Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The BEST Funeral Ever

My Grandma had a special room in her house--a room so fancy that it could not even be used on a regular basis, a room aptly named "The Good Room."  My sister, my cousin Justin, and I had a special game that involved "The Good Room."  This game involved the three of us enacting the First Family.  Justin would be the President, I would be the First Lady, and my sister, Bridget, would be our daughter.  (We would also sometimes let cousins visiting from out of town be our dogs.)  The game involved the three of us hanging out in my Grandma's good room, acting very important and presidential, although I don't believe we ever solved any of the country's most pressing problems.

The President and First Daughter (Justin and Bridget) with their most "aristocratic" expressions

The First Family game reached its height when my Great Great Aunt Mamie passed away.  Mamie was my Grandma's aunt and she lived directly next door to her.  Some things that I remember most about Mamie are her seemingly endless supply of house coats, her little Dickey bird in a cage that chirped when you wound it up, and the hair sticking out of the mole on her face that prickled you when you gave her a kiss.  I loved Mamie and when I was seven I once spent an entire afternoon visiting with her, while, unbeknownst to me, my mom had enlisted the entire neighborhood to form a search party to find me. (I apparently hadn't informed anyone of my visit.)  Mamie once gave me a tiny gold figurine of the Infant of Prague for my prayers, and the railing leading up to her bedroom always shocked me when I touched it, and she made these wonderful cookies called Jumbles...but Mamie was very old.  And, when I was ten she died.

Mamie, clearly having a blast at my 5th birthday party
Although we were sad at Mamie's passing, my cousins and I had a wonderful time at her funeral.  In fact, I cannot recall another funeral where I had so much fun, or any fun at all for that matter.  As you know, funeral homes are usually fancy--even fancier than my Grandma's good room--and, therefore, the perfect setting for the First Family game.  The funeral home was like the real White House to us, or at least how we imagined it to be at the age of ten.  The funeral director even allowed us to hang out in a room upstairs where we governed the nation and drank coffee creamer to our hearts' delight.

Somehow among all of our important business we found the time to strategically place different items inside of Mamie's coffin.  It started with the prayer cards, which I believe some adult gave us permission to place inside.  This unknown adult had probably assumed that we would only place one card inside--not thirty-two.  We then got a bit more creative.  The funeral home had a gumball machine in the back room where you could get those little plastic bubbles with "prizes" inside.  Most of those prizes ended up being interred with Mamie as well.

I sometimes think that the proper, religious Mamie would have cringed at our behavior at her funeral showing, but perhaps she wouldn't have.  Maybe she would have smiled to know that in coming together in her honor we had one great time.

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