Funny things happen everywhere even funerals…

I don’t want to sound sacrilegious but I can have a warped sense of humor at times and some of the funniest things happen while at church. As a musician, I have the best seat in the house because I’m up front and can see EVERYTHING going on and I can see the expressions on people’s faces WHILE things are going on…

The processional..
The family processional is one of the most solemn times in a funeral UNLESS you are me and have to make this very serious time unserious. Here comes the family, you see some of them overcome with grief at the passing of their loved one. They come in holding each other’s hands, some weeping, some ‘being strong’ and others trying not to beat the children because all they want to do is play. You see, children will mess you up every time!! They don’t care what the scenario is… they just want to play. And here it is you have gone to Sears, got them a little suit and they ain’t having it. They looked nice when they got into the limo but something happened between getting out of the car and walking into the church. They look like they’re in the NFL and it’s the 3rd quarter!!! Btw, how did his pants get stuffed into his socks? Did you do that? Why are her shoes on the wrong feet… I know you’re grieving but couldn’t you tell that her little feet were going the wrong way? And you’re wondering why she’s walking like that…

Over grieving…
There IS such thing as ‘over-grieving’. You know it when you see it. That one person that just has to take it WAY TOO FAR!!!! It’s been a while since I’ve seen someone try to get into the casket with the deceased. One reason is that ‘the family’ already had that conversation with her at the viewing… “Don’t do it!! If you act up at this funeral… there will be another funeral next week!!!” You know… some people need that warning ahead of time. But, nowadays the over-grieving happens throughout the service. You’ll hear that one person that starts crying loudly as soon as everything is quiet or that person that gets to the casket and just faints… Why are you falling out? Y’all wasn’t even close?!? Please drag her out!!!!

Extreme Selective Memory
For some reason, people get amnesia during funerals. The floor is open for people to give remarks. You decide to compose yourself and go up to the microphone. As you begin to talk about the deceased, one can see the confusion on people’s faces like “Who is he talking about?”, “That ain’t true”, “Oh no, she didn’t!!” I remember a funeral once where the lady had passed away. The crazy part was that this lady was ‘special’. I won’t say anything bad about a deceased person and special in this case doesn’t mean, “short bus special”. But trust me… she was special. Everyone knew that she was special and people knew not to cross her. She was not shy in getting her point across and was known for some of the arguments that she’d had with people. But, her husband gets the mike and says, “We never had an argument or fight…” You could hear the whole congregation all gasp at the same time!!!

2 minutes…
It happens every single time. Comments from the friends, family and preachers… Why do we still try to let everybody talk at the funeral? Half the folks didn’t know the deceased to begin with and their remarks are to that one person in the family that they know. Talk to them later, in private!! Everybody doesn’t need to hear how you didn’t know the deceased but heard about how wonderful they were. And the preachers… We talk about people being obedient but then you tell the preachers, “2 minutes” and they take the first minute walking from their seat to the podium, the second minute talking about “How y’all gone give a preacher the mike and only give him 2 minutes” and the next 10 minutes they preach a mini-sermon!!! But, that isn’t the real problem. The real problem is that there are 20 more preachers after that one finishes that are going down that same road!!! I told my wife that if I go first… I don’t want any remarks to be given!!!

Sing your song and sit down!!
At most black funerals, the family has requested that Sis. Mary sing cousin Johnny’s favorite church song. The request is cool. Cousin Johnny having a favorite church song is cool. Sis. Mary on the other hand… well, that’s another story. How many times have you gone to a church and seen that person that has on the flashiest outfit with the biggest hat they could find? Well, that’s Sis. Mary. I was at a funeral once and Sis. Mary went up to sing her song. The first thing that she did was comment on how long the preachers were talking and then she began to tell her story of the deceased. Now, her story was about 4-5 minutes. Then she decided to sing and she did well with it at first. But, near the end of the song, she kind of went into the “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” mode of ‘When the saints go marching in’. But, here’s the part that got me. After she sang her song, she went and changed into her work clothes. Apparently, she was like a home health aide or worked in nursing. But, she went from this very bold black dress with diamonds/studs, big black hat with her stilettos on to wearing bright orange patterned scrubs, light blue pants and white sneakers!!! But she went back to her seat in the choir stand!!! She changed into her work clothes but she never left!!!

The Eulogy
The service has officially run way too long and the mortician is in the back pacing the floor. But, the eulogy still hasn’t been done. The children are restless. Now, everybody in the room starts coughing at the same time. Why is that? It seems that everyone gets something caught in their throat simultaneously. The anticipation of the message has finally arrived. There are two kinds of preachers in this case. The first one preaches to the people and brings reality, comfort and humor. I like this preacher and most people do. He is able to bring smiles to the people and still tell them about Jesus. The second one tries to preach the deceased into Heaven. Unfortunately, JuneBug may not be going there since he committed a triple homicide before he committed suicide but we try to put him in Heaven anyway.

The cemetery…
If the funeral is being held between November and March, please dress for the weather. There is nothing more comical than watching people try to avoid the wind at the gravesite. Guess what? There is no avoidance! There are no trees, the buildings and telling everybody to come closer into that little tent is a bit futile. I was at a funeral and it seemed that almost every woman there had on a mini-dress. There’s nothing wrong with that but you might want to grab a coat!! One lady had on her mini-dress and a fur shoulder wrap. It’s 28 degrees out here!!! Needless to say, she didn’t even make it to the preacher finishing his prayer. She was almost running back to the car! The other thing is wear the appropriate footwear. Nine inch heels and mud don’t match!! This is not the time to be cute! Fellas, we need to go ahead and those little plastic slip covers for our shoes, too. It’s okay… Better yet, why don’t we all just put our sneakers on?

Finally, let’s feed the family…
This is the one time of the funeral that I try NOT to be a part of. Don’t get me wrong, I will ask for a plate to go but I’d rather not sit around eating after the funeral. But, that doesn’t stop the observations tho… Generally, the food at a funeral is good, very good. Then again, considering that between leaving the house, the funeral service, the cemetery time and actually getting served… it may have been a solid 4-6 hours since you last ate!!! At this point, you could eat a PB&J and call it gourmet!!! But, watching people and their meal selections is always interesting. If all of the plates are made the same way, then why are people trading plates? “That piece of chicken looks bigger than mine, let me get that”, “I don’t really do meatloaf. I’ll trade you my ham”, “Did you get a piece of that German Chocolate cake? Bro. George made that cake you’ll want to get a piece!!” These folks should be on Wall Street with all that trading!!! Now, Big Poppa has about 4 deserts and 3 pieces of chicken. Lil Momma has given all of her food away and is left with green beans. Junior is looking at an overflowing plate because Big Momma put everything that she didn’t want on his plate. And Big Sis got her plate and said I’m going to McDonald’s.

My condolences to all of the bereaved. Funerals are a serious occasion but you know they are a part of life. Life is filled with many high points and low points. The greatest thing about it is that if you try, you will find the humor in any- and every- thing. It is a task but life is to be enjoyed and not just suffered thru. Let’s focus on the things that matter…

I love you ALL!!!
Stay Blessed,
Jackie

 

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My Favorite Childhood Memories…

Today, I woke up and was just reminiscing on days gone by. I was thinking about a simpler time in life. A time when nothing really mattered except having fun and seeing what adventures we could get into next… I was thinking about yesterday. Lol…

One of the greatest mistakes that we make is in growing up. I love the old commercial that Toy R Us used to run that said, “I don’t wanna grow up. I’m a Toys R Us kid…” There isn’t a greater statement to be made. Think about this, who really wants to grow up?

Before we grew up, we had fun. We liked to play. We liked to meet up with our friends and have a good time. We could sit on the curb with a friend eating a hot dog and that would be considered a power lunch! A good time was going to the corner store and buying $3 worth of candy and seeing how much of it we could eat before our parents found out. The ideal day was riding our bicycles for hours at a time only coming home to eat lunch and going right back out. A bad day was when it rained and we had to take off our muddy clothes at the door because our moms didn’t want us tracking that stuff all over the house. But guess what… even on a ‘bad’ day we still enjoyed life.

One of the most exciting periods was when my parents would let me spend the summers with my grandmother (my nanna). Nanna was cool. She was the original Willy Wonka, Dr. Who, Mr. Rogers, Speedracer and Martha Stewart ALL wrapped up in one!!! You see she was an entrepreneur. She was a retailer. She sold rummage. She would go to yard/garage sales and flea markets buy their stuff and resell it. The cool part was that she had so much stuff that it was an adventure in finding the ‘cool’ stuff. One day she came home with a couple comic books. Let me correct that… she came home with a couple of BOXES of comic books!!!! Everything from Jughead and Archie to Josie and the Pussycats to Superman to the Flash to Tales from the Darkside. She even had an original Batman Issue 2!!!!

Do you remember where the greatest place was to ride in the car? If you said, “the back window”… You are correct!!!! Yes, we used to ride in the back window and look up at the sky. Or roll down the window and let the air blow your hand around like you were flying…

Do you remember road trips? Yes, road trips!!! Everyone jumping in the car with no destination in mind but we drove around for 2 hours just looking out the window! One of the highlights from the road trip was getting a Slushy, drinking it too fast and yup… BRAIN FREEZE!!!

But, as we got older, we messed around and started growing up. We stopped enjoying a fully loaded coney dog with the toppings dripping out the back when we bite into it. We stopped playing Evil Knievel with our bikes and homemade ramps. We stopped living.

My nanna passed away quite a few years ago but the sad part is this… Who is the next nanna? Of course, she did what she had to because that was her job but who is that cool older lady that still enjoys herself AND her children? And just for the record, EVERYONE was her children!!

Chuck E. Cheese has it right. It is the place where a kid can be a kid. As grown-ups, where is THAT place for us?

How do we fix this problem of growing up? Don’t grow up!! We all need to ‘mature’ but don’t kill your inner child. Michael Jackson was an example of the opposing extreme. He held tight to his inner child to a fault. I’m not saying that we should go build Neverland 2 but don’t let that trip to Disney every 8 years be the only time that we act Goofy!!

Take a ride on the Great Space Coaster.
Join Marty McFly on a trip Back to the Future.
Don’t forget to dream. So, help me sing along with Jiminy Cricket…

“When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
Will come to you

If your heart is in your dream
No request is too extreme
When you wish upon a star
As dreamers do

Fate is kind
She brings to those to love
The sweet fulfillment of
Their secret longing

Like a bolt out of the blue
Fate steps in and sees you through
When you wish upon a star
Your dreams come true”

I love you ALL!!!
Stay Blessed,
Jackie