When I was serving a Minnesota parish, an elderly member went to spend her final years with a daughter in Oregon. When she died, a funeral director arranged to send her cremains to Minnesota for the funeral and burial. On the day of the funeral the cremains had not arrived. When the local funeral director checked it out, he learned that her ashes were accidentally sent to another state and wouldn’t arrive until the following day. With fear and trepidation he told the woman’s two daughters the bad news. “That’s OK,” responded one of the daughters, “Mother always loved to travel.”
|“What do you mean, what am I doing here?”|
My friend Cathy’s husband, Tom, died several years ago and was cremated. Following his memorial service, Cathy and her immediate family went home. Cathy had a feeling she’d forgotten something when it hit her: the urn! She told me she could just hear Tom, who had a dry sense of humor, saying, “Gone and forgotten .…”
When my mother died, my brother was in Iraq and had to come home. So when the funeral home picked up my brother and his family, he decided to show the driver a short cut to the National Cemetery. We were stopped by a train and were 30 minutes late to the cemetery. We all said that mother was laughing since he is usually late for most gatherings.
|“You. Step to the front of the line.”|
A funeral was scheduled for 1 p.m. on April 1. I was in my office working on the funeral bulletin and sermon. At 10 a.m. the funeral director poked his head in the door and asked if I was ready to get started. I was startled. “Didn’t you get my message that the funeral was moved up to 10?” he asked. I ran into the sanctuary where he had the casket in place, surrounded by flowers, and the organist (also the church secretary) was playing soft music. Then I saw the smile on his face as he said, “April Fools!”
The funeral director was already gathering a rather large group of family and friends around the grave site. He went over to the hearse, looked for the electronic “clicker” key and realized it was on the front seat. He soon discovered the hearse had automatically locked and had to announce that the deceased was locked inside (until another key could be brought to the cemetery). The deceased was quite a prankser, and we all agreed this was his last, best prank ever—avoiding the grave.
David S. Schafer