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!