Friday, June 25, 2010

A Very Fine Funeral

I'm now in Boston.  I figured that if I changed flights to get in at the last minute, it would all go wrong, so I kept my buffer day and got in very early friday AM.   Instead of LAX-BOS, I had LAX-LAS-STL, drive to see family for 24 hours, then STL-ORD-BOS.  It was long, but bearable.  On my last segment, the gate agent even handed me a new, improved seating assignment as I boarded.

Flying into St. Louis, my brother's flight and mine were both delayed, his less so.  He picked up the rental car and some White Castle then circled back around to get me.  Getting in a little later meant we were driving in the dark after leaving the city.  But that worked out for us because there was a storm up ahead and we followed the lightning show all the way in.  This storm had more lightning in 4 minutes that I've seen in 4 years in LA.  Midwestern storms are not like coastal storms.  We stayed with my mom's mom and Pop, pulling up 10 minutes before the rain broke from the storm.

The storm broke the humidity so we had a very pleasant day today.  After a fine breakfast (thanks mom!), we eventually got out and about.  After my dad and uncle went to the lawyer's office, we had some burgers on the main square with fried goodies and drinks.  Our cousin's grandmother lives by the park, so we met our cousins in the very nice town park and realized that swings don't accommodate adult hips as well as they do children's hips.  Then they invited me to come over and go through grandma's jewelry. I think they've had a lot of it for a while - they stored most of grandma's things that didn't stay with her - and giggled a lot with the offer.  I remember grandma liking clip-on earrings and circle pins.  I had NO IDEA that she had a mardi gras party worth of costume jewelry.  So two of my cousins and I had a mini mardi gras hour, putting on layers of beaded necklaces and generally having a good time marveling at some of the choices with my brother taking pictures.  Some were creatively hand beaded, some were fads in their day, others were just grandma's taste.  I took the beaded necklace made on safety pins. My youngest cousin has the pop-bead earring and necklace set.  We decided to each wear some of her things to the viewing and all showed up in white beads with a colorful brooch.  They brought an extra necklace along for when their sister showed up about 15 minutes before I had to leave, and my brother had a tie tack from grandpa, so we got a quick cousin picture with our jewelry on at the start of the viewing.

Yes, it's called a viewing, but somehow I didn't really believe that they'd have her actually there for people to look at.  They did a good job, she looked rested and pretty normal.  The hairdresser was having fits because she'd recently cut her hair and it was too short to do much with: "I've dressed her hair for 40 years and she goes and leaves with this hair?  Aaaaahhhh"  The hair was fine, just not the finest thing.  The coffin lining was light pink with pink flowers embroidered on it.  She was wearing her good pink suit that she wore to my brother's wedding a few years back.  The funeral director thought she looked better with a hanky on her hands, and that was appropriate too, because she (and two of my cousins) had Reynaud's which made her hands very cold.  But we uncovered them a bit when it was decided that she needed her rubber finger tip on her right index finger and a pack of pinochle cards to go with her.  It was not my idea, but I wish it had been.

Thanks for all your well wishes, folks, they worked some magic. The first person to show up reminiced that my grandparents were the first people to welcome them to town when she and her husband were new.  Then a former student showed up and various friends and family, and I had to scoot out with my mom to make it to the airport.  The funeral, proper, will be tomorrow (this) morning.  It should be a very fine funeral.  I will miss not seeing more of my relatives, but I made a trip to see them last year after visiting the grandmas so I feel comfortable making the decision to absolutely be here, for certain, for the saturday wedding.

I may not have said so, but my friends over at New Door Knobs are tying the knot.  And I need to be there.  Here.

Some final words:
I'll need my aunt to fix this recounting later, but for now: Grandma woke from a nap a couple days ago, looked at my aunt and accused, "Aren't you dead?"  Taken a bit aback, she said something like "No, You?" "Almost.  almost."

My cousin took grandma out on the patio last week, in the sun.  She asked her if she was warm enough.  Grandma's reply?  "I'm one hot momma!"

There was an additional quip.  If I can get the story from the family, I'll post it too.  I had forgotten her sharp wit.

1 comment:

Junior and Orion said...

Sounds like you had as good a time as possible...and it sounds like your Grandma was quite a firecracker!