I was sitting at my desk last week bickering away with my coworker Ol' Mean Ass Cynthia about some paperwork when my cell phone rang...
"May I speak to Lesia?"
"This is she."
It was my father. (I posted about meeting him back in January: see Face to Face with my Father).
"Wanted to tell you that your Uncle Willie died."
"Whoa. Sorry to hear that."
"I 'on know."
"Well, when's the funeral?"
He put the phone down and yelled to someone else in the room, his sister, I think.
She yelled back something.
"It's Monday, at 1:00."
"Okay," I said.
"Bye," I said.
That was a quick conversation.
Interesting. I think he wanted me to come over that evening. I don't know. I thought about that some two days later after the fact.
I ain't a mind reader. And I ain't family oriented.
Better say what you mean, and mean what you say.
But I thought about all this. I could at least go to the funeral. (Yeah, I am just that slow.)
I wasn't going to go because I have a lot of crap going on at work.
But morale on the job is in the toilet (mine ain't that much further behind), and I promised myself if I have something to do, I'd ditch the job, no matter what's going on. (Mind you, this "something to do" includes picking fuzz balls out of the carpet).
Plus, it would have been selfish for me not to go pay my respects...
Especially since Milton picked up the phone to call me.
I haven't heard from him since I met him last January. I haven't called. It just hasn't been that type of thing, you know?
I wasn't going to go to the funeral, though. I was going to drop a plant off at the funeral home and sign the book. On Sunday afternoon, I hit up 2 Kroger stores in the rain, and finally found a peace lily. I took it down to the funeral home and signed the book.
He lay out in the casket in a light blue suit.
I was a bit, uh taken aback by the white furry Kang.ol cap in his hands.
Wasn't expecting to see that AT ALL.
(You could tell he was probably around the house with his hat on yelling "Ya'll better bury me in this here hat! This my favorite hat!").
I had a moment of silence. I didn't know the man, I just remember him from when I was five years old, how he was jet black with VERY light green-brown eyes. Even at that age it struck me as odd, a dark skin man with light light eyes.
He walked into the room and said hello that night I visited my father back in January. And disappeared just as quick.
But, after MUCH intervention from my best friend LadyTee, I decided to go to the funeral.
"Girl, go up in there and show your face, make sure yo Pa see you, and keep it moving!"
(LadyTee is big on going to funerals and various other functions and "showing her face").
I reluctantly went to work Monday morning, because I had some work to turn in.
It was a yucky rainy day, I was PMSing, and was even short with a few people (my bad to those I was snippy with).
But I made my way over to the funeral. It was only a couple of blocks from Milton's house, and the family was asked to meet at the residence at noon.
I decided not to get caught up in that. I just went straight for the church.
Anyway, I found my way in. There were only a few people there. The usher headed my way.
"Ma'am," I said. "Where can I sit?"
"Are you family?" she asked.
By that time, another usher had showed up. They were both staring mighty hard at me.
"Are you family?" the Usher asked again.
"Uh, uh, uh..." I stuttered. "I guess you could say that."
"Yes, you are family, then. You can sit over there." She pointed towards the middle section.
"Can I sit in the back?" I asked.
Both ushers peered at me curiously.
I decided to just let it go because I was confusing them terribly. I set near a small group of people in the back.
And you know how black folk are.
One older lady squinted at me. "Who are you?" she asked.
"I'm Milton's daughter," I said. There was no need to give my name. They don't know my name.
"Ooooh," she chimed. She flashed a denture smile. "Milton's daughter!"
Well, your grandmother and my mother were sisters."
Wow. I hope she didn't see the crazy expression flash across my face. She was at least a good 75 years old.
When I think of a "cousin", I think of someone around my age.
"We are cousins," she said. "I am your cousin."
"I guess so," was all I could think to say. She continued smiling hard at me.
Now, the funeral wasn't until 1:00 pm, but I got to the church around 12:15 or so. It was pretty quiet, with people coming in and mulling around. So, I kind of just sat to myself and waited.
I scavenged around in my purse for my trusty little "to do" notebook. I sat there in the pew and made up my 1 month, 3 month, and 6 month financial goals. Even worked on my budget a little bit.
Then my father walked past me.
I wanted to call out to him, and say hello, but for some reason, I wasn't sure that was him. He looked a little different in all that light. He went up and looked at his brother in the casket, then sat down on the front row. Someone came and got him to line up and march in with the family.
I figured I would talk to him afterwards.
Anyway, the funeral went as funerals go...
(Old Testament, New Testament)
Obituary (read silently to yourself, even though you've read it a good 5 times already)
I was leaning HARD against the side of the pew, pondering hard about EVERYTHING, even thinking of a way to pull out my little notebook for more mindless scribblings...
Until the Remarks...
And notice that I put that in RED.
The remarks woke an Oldgirl up...
To be continued.
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