A few weeks ago, an event of epic proportions struck the quiet lives of the residents in our small town. For the first time in Owensville history, the board outside the funeral home was completely filled, and still there were more funerals that wouldn't even fit. In fact, there were five funerals in one weekend. We* concluded that we have never seen anything like it.
*We=The Church Ladies and me as we tried to figure out if we could make post-funeral dinner for all of them. We ended up only doing one dinner. And it's a darn good thing, because I'm pretty sure I would have been the last Church Lady standing by the end of the day.
Since moving to Owensville, I have been welcomed as one of "The Church Ladies." You know, the ones that always cook the meals, volunteer for things (like belles), take care of the church garden, and make the applebutter? That's me. Maybe it's because they like my company or maybe it's because I'm young and I do what I'm told, like wash dishes and go around to ask people if they need drink refills. Who knows? Anyway, one of our Church Lady duties is post-funeral dinner duty, which means, if you didn't catch it, that we make a meal to serve the funeral guests when they return from the cemetery. I usually miss participating in this job duty since most funerals are during the day and I have a job, but the Infamous Weekend of Five Funerals is a different story.
When Grammy, Mom and I arrived that weekend, we first attended a funeral. We sat right by the organ and the back door, because when it was over, we had to hustle over to the church to start getting things ready for the meal. Then, my job duties went a little like this:
Julie's Church-Lady-Post-Funeral-Dinner Job Duties:
1) Get more turkey, bread and cheese. Right when we arrived, a crisis was upon us. There were more people at the funeral than we were expecting. So, after laboring over numbers and estimated serving sizes, we decided that we needed more, so Grammy, Mom and I were sent on Operation Get More Food. First, however, we called ahead to the deli/bakery/liquor store to tell them what we needed, and since I'm the Church Lady that doesn't need bifocals, I read what the shopping list said to one of the other Church Ladies who dictated it over the phone. Then, while I was utilizing my bifocal-less vision, Mom and Grammy left me and went to the store without me. Luckily, and since nothing is really that far in Owensville, the deli/bakery/liquor store is less than a block away, so I just walked up there and met them. Now, if you were doubting our confidence in this establishment, doubt no more. When we walked in the door they had everything we needed ready for us and all we had to do was pay for it. They must have known we were in a bind! Anyway, I ran back to the church, bags in hand, and arrived just in time for the Church Ladies to start arranging it all on plates. Crisis averted.
2) Make Sure the Pies and Other Homemade Desserts are Fully Stocked Duty.
3) Don't Add Any More Plates to the Line Without Telling Someone Because That is How They Count How Many People Came Duty.
4) Dishes Duty. Need I say more? Honestly, I like doing dishes, so this doesn't bother me at all. Plus, post-funeral dinners seem to stress the Church Ladies out so I feel it is best that I just stick with the sink.
It was eventful, that's for sure.
Whenever there are funerals in town Grammy, Papa and I talk about death a lot. That is one very different part of living with Grammy and Papa as opposed to living with my sorority sisters. Whenever I go visit my friends, we talk about what we want to do with the rest of our lives and we go to weddings and baby showers, but when I come back to Owensville, Grammy, Papa and I talk about who just moved to the nursing home or who just got a hip replacement and we go to funerals. The contrast kind of gives me whiplash. Anyway, while talking about death at dinner with Grammy and Papa, Grammy told us that when she dies she wants to be cremated so we can have her funeral whenever is convenient for us and we don't have to worry about all this quick planning because she wants us to have a big party. We asked Papa what he wanted when he dies and he just looked at Grammy and said:
Papa: I'll decide when you're gone.
Grammy: Maybe I'll just fool you all and outlive you!
Papa: I don't think so.
He's so optimistic. It must run in his family. Grammy was telling us about Papa's sister Betty and how Betty goes to Las Vegas every year and always wins big so that she can pay for her trip the next year. Aunt Betty says you just have to go in there knowing you're going to win and you will. Apparently it's all in your head. I guess Papa just tells himself that he's going to live for 10 more years, so he will. I guess I'm just going to have to think of something wonderful to convince myself I'll do!