The visitation started at 8:30. I wasn't hungry before we left and that has nothing to do with the two pieces of apple strudel, three slices of blueberry bread, two brownies, and four potato rolls that I had eaten the night before at Rita and Larry's house. Plus the beef tips and the squash casserole, which was a big hit. Not hungry the next morning. What's that all about?
In the church basement with the brownies, bars and cookies.
By 9:30, I was getting hungry, but the lunch wouldn't be until after the burial and the funeral (with Mass) didn't start until 11. I went downstairs to see if there was anything to eat there and yes! the church ladies had started to bring the desserts. I asked if I could have some (cheerios and peanut butter bars with M&Ms) and it was OK. I had created good karma for myself at the funeral I helped with at St Matthews when the woman had wanted something to eat before the funeral and despite my instinctive reaction of, "No! Those are for after the funeral," I said, "Sure" because really did it matter when someone eats the brownie? The dead person doesn't care and the family probably didn't care and they are the ones paying for the whole thing.
When I die, I don't want to spend a lot of money on the casket and vault (thank you, Wisconsin law, for making people waste even more money), but I do want a huge party. I want tons of good food for the people who come. And none of this "celebrating my life" nonsense. I want mourning. I want sorrow that I am dead. You can eat well even when you are sad.
My cousin Matt and his wife Shelly's little boy Wyatt. Could you just not eat this kid with a spoon?
My mom came down and introduced me to the church ladies, both of whom had known my dad. "I went out with your dad," one of them told me. Well well well. "He went out with everyone. He got around." Well! My mom wanted me to come back upstairs for the 10:00 rosary, but I stayed to hear more stories about my dad.
My dad with some other woman.
I also did not want to go back into the church. I had no interest in seeing my grandmother's body. My aunt Mary Ann had been to the funeral home the day before to see her and told me that my grandmother did not Look Like Herself.
I knew exactly what she meant. My dad did not Look Like Himself in the casket. He looked awful. My dad did not wear makeup when he was alive (as far as I know) and he did not stuff cotton in his cheeks. My granma Sylvia looked a little more Like Herself except for the pink lipstick, but then Ilene put red, red lipstick on her and then she looked like she was supposed to.
If I am not going to Look Like Myself in my casket, I want to look like Cindy Crawford or Michelle Pfeiffer. If I can't Look Like Myself, I want to look better than myself. I would settle for that right now -- looking better than myself.
Dr J and I were the last ones to eat because we left the cemetery and went to the gas station to pick up some diet sodas. We both needed caffeine. Not that there wasn't caffeine at the church. The church ladies had made two huge pots of coffee, one of them snapping (as much as anyone snaps in the upper Midwest) at the other that yes, she knew how to make coffee for a crowd -- didn't she make coffee for 750 people every Sunday? I don't know where those 750 people came from -- the town of Dorchester has only about 800 people and they are not all Catholic. Maybe she said 250. I don't remember. I was getting a headache and I was hungry.
Wyatt and his sister Emily.