Thursday 3 November 2011

Neighbor Jeremy.

Solemn occasions are meant to be just that … solemn.

Well, at least that is the intention, although at times events conspire to turn things differently.

As happened at Neighbor Jeremy’s funeral.

Jeremy was generally a good neighbor. I liked him well. Always polite, wishing me “Good morning” when we met on our way to work or “Good evening” should we happen to see each other on our way home.

He kept himself to himself and never parked in front of my driveway blocking me from going in or out whenever I wished; unlike some other neighbors of mine! But the least said about them the better. After all, we’re meant to love all our neighbors; are we not?

Every so often Jeremy would borrow some of my garden tools, or other bits and pieces he required, but he always returned them cleaned and in pristine condition.

Anyway, like all funerals, Jeremy’s was certainly a solemn occasion.

Relatives and friends and neighbors gathered in church and then followed him to the graveside. There were tears aplenty as we all remembered him and in our own way knew that we would miss him.

Although I’m no relative of Jeremy, at the graveside I was one of those who stood near the gaping hole as he was lowered down; purely because I had taken with me in my car one of his relatives who had no transport of her own. This elderly lady stood next to me on my left; and on my right was another neighbor, a young lady, who also had no transport and had come with me.

I noticed whilst the priest was saying his final prayers that the young lady on my right was somewhat tearful and had nothing to wipe her eyes with. Being the gentleman whom I am, I put my hand in my right side pocket and pulled out, fortunately for me, a brand new handkerchief which I handed to her.

As I did so … dash it all … my car key had got into one of the folds of the handkerchief and fell to the ground, on the grass, without making a sound, and then … dash it all once again … it rolled into the open grave just as the coffin was being lowered.

No one noticed except the young lady on my right. She took my handkerchief and asked: “What was that?”

“My car key …” I mumbled quietly.

She burst out laughing and then stifled her laughter with the handkerchief, pretending to be emotionally distraught and unable to control herself. Her outer appearance to one and all was one of utter despair and total grief; yet I knew from the shaking of her shoulders that she had great difficulty controlling the hilarity engendered by my predicament.

One or two mourners raised their eyebrows and wondered why this young lady was portraying more grief at his demise than Jeremy’s own wife standing nearby. But let’s not feed suspicious minds when my own is doing backward somersaults trying to figure out what to do next.

Almost instinctively, I placed my arm round the young lady’s shoulders and ushered her away from the graveside. As I did so, I accidentally bumped into the frail old lady on my left and almost knocked her into the grave with Jeremy. Luckily, she fell backwards away from the hole.
The young lady and I walked away from the crowd and stood a distance away by some trees. She continued laughing out of control but mercifully not loud enough to raise any suspicions.

What could I do in this situation? I could hardly let Jeremy borrow my car when I knew sure well that he had no intention of returning it?

If I did nothing, how could I possibly get home, and what would I say to the frail old lady expecting a lift back in my car?

I noticed the grave-diggers sitting some distance away ready to complete their work once everyone had gone.

I left the young lady still laughing away by the trees and walked towards the grave-diggers to explain the situation.

When all the solemnities were over and done, I arranged for someone else to give the two ladies a lift home; and explained that I had some urgent business to deal with at work.

The grave-diggers brought Jeremy back up and retrieved my key; and for once, Jeremy did not get to borrow anything of mine!


One should always have dignity in death.

I attended a clown’s funeral once and he was lying there peacefully in his open coffin with a red nose and a big smile painted on his face. They couldn’t put the lid on because of his big feet! 


  1. You're lucky Jeremy didn't return the keys to you himself...

    I see that this young lady has the funeral and church cough/cry/choke down pat. This is an important skill that most Catholics learned at a young age to avoid getting their hands tapped by the nuns :) I wonder if priests are onto us yet?

  2. By the way, I'm going to send you one of those keychains that hook to your belt loop...your keys seem to get you into a lot of trouble!

  3. Hi Mary,

    It would have been really frightening, especially so near Halloween, if Jeremy returned the key himself. You're right about my keys getting me into trouble. First they're taken by a fox, and now by Jeremy.

    God bless you.

  4. Very enjoyable story. Your tales remind me of the very excellent British comedies from the 70s and 80s on the public TV channels. I would split my sides laughing and wondering at the same time why American writers couldn't be as funny.

  5. Hello Barb,

    Let me know which British TV comedies you like. I'll see if I can find some and post them here.

    God bless.

  6. I thought this was a sad story and then I started to laugh. hey, perhaps your friend was looking down from above and laughing also..wouldn't it be nice to think so... Bless you Victor, I love you my brother.

  7. Greetings Crystal,

    It's so nice to see you visiting me again. I hope you're keeping well.

    God bless.

  8. You have such a way with words Victor. Thank you

  9. Thank you Daily Grace.

    God bless you.

  10. Only you.

    This could only happen to you.

    And only you could write about it so well.

    God Bless you.

  11. Hi Michael,

    I wonder what else Neighbor Jeremy is borrowing up in Heaven ... "May I borrow your halo please?"

    God bless, Michael.

  12. Wonderful story, Victor!

    I like that cube generator too! And I can see exactly how many minutes I've been visiting your blog. Is that live traffic feed new? Minutes well spent, I should add. I always love reading your stories. Thank you!

  13. Greetings Sue,

    It's so nice to see you here again. Thanx for visiting. I've had the live feed for a while now. It tells me where my readers are from and how many I've had in a given time.

    I feel if readers are kind enough to visit me it's important I know as much I can about them. Someone put a program on this blog to tell me which posts of mine are the most favorites. Footprints in the Sand is the one which got most hits so far. You can search for it by typing Footprints in the search engine on top left of this page.

    God bless you Sue.

  14. Replies
    1. It's great to smile, Melanie.

      God bless you and yours, my friend.



God bless you.