Wednesday, November 22, 2006

On funerals

I've been to two funerals in the last week. I go to more funerals now than I do weddings or baptisms. Such is life... and death.

Yesterday, Carolie, Patrick, and I went to the funeral for former Rep. Jeff Hansen, whose son, Adam, has been a friend of Pat's since kindergarten days. Adam is one of the Twins batboys and graduated from Woodbury High School in June, as did Patrick. And he's a darned nice kid.

Eighteen is too young an age to be burying your father and it was hard watching Adams watching his father for the last time.

I find funerals, however, fascinating. The religious part of it, of course, is always worthy of thought and consideration but I also feel at times that funerals are the last great act of theater. I can't go to a funeral anymore without leaving thinking the person must've been the greatest person that ever walked the face of the earth; and perhaps they are. If they were as described, they were and are all better people than I'll ever be; not that I set the bar particularly high for that sort of thing.

Tell the truth, though. Do you ever sit at a funeral and think, "I wonder how many people will come to mine?" Or, "what will they say about me?" I kind of think I'd rather have a eulogy that says something like, "he really tried to be good at what he did, but what made him such a schmuck?"

Also yesterday, they had the funeral for Ed Bradley in New York and, as expected, it was a jazz funeral. Bradley, apparently, really was as good as they say he was and the funeral appeared to be a party, which is what funerals should be.

At Jeff's funeral yesterday, I half expected "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" to be on the list of hymns since he was such a big baseball fan, but no.... it was pretty standard stuff.

It better be at mine. How cool would it be to have a huge pipe organ in a church belting out Take Me Out to the Ballgame?

The only other request I have just for the record -- is for a small band of some sort that can play decent Greatful Dead music to play "Ripple."

If my words did glow with the gold of sunshine
And my tunes were played on the harp unstrung
Would you hear my voice come through the music
Would you hold it near as it were your own?

It's a hand-me-down, the thoughts are broken
Perhaps they're better left unsung
I don't know, don't really care
Let there be songs to fill the air


Ripple in still water
When there is no pebble tossed
Nor wind to blow

Reach out your hand if your cup be empty
If your cup is full may it be again
Let it be known there is a fountain
That was not made by the hands of men

There is a road, no simple highway
Between the dawn and the dark of night
And if you go no one may follow
That path is for your steps alone


You who choose to lead must follow
But if you fall you fall alone
If you should stand then who's to guide you?
If I knew the way I would take you home

Here, listen to it. (RealAudio required)

If funerals are a celebration, why don't we actually celebrate?

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