Thursday, February 16, 2012
My girlfriend said I write about too many negative things. She said I should focus on the positive. She said if it wasn’t for Slow Bob, I wouldn’t be home. She’s right. So I’m writing about my funeral.
When we were leaving Virginia, I was surprised how many people were upset. I had no idea. I had no idea I was loved this much! Neighbors told me how much they’d miss me. Acquaintances—the woman who cut my hair, someone from the saddle club, the brothers Dewey and Fred—messaged me on Facebook. The bank ladies cried. Pearl and Eldon were so upset the last few weeks that we couldn’t even talk about it or else we’d all start crying. The night before we left they brought us hamburgers from Dairy Queen and bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits for breakfast the next morning. My friend Shelly sent her son and a couple of his friends to help us load the truck. Even our car mechanic, Mr. Walker, came over to say goodbye. He handed us a card. I told him I’d open it later because I wanted to read it and give its words my full attention. When we got up to Jersey and opened it, I found a $25 gift card inside. That really touched me because Mr. and Mrs. Walker probably don’t have a lot of money and they know they will never see me again. They didn’t give me that money because it’s good business and they hope I’ll call them the next time my car breaks down or because I’ll have to reciprocate when there’s some event in their life—the next wedding, a graduation... They gave it to me with literally no strings attached, no expectations, nothing. They just wanted to let me know how much they think of me. Even though they will never see me again. That was a truly altruistic move. And I have to admit, because most of you know I’m not a religious person, but that was some impressive Christian behavior.
But it was much more than twenty-five dollars that I received. It was the gift of finding out just how much I am loved. Some people go through their entire lives and never know this. I have gone to funerals that are packed with people and I wonder, did she know how much she was loved? I suspect most people have no idea. But I have been given that gift, a glimpse of my funeral. And the place is packed.