05 June 2003

A friend's grandmother passed away yesterday. May her soul and all the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

I have been asked to sing at her funeral on Friday. A not untypical program of solos: Schubert's Ave Maria, Faure's Pie Jesu, Frank's Panis Angelicus. It's quite a drive as it's in another town, and coming back home on a Friday afternoon...the traffic will be horrendous. Thankfully, Papa, who knows all the back roads, is going to take me so that I don't have to drive it by myself. I have such a nice Papa.

As happens every time I sing at a funeral, or someone we know dies, or sometimes for no reason at all, a lot of the after-dinner conversation this evening was about the funeral plans for members of my family, mostly my parents and my maternal grandparents (paternal grandparents are already deceased). My family has what I suppose is a rather healthy view of death. They view it with typical Catholic and Celtic gallows humor. My parents tell me that my nifty southern-belle of a grandmother wants an honest-to-betsy New Orleans-style Dixieland band at the party after her funeral. What a gal! I think that's just peachy-keen. My parents are trying to decide where they want to be buried. Papa, ever the genealogist, wants to be buried somewhere with other members of his family. He'd really like to be buried in Nebraska or Missouri, as that's where most of them are from. Good heavens! Well, I probably won't be visiting your grave very often, if that's the case, Papa, because I'm a coastal sort of girl and sincerely hope that I will never have cause to live in the Midwest. Mom is more concerned with being where I will visit her. I told her maybe I'll just cremate both of them and keep the urns on my mantelpiece. They didn't seem to like that. Mom is very adamant that she will not be cremeated. I may bury her in the cemetary that's about a block from our vacation home. I hope to keep and enjoy that home for many years, so I'll be able to keep an eye on her grave and make sure it doesn't end up with tire tracks on the headstone like that of one of my more distant relatives. My grandfather nearly sued a cemetary when he found out that the road to the cemetary office had been widened so that it came within inches of some relative's grave. Anyone failing to make a sharp enough turn was running over the grave, ruining the grass, and leaving tire marks on the flat headstone. Finally the cemetary put a fence around it. I don't want that to happen to the final resting place of my mother's earthly remains, thank you very much. Where would I like to be buried? I don't know. We'll see what happens. If I died now, I'd want it to be by that vacation home. Who knows what I'll want if I live to be 90. Maybe they'll be jettisoning people's ashes into space then, who knows.

An old Irish marriage proposal: How would you like to be buried with my people? If any guy ever asks me this seriously, I'll probably keel over right then and there and then he'll have to bury me someplace.

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