Written by Sennebec
“How did it go? Professor Syndic Mahoney set his coffee cup on the tan napkin beside his freshly emptied plate and discharged a discrete burp.
Lordy Perfesser, I wish you coulda been a bird in a tree, Words wont hardly describe what a ruckus the whole event was. Flora McGonicle brushed imaginary crumbs off her apron before grabbing the dirty plate and heading for the soapstone sink in the kitchen. When she returned, her employer raised an inquisitive eyebrow, indicating she should join him at the table while she caught him up on her unexpected trip to West Montgomery, VT., the town she had left nearly thirty years ago. The previous Friday Flora had picked up the hall telephone on the second ring, only to learn that her stepfather had passed away unexpectedly while defending his title for the twentieth time in the Florn County cow chip toss at the Montgomery Agricultural Fair. The funeral would be on Sunday with burial next to his first wife in the town cemetery.
While Professor Mahoney found the idea of being interred next to Floras stepmother a tad odd, he had kept his opinion to himself, instead making arrangements for Flora and her not terribly bright husband Alfred, to fly from Philadelphia to Montpelier where they would pick up a rental car, ensuring their arrival in plenty of time for both the Saturday wake and Sunday funeral. Good housekeepers were hard to come by, even in the deteriorating economy and he wasnt about to risk losing his by seeming penurious or unsympathetic.
Flora eased herself into the chair opposite his, heaving a big sigh as her ample backside came into contact with the memory foam underneath the custom embroidered seat. Well, Perfessor, Things was movin along right fine until we got ready for the burial. The flight was great. They even gave Alfred extra peanuts and a second diet Moxie. The car was wicked shiny and had one of them GSPs which tells you how to get where ya wanna go, step by step. Gosh, even Alfred couldnt get lost usin one of them contraptions. Ma met us as we pulled into the driveway. Lawdy, she was holdin up better than either of us expected. Course, tappin some of the extra hard cider down in the root cellar didnt hurt none.
Flora pulled a rumpled handkerchief from her apron pocket and dabbed both eyes before continuing. Everyone got through the wake just fine, even if Cousin Elbridge did manage to lose his upper teeth in the casket. Luckily, his wife wasnt at all averse to pawin around next to the departed and he was back in business in no time at all. I was wicked certain we was gonna sail right through the rest of the weekend without a hitch. Shows what I know, I guess. The funeral was awful nice, with Reverend Loal Fibberjack comin all the way down from the Northeast Kingdom to honor Pa. The Montgomery Rotary Club Barbershop Quartet did an acapella rendition of The Old Rugged Cross that I swear brought tears to the eyes of everyone, even the wasps circlin Old Man Jessbaums bald spot.
When we got to the cemetery, all hell broke loose. Perfesser, it aint like here in the big city where everythings computerized and just exactly so. No sirree, things back home can get outta hand at the drop of a hat and some son of a bear screwed up big time. First inkling anyone had was when Lem Ferdhoffers boys hit somethin solid as they was getting ready to dig down next to Dads first wife. Twenty minutes later, we was starin at someone elses casket laid beside the first missus. Ill tell ya that threw everyone for a loop. How in tarnation someone else got buried in Dads final restin place was beyond anyone standin around with their faces hangin out. Darn good thing my brother Freds so fast on his feet. See Hed hired the volunteer fire department to provide a barbecue down at the station following the funeral. All it took to solve our dilemma was a couple sawbucks donated to the air-pack fund and half a dozen bottles of that good cider from down cellar to kill off any lingering inhibitions on the part of them fire boys. Seems they had an extra barbecue pit readied in case of an overflow. Luckily, it was downwind of the rest of the set-up. Two or three honks into the cider and the idea that Dad was getting cremated in a barbecue pit didnt seem odd at all. Hell After four, the idea was hilarious and we toasted him until the last drop went down the hatch.
Flora stood, realizing she needed to take the clean load of clothing from the washer in the basement and hang everything on the line out back. Anyhow Perfesser, by the time anyone was ready to deal with Dad, he was cool enough to be gathered together and stuffed into a couple Prince Albert cans. Nobody could see wastin the hard work of Lems boys, so we laid Dad on top of whoever in hell was buried beside his first Missus and came home.
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