Monday, July 20, 2009

Anthony's Funereal

It's a four day weekend for me. Sort of. The rough week wrapped up Friday at the wife's cousin's funereal.

Not exactly a fun day off. The funereal was well attended as Anthony was popular and friendly. I followed a motorcycle in the procession. We went early for the "family" viewing before they closed the casket for the remainder of the viewing. I'm not sure why they did that because as they say in South Philly, "He looked good".

At least that's what they say at Nunzio's, our family undertaker in South Philly. At Nunzio's, you bless yourself, quietly view the body, find a circle of friends and family, do you best Silvio from the Soprano's impression and then say "He looked good". Except my cousin Joey, who doesn't enter the room with the body.

At funereals we get to see family we haven't seen in a while as well. My wife's cousin Dale was there. Well, he was Dale, now he's Armond. The family isn't quite used to calling him Armond yet so his name comes out Dale-I-mean-Armond. Dale-I-mean-Armond didn't recognize my 23 year old niece. The last time he saw her she was wearing outfits with winnie the pooh. Quite a difference.

My wife spent her time trying to match-make 23 year old niece and funereal worker Ken. "He's good looking, has a good job, you should give him your number". It seemed a little inappropriate. Dale-I-mean-Armond brought one of his workers with him and he seemed to be hitting on 23 year old niece. More inappropriate.

There was a funereal Mass as well. The older I get, the more Mass becomes a play on a stage. There's lights, music and actors in costume on a platform. This Mass had two priests, and older one and younger. The Younger enunciated all of his lines like he was Sir Laurence Olivier in Hamlet. He was the exact opposite of Father Mumbles. It was a first class production with a full choir and alter boys and Younger was going for a Tony.

They had Incense too. They lit the incense and circled the casket with it all the while shaking it back and forth. I never understood that one. When the incense comes out, it's a thin line between religious ceremony and Voo-doo.

And then there is the kneeling. Up down up down and I keep bumping into the pew in front of me. Airlines have adjusted seat widths over the years to accomodate larger rear ends but pews are the same distance between each other as when we didn't have enough to eat. By the second round I did the half kneel, half sit. Knees on the kneeler but rear on the seat. I was waiting for Sister Jasmine to come up behind me with a clicker and then wrap my knuckles with a ruler.

The procession for Anthony's funereal went all through the main line from Malvern to almost Devon on US 30 in the middle of the day. It was a long procession with about 50 cars.

Nunzio likes to race with the procession. Most of our family processions start in South Philly and and end up in Yeadon at Holy Cross Cemetery. Once Nunzy gets the procession out of the congestion of the city, he drives at nearly 50 till just outside the cemetery. It's quite a sight as the hearse flies over railroad crossings, almost getting air. It's like he says to himself, what the hell, are they going to pull us over for speeding? I guess not since we are already running red lights. You might as well go for it.

In the end my wife had to go back to work at 4 and we were concerned that the shore traffic was going to kill us so we skipped the luncheon and headed back.

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