it comes to getting a new one. And as for adding another, I am not sold on if there is enough calls for having a second hearse sitting in the garage just yet. That doesn't mean that I've ruled it out yet though. We'll see what the numbers look like.

I wish I could share with you all the stories from the funerals that I do. Instead we are limited to some of the highlights of the things that happen.  Last week, we took a trip back in time, that perhaps should never have been taken. In the days of old, a funeral director would embalm the body and prepare it for viewing at the person's home. As the funerals became a more scheduled thing and the viewing time shortened, more people would show up all at once. In a small home, it could easily get overcrowded fast. For our little trip into the past, a family had requested that the visitation the night before and the funeral service itself be held at the woman's home of 46 years. She loved her small home and friends and family loved to visit her there. I don't know if people realize how big a casket is. Throw in a few flowers and the living room is half gone.

We set up chairs for the service in the living room, the adjoining dining room , in the family room around the corner and then we took out the front window and set up chairs on the front steps and lawn. The neighbors had no idea what was going on until it was already happening. And the poor people next door that share a driveway with these folks had just moved in three months ago and had never even met the elderly lady. There were cars everywhere! Because of the tight corner in the foyer area, we had to take the casket out through the garage door, where we had to take the door off the hinges to get it through. As we were passing it through, one of the key pallbearers was missing. He decided to go and use the lavatory before heading out to the cemetery. When he came out, he tried to use the same door as us, where the casket was being held by two of us (one on each end) waiting for his return. I had to object when he wanted to climb over. Instead we sent him around to use the front door. The garage itself was packed with all their furniture that they had taken out so we could set up chairs for the service, as well as all the usual garage clutter. So as we traversed the cluttered garage, there was a limited number of us carrying the casket until we got to a place where more could squeeze in.

Lesson learned: Don't do funerals at home, unless it's a huge house.

As I mentioned, it's been hot. I find myself seeking refuse in the shade of a telephone pole if need be. Just to get a little relief from the blazing sun. I do love the sun and the heat that comes with it. But I believe you should dress appropriately for the weather. I think if I can put a coat on over my suit in the winter, I should be able to throw a pair of shorts and a tank top on in the summer. I can still wear my tie if you'd like.
I'll leave you with that image and I promise, I'll be back soon.

Friday, July 13, 2012


To take this literally, 
This is St. Edward's addition to our garden this year.
It's a welcoming path that helps to bring many welcome neighbors and friends calling on those warm summer nights to hang out at our place, enjoy a cool beverage and witty conversation on the shady patio.

All are welcome. Stop on by and sit a while.

But to broaden this idea, let your colors show and your light shine. That's when you'll be adorned with gifts unimaginable.

We tend to forget the kind of car you drive, the brand of cloths you wear or even if you can throw a Frisbee.
(Yes Josh, you need to forget that.)
 But we forever remember the broadly smiling, animal talking, tree hugging eccentrics we befriend.

This weekend, put the "U" in Unforgettable.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Answer

It's so difficult sometimes.

We were not lining up to go to the cemetery on this particular service.
As a car approached me, I saw this attached to the front of it.

The driver pulled up beside me, put the window down and asked me
"Where can I park?"
Thinking it was a pop quiz,
In my head, I answered Oh! Jesus Christ!
But the words that came out of my mouth were "Anywhere you'd like".

Later inside, I saw that same person.
He asked me "Is that coffee for drinking?"
Another pop quiz,
In my head, I answered Oh! Jesus Christ!"
But the words that came out of my mouth were "If you'd like".

Just remember next time you ask a question...
Jesus Christ is the answer.
Have a great day.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hot Pink

She had a love all things equestrian. Her horse was her life. Any spare time she had, you could find her out in the barn or riding the trails and fields. 4H fairs were a way of life for her.

After an afternoon of horseback riding, the young, twenty year old girl and her boyfriend engaged in a little horse play of their own. Wrestling around like young folks do. It was a perfect day. Everyone was happy.

Without any warning or much of a reaction either, the girl and boy bumped their heads together. It was a pretty good bump, but no one thought much of it. An hour or so had passed and things had calmed down some when the young lady mentioned that she had a headache. A Tylenol didn't seem to help the situation and it only seemed to be getting worse. After a while, her vision was gone and she was starting to panic. Her body seemed to be shutting down. An ambulance was called. But by the time it arrived, it was too late. The young girl was gone.

In such a small town, the news traveled fast. The tiny church was packed to standing room only. Video monitors were set up so people that could not get into the chapel could see and hear the touching tributes to their friend. Her casket was adorn with ribbons that she and her horse had won at various competitions. Everyone in attendance was wearing her favorite color, hot pink. Some wore ties, scarves or headbands. Others T-shirts, skirts or shoes. Even hot pink shoe laces on one friend. The storms that ripped through our little town that morning of July 2, tearing up trees by their roots, did nothing to keep the grievers  away. 

Everyone was given the opportunity to say their goodbyes. As each one passed by her casket, you could witness the look of surprise, grief and disbelief. The process took over an hour for everyone to pass by. Then they all waited patiently outside by the hearse for the pall bearers to carry her out. They each wore a hot pink tie. On top of the casket was a beautiful display of pink flowers, with long pink ribbons streaming from them. One that read "Daughter". Another that read "Sister". And yet another that read "Friend" in golden script.

It was a slow procession. Her best friend followed directly behind the hearse, walking with the young ladies horse, adorned with hot pink chaps. Behind that was her boyfriend riding his horse and then her parents, each riding their own horses. Each horse with hot pink ribbons streaming from their manes. It was supposed to be a private burial for just the family, but our slow speed enabled everyone to get in their cars and follow behind. The police stopped traffic for us the whole way and the little cemetery was packed to capacity by the time everyone got there. 

In such a case, it is so hard for anyone to say goodbye. Someone chimed in with a fond memory and that started a long line of people wanting to say their favorite memory. If only this young girl could hear everything that her friends and family were saying", I thought to myself."If only we could all hear the good things that people remember about us, there would never be any sorrow. This girl's life was cut way too short. But she touched so many people during her time here on earth. We all do. You just never know what tomorrow will bring. So be sure to tell your friends and family what they mean to you. Enjoy each day that you are given.