An Infamous Funeral

I doubt that my funeral will be “infamous” like this one, mostly because I don’t have an estranged wife. This is a true story, I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. I actually know the family this happened to. And I say “happened to” because in a way they were victims. No one sets out to be the talk of the town about a FUNERAL, at least not people with pride and dignity. Its just not done. SO many things that “just aren’t done” happened that day. Its hard to know where to start. (It’s a little mean to laugh at other’s troubles, but they can laugh about it now so really we’re laughing with them, NOT at them :)

Mark killed himself, or was murdered. Depends on who you ask. Either one is an inauspicious way to go. The tongues were already wagging. Nothing to do but live it down. (Yes, it’s a small town that requires “living down” unseemly family behavior). If ONLY that were the end of it. Mark and his wife had been separated for months over her recreational drug use. His mother paid for the funeral, and all the arrangements to have him buried in the family plot. Susan (the kinda wife) was grateful to avoid the expense and aggravation. But, since they were still married and had children, his ever-so-naïve family tried to include her in the process.

It began simple enough when his mother asked her if there were any hymns she’d like played at the funeral. Susan, as far as we can tell, thought that ALL music could be considered hymns. His mother hadn’t ever heard “Free Bird” or “Stairway To Heaven” but thought the titles sounded appropriate. She turned in the list to the funeral home without consulting any younger “hipper” relatives. There they were … in the funeral service … a crowd full of conservative older southern Christians … the musicians launch into FreeBird. Apparently, they did a really bang-up job. Guess they don’t get many requests for electric guitar. It was not recorded for posterity because the large man doing the video-taping lunged down the aisle and ripped out the electricity while screaming, after the musicians refused to obey the first garbled “stopstopstop”. I guess they thought that the horrified looks on the faces were from grief. Things went downhill from there. Actually, things went “downtown” from there.

It seems that Susan (the kinda wife), who was on something at the time, decided that she wasn’t going to allow Mark’s coffin to be put into a hearse because “hearses are creepy”. I thought the funeral director was going to have a stroke. Afterall, she was technically the wife and therefore had final say. But, the body still had to be moved. Some negotiations later, Susan decided it was ok to move the coffin in a truck. Well, the funeral director only knew one person with a truck that was home. A quick call to the FD’s brother-in-law procured his new cherry-red Dodge Ram truck. At least he went through the car-wash on the way to the funeral home. They loaded the coffin in the back of the truck, and headed off to lead the funeral procession to the grave site. The crazy driver, probably under stress from having a dead body in the back of his truck, took a short-cut right through the middle of downtown! Can you even imagine! His mother went straight home and took to bed. Of course, no one blamed her. Everyone knows that things happen beyond our control. But still. It was a debacle the likes of which the town had never seen before or since.

Make Waves

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