Friday, February 19, 2010

Last rites

A year ago today it was Fred's funeral. Fred was my step dad, he married my Mom when she was my age and gave her 30 years of lovely ordinary, very loving life. He was funny, absolutely honourable and mildly disrespectful of authority. He missed being 92 by 13 days and we all loved him to bits. He looked after my Mom for five long years when she became ill and did it wondrously. He thought I was OK in his last days and so did I.

We did the usual things at the funeral, well they are all a bit unusual really but usual for our funerals. We don't give the vicar much to do, or in the case of my Dad, the humanist chappie. I manage to get through something I have written, Sam recites a specially composed poem and then plays his whistle as the curtains close (not the Swannie whistle mentioned yesterday, this is his more refined penny whistle!). We sing a hymn or two, or in the case of my Dad, the "Red Flag", and play some music that they liked; for Fred it was Maria Callas and then Richard Tauber singing "We are in love with you, my heart and I". We have flowers because we love them and Jess takes them away afterwards. Then it's back to ours for champers and sister-in-law Andree's magnificent Tarte Provencale.

The trouble is I am an event organiser and once an event organiser always an anal retentive scheduler. So getting round to the inevitable what about the next one? It was odds on going to be mine or Stewart's anyway. Stewart has for years been telling the kids what he wants which includes Sam and Joe playing "Lonesome Road Blues". We hardly ever get through a family gathering without that request being repeated and in more compliant times they even had to practice it! I am fully intending to keep the funeral directors waiting, although the chap at the Co-op in Hall Green has become almost like a member of the family and he's getting on a bit.

No I haven't planned anything because the story isn't over yet but I think my kids will know to scour the hard drive for my last event folder and there will be sitting budgets, stage schedules, speaker briefs and maybe even an evaluation form. But for a long time before that I will be downing the champers and the Tarte on a pretty regular basis because I wouldn't want to miss a good do now would I?

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