Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Run Sally Run!
My father, Sal, died in 1995, about four months after being diagnosed with lung cancer and having successful surgery with a good prognosis. He, however, was convinced he was dying and managed to will himself a fatal heart attack. My mother was never very good with sick people, including us, exhibiting far more exasperation than empathy. For that reason we felt lucky that she didn't have to nurse him through a long illness, because Florence Nightengale she ain't.
Her complete disconnect from anything emotional didn't take a hiatus on the day of his funeral. You might think that the most shocking moment was when, during the post-cemetary gathering back at her house, she emerged from the back bedroom cheerily holding up a pair of my dad's golf shoes. "WHO'S A SIZE 9??" she called out to the stunned friends and family, some of whom nearly choked on their ziti.
But that was actually NOT the classic moment of the day. That took place at the gravesite, after a solemn ceremony and the lowering of his flag-draped coffin. The funeral director took the flag, folded it gently and gave it to my mother. Everyone rose to walk back to their cars, but instead of following along she ran up to the poor man and said "Do ya take Discover??"
You can't make this stuff up.