Monday, November 15, 2010

Poetic Justice?

OK, so today was Mom's funeral - and I am fine, really I am, just tired - and we made it through just fine.

But this is about yesterday, and I was too tired to post this then, but we had a visit from a trio of cackling old hens who came to the funeral home just to insert themselves to see what they could get for themselves.

The Friday before Mom died, one of her "club women" friends called my mother up and said that she was going to pick her up and take her to this little bazaar that she puts on every year. While Mom was there she bought a couple of these crocheted things and two “books” of poetry, that this woman insisted that my mother fell in love with.

Well you need only know that my mother and look at those poems to know that the painkillers were doing a number on her. And calling them “books” is a bit of a stretch because these “books” were three ring binders, with clear sheet protectors holding the pages in. Now I write and publish books, and get paid well for my books, but these were no books.

And the poems? Jesus! No, quite literally, Jesus, was in every poem. And that was not my mom. Never was. Mom was always offended by the way that this new breed of “christians” (lower case intended) always seemed to know the words of the bible but never seemed to practice their meanings. “The way they talk about Jesus this, and Jesus that, you’d think that he was their favorite cousin gone off to college or something.”

Anyway, the Hens came to funeral home, broke into the conversation I was having with someone from out of town and made sure I knew who they were, or at least who they were there playing in this Kabuki Theater we call Calling Hours.

The leader of the hens introduced herself – and she was just pleased as punch to make sure that I knew who they were and that she was the one with the brains (and the mouth) Then there was her sister, the simple one, who kept thinking that I was my husband and my husband was me, and then we got to their little friend who had the sourest look on her face. She looked like she was weaned on a lime. Looking at her even I got a bad taste in my mouth.

But get this: the sour one was the author of the poetry book!   In the name of Helen Steiner Rice (see picture above) this woman was no Helen Steiner Rice!

EVIDENTLY, the simple hen told me, the poetry lady, at the egging on of lead old hen, had come to see her poetry book on display with the mementos and pictures of Mom in happier times.

And guess what…IT WASN”T THERE!

Rebuffed, she had come fishing for compliments, and not finding any, sat herself down in a corner and started to caste aspersions.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Three Old Hen's, was too busy to notice her friend, but she was taking notes on me, and making up the rest.

“Have you been weeping?” she asked.  Her face was rank with man made empathy.

I explained that, no, while I missed Mom, that I was quite relieved that she wasn’t bed ridden or worse, in horrible pain.

“But you must be prostrate with grief?” she asked, hopefully.

Again, my answer was no. “Like my mother, I am not one to be beside myself at these moments.”

“But what about the regrets?” she asked plaintively.

“Regrets are none. We did everything we could.”

“Well then,” she said, “we’ll be back tomorrow – I’m sure that you’ll feel differently.”

Why that nasty old so-and-so!

So what was this all about? Well first of all, she came to get a look at me because I’m gay, ergo, I am an emotional stereotype, and that would give her something to talk about. Two, she came with her bitter little friend hoping I would ask bitter little friend to do a reading at the funeral – AND – three, she came to have a look see so she would have something to gossip about at the next Club Meeting!

But my friends, I am telling you that at the funeral, it got better…

To be continued…


  1. Mistress MJ was raised in a very small village and these same 3 hens were at every funeral.

  2. why haven't they been plucked and poached? oy.

  3. Good Lord.
    Kabuki theater indeed.
    I can almost see their makeup.

  4. Did she really ask if you were "prostrate with grief"? I thought only Mammy used that phrase!

  5. She really did. And I'm sure she learned that phrase from the movies, too.

    And Norma, had I cut her down, can you imagine all the fun that I knew we were going to have with her the following day? I wasn't done having fun with her, yet. And not by a long shot...

  6. You've just perfectly illustrated why I stopped going to funerals years ago.