By the time their Dad passed
away we had all been conditioned to the reality of his death through his
having gone through so many life threatening hemorrhages. As a young man
he had an accident on a horse which damaged the tissue inside his sinuses
and nose so badly it caused him grief for his whole life. The few years
before he died, it was a real hazzard. One doctor literally refined his
skills from working with the man in trying to stop the bleeding.
Ultimately, a balloon was inserted into his nostril, inflated and acted to
hold pressure, and in this way the doctor was able to stop the bleeding.
One could not see their Dad's
beautiful clear blue eyes while he was resting in the sleep of death. The
coat of the same color was a reminder though. His lovely hands were
folding in such a way they became striking in their unusual beauty for a
man. All and all, it wasn't a terribly sad site for his daughter. The
funeral director was more of a friend to the town than anything else. He
and his own aged father were masters' of their skill and all was
respectfully and artfully ready for the funeral.
Lee's daughter remained at
home away from the gathering of family and ministers. An evening service
there beside her father was to be attended by a number of different
ministers as is often the custom of the Indian people. He had to be
respected for his ultra conservative ways, she felt. He was a kind man and
causing a grieving family any more heartache would not have been given an
okay. Calling attention to oneself also, was not his habit and the woman,
his daughter, did not feel she was wrong in not attending. She had made a
choice of solitude and was busily taking care of duties at the end of the
day in a house made quiet by the absence of the family.
The ringing of the telephone
was expected since the day had been filled with the noise from the
instrument. However, when her niece made the statement, "Oh Auntie, the
most awful thing has happened!" the woman was filled with a spirit of
apprehension. She was thinking maybe, her mother, Lee's wife had collapsed
or something or anything that might be a dire situation.
"You knew there were three
"Yes." "I knew." She wasn't
able to see at the moment how the ministers would fit into "the most awful
thing," her niece was going to tell her.
"Well." The younger woman was
actually laughing but her aunt believed her to be crying.
"What is it?" "Did something
happen to Gramma?" The woman was interrupting her niece.
"Oh no!" "Auntie, it wasn't
anything like that." The young woman was maddening in her slow way of
telling just what had happened. "You know those big old Wicker chairs in
the funeral home?"
"Oh yes, I remember them." "I
think they have been there an eternity." "They are huge, big, chairs."
Still the aunt was having trouble in collecting from her niece what had
"Well there was one man at the
speaker and two men sitting on those chairs." "All at once it looked like
someone had taken a rope and jerked the chairs at the same time, flipping
them over backwards." The men just were flat on their backs. "One could
see the bottoms of their soles." "The Wicker was old and soft, and they
could not get out of them."
"One of the men had a hole in
the bottom of his shoe sole and it was so plainly visible." "The whole
thing struck me as being so funny." "I could not laugh, knew I should not
rudely laugh, but I was about to pop from the hilarious sight of seeing
the two men on their back with their feet showing the soles of their shoes
to the audience."
"I know," I thought. "I'll
look back at Uncle Clark". "He will scowl at me for being so careless as
to laugh and I'll be all right." The young woman was going on with her
story. "But when I looked back everyone else was literally quietly shaking
and trying desperately not to laugh." "Uncle Clark had his head way down
and his whole chest shook with silent laughter." "I have to get out of
here. I kept thinking."
"I did just that." "I went in
the bathroom and sat there and laughed hysterically for I can't tell you
how long." "Now, I feel so sacrilegious."
"Don't feel like that." The
Aunt was counseling her niece. "You know what a weird sense of humor your
Grand Dad possessed." "This would have been something he would have
enjoyed so much." "I can see him now laughing until tears rolled down his
cheeks." "He would have been gasping for breath, and trying to explain all
at the same time."