Sunday, December 9, 2012

Impressions At a Funeral II

When the blessings got sorted out and people were back in their seats, we rose once again for the coffin's passage back up the aisle, sharp left, out the double doors and into the back of a cream-colored hearse.  We were given the option of dropping out then or accompanying the casket to the graveside.  I muttered to Richie, "In for a penny, in for a pound" and strode off toward our car in the vast parking lot.

I think everyone present had driven there in separate cars; the line following the hearse was so long that a groundskeeper in a golf cart had to come back to lead the rest of us to the right place. 

I walked in the street as far as it was possible to do, then grabbed Richie's arm and off we stepped into the lumpy grass with open holes in the ground for vases.  I am not used to wearing "heels (or shoes for that matter; Uggs in winter and boat shoes in summer are exactly like going barefoot) so it was a treachery-fraught journey for me.  To be truthful, I spent that ceremony standing on Oscar Padillo's flat grave marker.  (Thanks, Oscar!)

I looked around with interest and discovered that we had a different priest officiating.  Apparently the facility has Indoor and Outdoor Priests which is rather lavish on their part.

The new one had a golf course tan and a boyish look, but then I noticed that his hands were those of an old person (and I had only to look down at my own to confirm this.)

His gray hair was cut neatly, with a side part and one little forehead strand cunningly combed in the reverse direction of the rest of it.  Gentlemen, a free tip for obtaining the boyish look. 

At the end of the graveside service, we were invited to stay for the actual placement of the coffin in the hole.  I said to Richie, "Let's go watch from the car so I can sit down, these shoes (2 in. heels) are killing me!"  He grinned and said, 'Go ahead - in for a penny, in for a pound!" and sauntered off for a good spot from which to see everything.

As I sat, I reviewed all that I had just seen.  Indoor Priest had liberally sprinkled the coffin with (presumably) holy water as did Outdoor Priest.  Neither one of them though had swug the censor for which I was intensely grateful.  I remembered my mother-in-law's service where the priet was so enthusiastic that he nearly gassed out the first three rows of pews.   It was so ghastly that prior to my father-in-law's funeral, we all begged the funeral director to tell the officiating priest not to be that into it.  I'm not kidding - great clouds of incense which took quite awhile to disperse.  Every asthmatic in the place was gasping in desperation.

Richie returned to the car and we drove back to the facility for the Reception.

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