The ceremony was typically Southern Baptist. Turn or burn was the general message, and following that was a semi-reverent alter call: “Close your eyes and pray. Tell Jesus that you know you are a sinner and lay your transgressions at his feet, for your judgment day is imminent. E.D., rest his soul, is currently standing in front of Saint Peter. We don’t know whether or not he’ll make it through The Pearly Gates, for only God knows a man’s heart, but I assure you that if you’re not a believer, then you will not be allowed in. Judgment day is near. Amen.”
This was not meant to be funny, though there was something very amusing about the whole thing. My grandfather was a very spiritual man, it’s true, but he was never one to take things too seriously. On his 80th birthday he was introduced as the guest preacher. On his way down the aisle to the pulpit, he turned a cartwheel. He was the sort of man who would jingle the change in his pocket right before a man tried to make a crucial putt on the golf course. That’s the sense of humor he had.
Since I can remember, the entire family was told to “Gather around Gramps. This is probably his last Christmas and we must take the last Christmas photo together.”
“What are they not telling us?” we asked each other in hushed, wide-eyed tones. The Christmas photos, as viewed today, reveal our concerns. While the adults are all winks and smiles, the children are deer in headlights, lost in thought, attempting to make sense of the fact that once again, Gramps had survived another year. There, of course, we no captions under photos then, except for the ones we wrote on our yellowing Polaroids. If there had been, the parents might have written:”Look! We got ‘em again! Boy, are those kids gullible!” while ours might have read, “Gramps’s last Christmas – Staying strong for him.” Instead we read Christmas ’78 (or ‘88 or ‘92 or any year in between ’75 and ’94, the year we were old enough to know better or to recognize the game).
That’s why the funeral seemed a bit too dramatic. I suppose I was waiting in vain for something amusing to happen, as it always did with things that were somber or serious.
As the service continued, I lifted my gaze away from the speaker, away from my family, away from the open casket, and up to the projected picture. It was Gramps alright... And that’s when I noticed it. I blinked and took a double take. Oh my gosh, it was really true! I nudged my cousin, Kristi, on the right of me. She looked at me, confused. I tried to stifle a giggle.
“What?” she hissed, her voice teetering on the fine line between horrified and amused. We were, after all, at our grandfather’s funeral.
“Gramps,” I said, barely able to speak over my brewing laughter. I pointed discreetly at the picture. “Look, Kris! His pants are unzipped.”
This post was inspired by the Loose Bloggers Consortium, a small and feisty(!) global community. We write weekly on a common topic ("Humor" this week) and post responses - all of us together, simultaneously, from all over the world. (Lovely!) Please visit Anu, Ashok, Conrad, gaelikaa, Grannymar, Judy, Magpie 11, Maria and Ramana for other wonderful posts.