Thursday, July 31, 2008

Funerals are family reunions

Yeah, I know, everyone knows that. But it's especially true for my family. I have about 9 first cousins and never see them. So, going through the receiving line at the wake, 'how are you' to me was replied with 'I'm getting divorced and just bought a house' and then waited to see which one they'd respond to more and how they'd respond. One cousin looks at me, say, well, how many marriages that have lasted a long time do you know are happy?. Then she proceeds to tell me she's been married for 24 years this year. Wonder if she noted the connection?

The best part was seeing a couple of the old old relatives. My dad's uncle Peter is a year older than he was, and he and his wife (married for 58 years, and looking happy btw) told some stories about growing up with my dad and my uncle. So that was nice. I remembered the story of my dad randomly meeting him on a street in Germany during the war and noted that to Uncle Peter - and he says 'that's about the closest I ever got to combat during the war' (my dad had surprised him). Another Uncle Peter I haven't seen in a long time was there. I remember giving him shit and him giving me shit - he always has a grumpy face but he's a great guy and does joke around, so I was trying to make him smile. When he and his wife were leaving my brother tried to give him his wife's cane to make him use it, so he shook my brother's hand and almost had him to his knees with his grip - in a friendly 'I still got the goods so don't mess with me' sort of way. Which I"m sure was great for his ego.

Oh, after the wake the 9 of us (my immediate family) got pizza at Crusty's across from the funeral home and brought it to the hotel. I was in charge of getting it. We asked a random guy going in if it was good pizza, and he said the best in RI. Went in and saw it's run by two older Italian men. Ordering the pizza the bald one brought a pizza to a teenage girl who he obviously knew - she asked for plates and he joked with her and handed her one at a time. So, when I came back 20 minutes later to pick up the pizzas, and asked for plates, he looked at me wondering if I was serious. I said I really needed them, so he pulls out the stack and wants to start the routine of one at a time. So I grabbed the whole stack out of his hand, and he immediately picked up the pizza boxes and walked to the back of the kitchen. So then there was a truce and I got plates and my pizza. Hard to explain the interaction, but it was fun and reminded me of my dad. And it was very good pizza - Crusty's in Warwick, RI. A bit salty, but good.

BTW, I cannot say Warwick with the 'r'. I say it like Waw - wick. Same with Warsaw. That's how you know I'm from RI.

There's drama and sadness also, but I don't feel like writing about it. Hope all are well.


WNG said...

I'm glad that even through the drama and sadness you found the funny guy in the pizza place. Not everyone does that, you know :-)

Susan said...

I love some Italian men. Grrr.

Tara said...

I remember my mom and dad getting into a subdued argument when one of my uncles died. My dad didn't think I should go because it shouldn't be the only time I reunite with my cousins, but my mom disagreed and won. So we all went, and yeah I got to see some of my cousins I hadn't seen in awhile and some nice aunts and uncles.

M. Robert Turnage said...

I am glad you have some happy memories to mix in with the sad ones.

evil-e said...

We have had a ton of funerals in our family and there always seems to be some sort of drama....if it's not drunken relatives, it's years of resentment and so on.

Your title brings to mind the second most annoying funeral-ism behind "they really made him look good" and that is "we really have to get together one of these days, and not at a funeral".

NoRegrets said...

Yes, I'm glad too WNG.
And these were older ones to boot Susan!
Funerals really are family reunions. And important to go to.
Yup, thanks MRT.
Evile- there's not often drama at ours. This was after the wake actually...