I think it’s safe to say that y’all will become fairly well acquainted with my friend Connie in Mississippi over time. She’s always got a good story for me, and I don’t mind sharing them when I think they are of particularly good quality. The latest one is a gem.
I was bemoaning having to do some chores that I wasn’t really fond of and needed some cheering up. She said, “Well, I’ve got a good funeral story for ya.”
And it went something like this:
Connie’s friend Myra’s father in-law passed away recently. We’ll call the father in-law Chuck, because Chuck was a logger. You know... how much wood could a woodchuck chuck? So anyway, Chuck up and dies, leaving behind his son Willyboy, who is married to Myra, and a daughter, Ms. Ne’er DoWell.
The mourners all arrive at the funeral home, including Chuck’s two ex-wives, a current live-in who claims to be wife number 3 (we’ll call her PsychoWife from here on), and some other woman of mysterious means, who apparently jumped in and out of Chuck’s bed when he was between wives or girlfriends or whathaveyou.
Now, Ms. Ne’er DoWell did not show up to the funeral. As she told her brother, “Why should I? I never saw him in life, why bother now?” Point taken. People don’t really change much after they die.
Connie commented to me on the very austere surroundings of the funeral home, noting the very blatant absence of flowers. That was not for lack of trying on Myra’s part, however. The two local florists she had contacted to deliver flowers told her that PsychoWife had instructed them to ask anyone wanting to send flowers to make donations instead as, “Flowers don’t put no food on the table.”
It seems obvious that Chuck was a good-lookin’ guy, because they had an open casket, and ain’t nobody wants to look at an ugly guy, dead or alive.
So, Willyboy strolls over to the casket to say a few last words of farewell to his no-moss-grows-on-a-rolling-stone Pop when he claps eyes on a ciggie pokin’ outta Pop’s shirt pocket.
Yo. Back up. We talkin’ about Chuck or Drunk Unk?
He is understandably incensed at this gaff no doubt carried out by PsychoWife, so he takes the smoke out of the shirt pocket.
PsychoWife flits around the small crowd til she is able to bum another smoke off one of the mourners, and tucks it back into Chuck’s shirt pocket. And so begins the old cat-n-mouse game of “Tuck-n-Chuck”...tuck it in, pull it out. Tuck it in, pull it out. The game finally ends when the coffin lid is banged neatly into place over ol’ Chuck’s plaid shirt and polyester pants. PsychoWife managed to sneak a smoke into Chuck’s hand, just in case he couldn’t reach up into his shirt pocket.
Now, all this frivolity is not without accompaniment. But there is no funeral dirge for ol’ Chuck. No soft organ music, no tear-jerkin’ Baptist hymns, no funeral requisite strands of “Amazing Grace.” No, no. PsychoWife turned up the boombox sitting on the floor in front of Chuck’s casket, and had Shania Twain and Clint Black singing their little hearts out. All lovin’ up sexy songs. She apparently felt like that ol’ mattress bouncer Chuck needed some good love songs to serenade him over to the other side. Lots of hickey-makin’ music, and better than blubberin’ into a Kleenex over some sentimental hogwash. Besides, Social Security was only willin’ to pay just so much for that refrigerator box Chuck was tucked into, there weren’t no extra for no organ music.
After everyone “smoked ‘em if they had ‘em,” they all headed off to the burial ground. They’d been informed by PsychoWife that the burial would take place somewhere just outside of town.
Connie’s ridin’ with Myra and Willyboy, watching the odometer click click click upwards of 10...20...35 miles. Myra was startin’ to sweat bullets. Where on earth was Chuck gonna be buried?
Silly girl, right behind Mammy’s Kitchen, of course!
In a little field where the goats bleated and lazily swatted their tails at horseflies, there was a big black pit dug for Chuck.
In PsychoWife’s mama’s backyard, about 500 feet behind her trailer. Just in case PsychoWife needed to keep an eye on him.
All was not lost, however. Turns out Willyboy didn’t lose a father, really. He gained a brother. Or so it was announced during the eulogy. Turns out Cousin RayRay was, in fact, Brother RayRay.
I guess we’ll find out who the mama is on Mother’s Day. So stay tuned, it’s sure to be a doozy.
And who says Georgia gets to have all the fun?