Wednesday, December 12, 2012

18 Wheeler Burial

This story is a little hard to follow, so just be patient with me. I didn't know of a better way to tell it.

Jim died in the early 70’s, and was buried in a family cemetery in central Alabama. Ruth, his widow remarried her widowed boss years later. Soon after the nuptials were exchanged, her family became concerned about the manner in which her new husband treated her. He wasn't very considerate. It was actually just a conflict. They were in love with the same person: him.

It probably wasn’t his fault. After all, he didn’t even have a real name. He had initials. His name was DA. I swear, it is the truth. Ok, the initials may have been changed to protect innocent people in this family’s story, but otherwise it is all the truth. The D and the A didn’t stand for anything, (well not officially); that was truly his name. When I was little, I knew of a little boy named Ronald Bryan who was called RG. That made sense. But this man’s name was DA. What could one expect of someone who didn’t have a real name? He was probably bullied as a child because of it.

So, DA, being the insensitive individual that he was, bless his heart, outlived Ruth and had her laid to eternal rest in a mausoleum in an affluent city in Florida, right next to his first wife, Mary. Ruth’s family was incensed and privately wondered among themselves if he got a discount for having his own row of wives in the mausoleum-kind of a quantity discount, if you will. Ahem.

Ruth’s two sons would have preferred that their mother be buried next to their father in Alabama, but DA forgot to ask them. So their opinion was a moot point; well, sort of.  Did I say “eternal rest” earlier? Sorry, maybe I should have said “rest stop”.

DA remarried not long after he sent Ruth to her rest stop at the mausoleum. But he outlived this wife too. I am sure she was laid to rest on his row at the same cemetery, but I didn’t check. He also outlived one of Ruth’s sons. The other son, Scott, contracted cancer and his life appeared to be coming to a close.  Scott’s niece Abby and her family came for a visit. While in town, she phoned DA, to the shock and surprise of her family. She explained that he had been her step-grandfather, so she was curious about him. Two weeks, later, DA died unexpectedly. (As unexpectedly as a 95 year old man can die.) Her very insensitive family, bless their hearts, laughed and hollered accusing Abby of somehow causing his death with her phone call.

Scott almost jumped for joy. Unbeknownst to everyone else, Scott had been waiting for DA’s death. He had been determined to outlive him even if only for 5 minutes. With DA dead, Scott was now legally his mother’s next of kin. As her rightful, legal next of kin, he decided to have her transferred off of the DA row at the mausoleum to the family burial cemetery in Alabama. She would be buried next to her first husband and Scott’s dad.

Abby heard about this and scrunched up her face. She thought the whole thing was a little creepy. She made a mental note in her head to go see the movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers ”. Abby thought that the dead should be left to rest in their place and not disturbed.

Scott seemed to be in remission and showed signs of strengthened health as he began to planning for her body to be transferred. He quickly discovered that it would be a lot more expensive to have her moved than he thought. He stewed about this problem for a while, and finally arrived at a solution.

Scott’s son Timmy was a brawny man who drove eighteen wheelers for a living. He drove from Miami northward to all kinds of destinations in the Northern U.S. Scott would have Timmy to pick up a load in Miami, then go to the city in Florida that had the cemetery where his mother was, pick her up and put her casket on the back of the trailer. With the truck loaded with his cargo and grandma, Timmy would drive Granny to Alabama and drop her off at her final resting place (hopefully) and be buried next to Scott’s dad.

Ummm, yeah. This was really happening. 

Abby heard about these plans and was mortified. Oh. My. God. Tell me this isn’t happening; not anywhere in the world; not in this country; in my family; Oh My. God. Abby thought. “No!!! Tell me this is not going to happen!” she said.  “Please tell me, tell me that ya’ll are not going to move my Granny Ruth, my DEAD Granny Ruth, from her resting place in Florida to a grave in Alabama, on the back of an eighteen wheeler?! Please tell me that Timmy will not be tooling all over Florida and Alabama with Granny Ruth in the back of his truck? ” Abby didn’t know whether she should laugh or cry. This had to be the most preposterous, redneck thing that had ever occurred in her life, much less than in her family. This was even worse than the stories about Uncle Billy roasting road kill on the boy’s weekend of camping years ago with his son-in-law and Abby’s Dad.

A visual thinker, Abby’s imagination began churning. Timmy is driving along, with a load of widgets in his eighteen wheeler, Grannys casket perched on top of a box of the widgets on the tail end of the truck. On the way to Detroit, Michigan, Timmy will just drop her dead butt in Alabama. But, two hours before he arrives at the cemetery in Alabama, a car pulls out in front of him. He has to slam on brakes to keep from running completely over the car. His truck subsequently jack knives, causing the load to shift. The load slams against the back door, breaks the bars holding the doors closed. Then the broken doors swing open, Granny’s casket becomes airborne, at which point Granny Ruth’s body is extricated from the casket, and flies solo, landing on the hood of some poor soul’s car. . The police would be called, along with the fire truck and ambulance. Traffic would be stopped. The paramedics would go to the body on the hood of the car and try to revive a woman who had been dead for over sixteen years, not to mention embalmed. At some point they would realize that there was something bad wrong, and the whole family would be featured on CNN News. People would be interviewed. The media would find a toothless, obese woman to say, “Yeah, I seen it all! At first, I thought it was a UFO coming at us! Then, I realized, it was a woman and a casket. Then I walked over to look at her and realized somethin’ wasn’t right ‘tall. And I says to my husband, ‘Floyd, somthin’ ain’t rite here!’” Talk about a nightmare! This whole thing was crazy. Indeed, this was one of the few times that Abby was actually comforted by the fact that her father was dead; at least he wasn’t here to witness this. She also secretly decided that if this scenario did play out anywhere remotely like her imagination pictured, she would change her last name from Watson to Smith.

Abby was invited to a short prayerful ceremony at the destination cemetery, which she respectfully declined on the grounds that if Granny Ruth was unhappy with the whole disturbance and her ride on the back of the truck, she would not be implicated and later haunted.

Luckily, the body was transferred without incident and Scott seemed quite pleased with himself. (Thanks be to God. Abby shuttered at the thought of what Act II might involve if Scott were not satisfied).  Abby didn’t go within 100 miles of the ceremony and there was no involvement with CNN for anyone in the family. Scott said that was the last thing that he was waiting to accomplish in this lifetime and true to his word, died within six months. He was buried in the same cemetery in Alabama. And as of this writing, everyone is still where they were buried.

Thanks be to God and Amen.


Thanksgiving Challenge and Joy Dare:

Today, I am thankful for:
355. Warm covers
356. The new covenant
357. Books
358. Decorated Christmas tree
359. My health

copyright 2012 by Kathy Robbins

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