Tuesday, December 16, 2008

update on the obsequies

Back again at my desk in good order despite ADVENTURES.

I got to the funeral home with about 50 copies of the Book of Alternative Services -- we had a congregation of 200. Staff at the funeral home showing minimal interest in helpfulness. Their hands in their pockets kind of DISCLOSED their essential attitude.

Got the books in, got them dispersed among the congregants, recognized the musician (AAAAAHHHHHH!!!)(have you ever heard a funeral-musician who could make even "Amazing Grace" sound like a torch song? And all the accompaniments sound like cocktail lounge stuff?)(on the other hand I've also done funerals assisted by the gentleman who sings the national anthem at hockey games in Prairie Metropolis....), climbed into the multi-layered garb, and ran the service.

Slightly unnerved but on the whole gratified to encounter a very large gentleman (using the term in the Pickwickian sense), formerly not unconnected with law enforcement, who shows signs of becoming A Fan. His presence in one of the front pews eased my fears that the estranged son of the deceased lady was going to show up and be stroppy.

And then we went up the hill to the cemetery. I decided against trying to drive Harriet, togged out as I was in cassock'n'surplice'n'hood'n'tippet'n'funeral cloak, so I let K, the young "undertakess", drive me, carrying the ashes in my lap, in one of the funeral cars.

The route is all uphill, and at the end there is a sharp right turn into the parking lot, by one of two entrances. K took the first we came to, also the STEEPEST, and being young and inexperienced she hesitated just for a moment, and there we were in the big old B**** of a Cadillac hopelessly stuck on the ice (no sand, no salt, no traction), and mourners piling up behind us not seeing the problem. And poor K so very badly wanted to swear, and couldn't...

Eventually people clued in, stopped traffic, let us slither backwards into the road and acquire momentum for the second of the two driveways. Success.

And it was only old-fashioned zero, and NO WIND (this is not in nature, believe me), and so all the mourners who were minded to, were able to come to the graveside without undue danger to their health.

A high school choral concert here this evening, and the final session of our Advent "Praying in Colour" group, and so home.


Terri said...

oh my goodness....what a day...

Mary Beth said...

Holy smokes!

You deserve a medal. Or a drink, I'll buy.