Family Funeral 1
Mostly true, names changed for obvious reasons,
Some have now `shuffled off this mortal coil`)
It was late October, drizzling, dismal and dark, and it was time for a family funeral, that of my great uncle Bertie, my Dad’s uncle. My parents and I always called him uncle Bertie. .He had no children so we were like his own family. He always enjoyed Sunday roasts at our house which was just round the corner from his own. He loved to go for the occasional pint with my Dad and that seemed to be the extent of his social life, that and the cricket. He was a great comfort to me after I lost my parents and we remained very close until the day he followed them.
Uncle Bertie was a man of few words who preferred the quiet life. Not many mourners were expected to attend his interment except for one or two aunts and uncles who suspected that he might just be worth a bob or two. Anyway, the obituary telling of Bertie`s successful business career suggested immense wealth
to many and news spread like wildfire reaching relatives hitherto unheard of.
We all gathered at St. Boniface’s church which became packed to the gunwales with people seemingly wishing to pay their last respects including representatives from various local charities and several people from Social Services. Outside the main road through the village was practically impassable because of the huge number of parked vehicles.
The service was supposed to start at 2.30 p.m. but the hearse was unable to get past a camper van used to transport some distant Scottish relatives. After weighing up the situation Mr Froggat, the owner of` Froggat`s Fare Thee Well Funeral Parlour`, decided to attempt a three point turn and take the alternative route to St. Boniface`s via the top road, a journey of about three miles. Owing to the narrowness of the village road and the length of the funeral car, the three point turn took about twelve manoeuvres which resulted in several wreaths plunging onto the wet road. Having returned them to the top of the hearse, wiping the windscreen and re-adjusting the wing mirrors, Mr, Froggatt and his assistants continued on their way, eventually arriving at the church at 3.15 p.m.
Meanwhile, old Mr Grindle, the organist, played Jesu Joy of Man`s Desiring twice then, having been informed of the delay by the Reverend Bessamer, he continued his recital with a selection from Les Miserables followed by his
version of The Trumpet Voluntary, played slowly. The vicar, still waiting in the church porch, got to wondering if Mr Grindle would like similar `music` played at his own `send off`. Then he started wishing he’d taken something for his flu like symptoms which seemed to be worsening by the minute.
The service went well even though Mr Grindle had upped the tempo of the hymns as from a slow foxtrot to a quickstep. The vicar delivered a eulogy to Uncle Bertie which was quite acceptable considering the two had never actually met. Cousin Celia sang Amazing Grace and this was followed by the final hymn, The Strife is O`er, The Battle Won. Mr Grindle really gave that one some welly before dashing off to the toilet at the back of the vestry; his irritable bowel syndrome had got the better of him at last. The processional continued without any further organ `music` Continued.......
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