This afternoon, much to my dread because of the time it would take out of a day I would spend in front of a computer just like any other day anyway, I found myself in a car driving along country roads to the funeral of a man I had never met.
Once in the funeral parlor, I saw the deceased, lying primly in the casket, arms folded, in brand-spanking-new overalls, which seemed to be what he had felt most at home in. A fitting send-off.
I sat in a pew, toward the back as my ride was going to have to leave early, so the only people I knew, my co-workers, were sitting in front, and I looked at the program. The funeral was to start at 2:00 p.m. My watch said 1:20 p.m. Forty minutes to go.
My Mormon co-worker -- and my ride-- came over to me, and she had been dreading the funeral as much as I had, so she came outside with me while I had a ciggie to pass the time, and she said those were the moments she missed smoking.
That took ten minutes
Then the preacher got up, and I knew I was in trouble when he said, "Baptist." Yup, we got to hear that while it was okay to grieve, really, this was a time of rejoicing as the dead was now with God, and that he knew that the dead would want us to know that if we didn't accept Jesus, we would go to hell on a greased pole. He almost said that verbatim.
The preacher did not even know the deceased. I sat and folded and unfolded my program into a fan over and over again to refrain from getting up and walking out. As soon as I got without of earshot of the funeral home, I said to my Mormon companion, "I fucking hate baptists!"
We talked about theology on the half hour ride back to the office, which is always interesting, the Mormon and the Ex-Mormon, and I'm trying to explain to her the protestant views of being saved by grace, and not works, even though she was raised Presbytarian and I was raised Mormon.
I then explained to her that the Presbytarians, Methodists, and Catholics all declared in 2001 that Mormon baptisms are not Christian and that Mormons are heretics-- mostly because of different understandings of the Trinity. Her response was the same as that of Mormon leaders at the time? "So? We re-baptize anyone because their baptisms don't mean anything."
She concluded that perhaps I should just re-join the Mormon Church, and I said, "I'm afraid that is not in the plans."
Then we parted, agreeing to talk more about theology later, and I went to my office and found the message light on on my phone.
The first message is from Dereck, who is crying: our neighbor found our most favoritest, and bestest Boonie cat ever dead in his yard. I had called every vet in the area and the humane society looking for him in the morning. We do not know what happened to him.
The next message is from Christian's teacher: Christian has said something that she wants to alert me to before the weekend, so could I please call her? It is 3:10, so school is already out. Dereck had to teach at 3:30. But I made an executive decision and chose to deal with the human child first, and called the teacher. We had a great conversation, as always-- I have known her for years, and I promised to observe his behavior this weekend and report back to her via email on Monday.
By the time I got off the phone with her, Dereck was in class. I decided that no more grant writing was going to be done by me that day, so I went and told my grant writing partner what was going on, and then I left. I called Liza and went, "Blaaaahhhhh!!" And then went over to her house for coffee, to delay telling the children about Boone, and went "Blaaaahhhhhhh!!!!" Some more.
I described the funeral wickedly at her table, showing no mercy for anyone, and was making inappropriate jokes at a frantic rate-- I did not cry about Boone until Midnight. I called my neighbor to see if one of her kids could sit for the boys Saturday morning while I return to Liza's because her Greek Orthodox priest is coming up for a luncheon, and I would like to meet him. While I was talking to my neighbor, she asked me if I knew that she and her husband had been separated for three years, and he has his own apartment. Well, that apartment must be attached to her house, because he is *there* all the time, and I don't think anybody knows they are separated. Believe me, there are no secrets in this town.
That news stunned me, for various reasons, and at one point I said loudly in Liza's kitchen, "If anything happened to MY marriage, I wouldn't..." I had been about to declare that I would not stay in Kirksville when suddenly my own words hit me full force: Um, something DID happen to my marriage, I DID stay in Kirksville, and I am NOT presently married! I just threw back my head and roared with laughter.
Clearly, I was hysterical.
I finally got hold of Dereck and we talked for a little bit, but then he had a meeting to go to, so we hung up. We had been planning to have Liza and the kids come for dinner, and she wanted to know if we wanted private family time, but I said NO because I didn't want us to just sit around and cry all night.
I finished my coffee, and went to get the kids. Sam was peaked and said he wanted to go home and go to bed, and when I told him about Boone, he burst into tears. After I paid for the After-School Program, I have $45 left until payday.
We go get the younger two, I tell them about Boone, and Tommy cries, and Christian declares that he is happy. I just gave him a withering look. He is clearly not happy about Boone's death and he is talking about it more than the other boys, but for whatever reasons, he chooses to react the way he does, and I am choosing to ignore him.
I came home and took Sam's temperature after he said he wanted me to turn up the heat in the house, and when it hit 101.4, I called Liza in the interest of full disclosure. She said in all likelihood her kids gave it to Sam, so she would still come.
I rolled out the dough I had made earlier in the day for pizza's and started adding toppings. Liza and kids came over, then she forgot ice cream on her kitchen table and went to the store for pepperoni for me, and Dereck came home and we were sad about our kitty.
Then Liza returned, the pizzas went into the oven, and we had a nice dinner/evening.
After Liza left and I got kids to bed, fairly quickly-- they were tired-- Dereck went and got Before Sunset for us to watch. Wow. It was a perfect follow-up to our much beloved Before Sunrise.
At the end of the movie, I put my face into my hands and wept for my kitty, and Dereck held me.
And then, we walked the dog a little, and he showed me where he had found Boone at the neighbor's, and we wondered again what could have happened-- no signs of trauma, but he was lying in an odd position.
And then, exhausted, we went to sleep, and thanfully, last night Mr. Kitty took pity on us and didn't wake us up at 5:oo a.m.
This morning, I got up with Dereck's alarm at 8:00 a.m. and went to Hy-Vee for stuff to make salad to take to Liza's, and for wrapping paper for Sam's birthday presents. His birthday is on the 23rd, but he will be in Cleveland with Mark, and gone next weekend as well. He asked for a huge Star Wars Lego set, so I decided to give him his presents this morning so he could have the weekend with them and this week before he leaves for Cleveland-- it makes no sense to wait until tomorrow night.
So, came home, wrapped the presents, gave him his presents, which he loved, and also gave him cough drops and vitamin C drops, and so he is playing on the living room floor (building, I should say) and coughing, and Dereck has left for his philosophy and religion conference, and I have to make salad, unload the dishwasher, load it again (we are hosting a 50th birthday party this evening for Bob Mielke), take a shower, and go to Liza's, and then this afternoon, finish cleaning the house (read: watch Before Sunset again while folding many baskets of laundry), go shopping for booze and appetizers, have a nice dinner with the kids, get them to bed before people start coming for the party.
Just a nice, relaxing weekend.
No plans tomorrow, though I told Carol I would go to Mass with her, either at 5:30 p.m. today or tomorrow morning at 9:00 a.m. Though, the Newman Center, two blocks from my house, also has Mass tomorrow night at 7:00 p.m., and that might just be the way to go.
What are your weekend plans?