13 June 2007

Plight of the Dead

My mom's family is, shall we say, unique. Not just redneck, but redneck white trash. So funerals are a fun experience. Like finding out who bathed, who didn't, who's coming in overalls or jeans (that'd be over half), who dressed up (a little less than 1/4th), and finally, who's coming with who since they all pretty much date in the family. Oh, yes. We are an inbreed clan, and that folks is why I don't date. I'm sorry, it doesn't interest me to date my third cousin; removed or not, still sharing the same tree.

Now, my aunt died two Fridays ago, and we buried her last Tuesday (a week ago). The day before my mother's birthday. Oh, yes, my family has spectacular timing when deciding to die. So, everyone's in all their glory, most looking like ship-wrecked idiots that don't own a razor. Seriously, my family? LOVES the scruffy, unkempt look. It's rather sad. Nothing like seeing your uncles dressed in jeans, flannel shirt, and jean jacket with a hat on. Oh, yes, even in the chapel, the hat stays on. And not just any hat, but a trucker one! We rule, really. I had to piece together something quickly since I couldn't find pants that fit at Lane Bryant, but I still looked ten - no, twenty - times better than these people.

There were eight surviving children, two dead. Now it's seven, and all the siblings sat with their significant others (if they had one, which surprisingly, Denim Uncle did not). The nieces and nephews sat behind their parents. So, I being the smart person, dragged my godmom to sit with me. What? These people are nuts, I ain't stupid. And then, when my step-siblings asked if they were supposed to sit with us, I jumped on that bad boy, too. We had nearly a whole pew all to ourselves. Oh, there were a couple great-aunt's but hell if I know their names. One's nickname is Snooks. Oh, yes, you know you're jealous.

So on my left was godmom and on my right was my step-sister with her son on the lap. Next to her was my other step-sister, sitting with our niece. We'll call the one with the two kids Sister A and the other Sister J. So, we're sitting there, listening to the first preacher (because oh yes my aunt had two preachers), and going "Okay, this is going along good. Annnny minute now, we'll be done." But alas, that was a pipe dream.

You see, it was time for Preacher Two to step up and speak. And this man sees all of us as a congregation, which as I told Sister A, "we're the captive congregation." I mean, I went through the same thing with my grandfather's funeral. Same guy, same sermon. Oh, yes, it was a sermon. Lots of loud talking, telling us to accept Jesus into our life or we'd never see my aunt in Paradise. Now, I'm not particularly religious. I have my spiritual beliefs and that's about it. But I don't begrudge people their choice of dealing with their spiritual side. However, I don't particularly think a funeral's the time for a 45 minute sermon on the evils of life at a funeral. Did we discuss my aunt? Not unless you count a few sprinklings of meeting her in Paradise.

Can't have a pesky thing like the dead person's contributions being talking about. Okay, so she wasn't Mother Teresa, but she was pretty nice when not being vain about it. I loved her anyway. So, I'm sitting there, doing my best to not nod off since that what I always do in sermons. So, I'm all, blahblahblah, until it was time to view the casket.

I don't like looking at dead people. I haven't since I was about 12. So, needless to say, this wasn't the most fun thing for me, but I did it for my pride. What? I wasn't gonna let the family say something about me. They already think I'm abnormal for not being married or divorced with three kids at my hip. Now, after everyone else in the world's looked at her, it's the family's turn. And lemme tell you, that's jacked up. Family? Should be the first to say goodbye. Primarily because the chapel was about 60% full and that was a long wait. Anyway, so we go see her, and it didn't occur at the time, but seriously...little kids? Shouldn't have to see dead bodies.

My niece, let's call her K, was crying over seeing the dead body, and with a two-year-old on Sister A's lap, I took Little A. Sister A looked alarmed, said "No, he doesn't like that." And by that time, Little A was sitting on my lap watching his sister cry and trying to figure out what was going on. He didn't utter a peep. All I told him was "Sissy needs to sit with your mama right now, and I'll give you back in just a minute." He was fine. Both my step-sisters looked flabbergasted. Which is odd because kids usually love me. I'm pretty personable, really. And I was talking to Little A very calmly so K could get the attention she needed. It all worked out, I think.

Then I went to the grave site for the lowering. Over the whole family thing by then, I skipped on the at the home talking about her bit and went to the library to get my books. *grins* Luckily, it was two doors down. Hey, why waste the gas?

And that is the story of the captive congregation. I wonder if other areas have that, or it's just this special guy's spiel.



Blogger Pug Mom said...

Eeek! Funerals scare me. Us, on the other hand, are the dressiest folk around when it comes to church and fancy occasions. But as soon as we get back to the house, it's "nude colony for everyone!" Seriously. I grew up thinking mommies and daddies walked around the house showing their no-no parts to everyone. And people wonder why I'm taking happy pills. :)

7:42 PM  
Blogger Jessie said...

I hate funerals, but when you have half a county for family, you're told to go a lot of them. That doesn't count my godmom's family.

I usually wear Macy's and my godmom Neiman Marcus, simply because that's what we have available. Actually Godmom has a entire closet of St. John she never wears, so she kinda likes the funerals. Gets to get those bad boys out. *laugh*

At the house, we're always walking around in our shirts and underwear. No point being prim and proper when you're eating yesterday's leftovers. *grins*

Hey, at least it was your mama and daddy. It was my stepmama...and I was 15. That was trauma central.

8:07 PM  
Blogger Nancy said...

Probably the *funniest* description of family at a funeral I have read.

The makings of a screenplay!

I'd have scooted off to the library during the "save your soul now" sermon.


11:23 AM  
Blogger Jessie said...

*laugh* I know I forgot to mention a lot. It's hard to take it all in until you experience my family. Overalls and all.

I could write a book on the messed up family I have. Seriously. Wait until I start in on my brother and his soon-to-be ex-wife. Oh, boy. *snort*

I would have scooted, but I unfortunately we were in the front pews and it's rude to walk out during a funeral. Sadly. Damn my upbringing.

7:13 PM  

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