When we got to the funeral home, a little bit of surreality kicked in. The place itself is in a small strip center with it on one end, a church on the other and a bar in the middle. If there had been a small restaurant or grocery store, many people could have lived their entire lives without having to leave that parking lot.
The entire thing was quiet and low-key (not that funerals have been renowned for being high energy affairs). Even my mother (who eventually made it) was quiet. And, of course, there were glitches but nothing major. I suggested to Welsh Girl that she could probably get a job at a funeral home editing their programs because I was assaulted by misspellings and mistakes all over the place. I guess the grieving and the dead don't notice. Since I was neither, I couldn't help it, I guess. It was strange that there were six or eight pastors there from all over the state. A couple, it turned out knew my father but where the others came from? I have no idea. My aunt (the one who organized it) sang at one point and then completely broke down in tears. You ever see a movie where some member in a black church is completely overwhelmed and falls to the ground crying, screaming to God "Oh Lord WHY?!?!?" over and over? Well, that was her. I didn't have the heart to tell her it was because my father treated his body badly in his youth and probably not too much better after. The sermon and other speakers made some direct references to me as my father living on. I managed for the crowd to seem accepting of this, though Welsh Girl mentioned that I visibly rolled my eyes at one specific mention in the service regarding my hair (don't ask). When it was time to move the coffin, apparently the pallbearers listed weren't there so some people attending were drafted. Of course, I moved the big ass box into the hearse. I could give that much.
It rained heavily in San Antonio yesterday. Why is this of note? Because, thanks to flash flooding, it was decided to take a non-standard route to the cemetery. This created problems. First of all, the trip to the grave side took over an hour. Yes, over an hour. 35 miles-ish at the speed of a hearse... Second, we had to drive around SA and come out the other side to get there. We had no fucking clue where the hell we were most of the time. Third, the Despoina exploded about halfway through the trip and we got a half hour of screaming we couldn't do much about. We couldn't change her because we were moving. We couldn't feed her because the bottles were in the trunk. And we couldn't stop and pull out because we had no clue where the hell we were going. Fourth, we were all ready to gnaw our arms off we were so hungry. Not all of us had breakfast and I didn't know that when the service was over at 1130, we'd be in cars until almost one in the PM. Did you know that baby screams resonate with hunger pangs like a tuning fork resonates with a guitar string? I didn't until yesterday.
We finally got there and surreality kicked in again. We turned into the cemetery and it looked as if a flower truck and a Chinese plastics plant had collided and vomited plastic flowers all over the landscape. I thought we had driven into a Twilight Zone episode. Turns out most of the place's residents are hispanic and Day of the Dead visitations bring out a lot of people with a lot of mementos for the dead. Touching, but you should have seen it... Of course, with the rain, they couldn't dig so the final words were said and we was temporarily entombed until the rains abate. But it was finished.
The first order of business was that everyone caravaned over to a nearby convenience store for munchies, bathrooms and gas. That's when people actually started meeting people. Met my two of my father's half sisters (turns out that he has three sisters I didn't even know existed). Got a lot of "you were this high the last time I saw you" from several sources. Heated up water to heat up food for the Despoina. The usual, I guess...
After that we went over to my aunt's church where they made food for everyone. Nice spread but it was so late that we had little time to stay. It was enough, though. I think everyone found the entire thing a little grueling. We ate and talked and eventually we all went our separate ways. But boy was it a grueling day on everyone involved.
Most valuable player goes to Welsh Mom and Dad. Them driving and helping with the Despoina helped a lot. Welsh Girl was definitely a trooper for putting up with my crazy ass (and in some cases completely unknown) family. The Despoina, of course, persevered in her own inimitable style. I of course, learned several valuable things that I can pass on to her when the time comes. And now that it is over, back to my regularly scheduled life.
That is all.
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