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Letters to Nowhere

Friday, August 25, 2006

Jesus has a coach whistle

I've read in books that in years past people would go to funerals for the entertainment value. I never understood that before.

I do now.

I went to a funeral this past week for a family member that I barely knew. I was there more for my mother than anything else. The last two years haven'’t been kind to her. She'’s lost her father, son, brother in law, father in law, and now a brother.

My sister,who I've not seen since the funeral of my brother, was there. She'’s been battling drugs and alcohol and I'’m glad to say has been clean 8 months. (Insert applause)

She and I were on a pew right behind the immediate family, but down on the far end away from our aunts, mother and grandmother.

Beside us was a largish black woman we didn'’t know. A few minutes into the service she leaned over and asked if the deceased was our uncle. We replied yes and sat back to watch the service.

Jessica, my sister leaned over "“Do you know her?"” she whispered to me
Me: No, I don'’t...
Jessica: “She'’s the only black person here. Maybe she'’s just here for appearances, you know so our family doesn'’t look racist
Me: (rolling my eyes) What you think the pastor just called 1-800-rent-a-black?
Jessica: Hey, I'm not racist. I've got a colored TV

I hate to admit it but I was choking back giggles.

I really think it was more stress and the knowledge that the last time I saw a casket my brother was in it that led to our sarcastic banter. That and the fact we'’d not seen each other since he died and she entered rehab.

They started to sing...

Jessica: Do they think they can sing?
Me: It'’s Karaoke Church... helps improve attendance

OK... At this point I saw a well dressed 50-60 year old woman RUN from the middle aisle down to the front... I had a brief moment when I thought she was staff and there was a problem. THEN she turned, and ran between the coffin and the immediately family, at the end of the pew she rounded the corner. She was in stocking feet, with her hands up beside her face in the classic "put your hands up"” pose. She wasn'’t staff.

Jessica: .. UH.. did a woman just run by us? Did I really see a streaker at a funeral?
Me: Yeah, she was book'’n too.
(The service had started and the pastor was talking about how the church could change your life)
Me: Join the church lose 10 pounds! Or maybe she's in trouble with God and has to do laps.

I am respectful, I am understanding of religious differences. I know much of my family "“speak in tongues"” when hit by the power of God. I'’ve come to expect a lot. But, no one in my family ever felt the need to do laps.

(ten minutes or so later) I can hear my sisters stomach growl
Jessica: I'’m starving
Me: Yeah me too, we didn'’t have breakfast

(The pastor has moved on to: God will provide him a new home, he'’s not sick anymore, God has provided him with ...)
Me: I wish God would provide a chicken leg.. One chicken leg and I'’ll convert right here and now!
Jessica: I prefer wings

Jessica: You know we are SOO going to hell.
Me: I'’m driving the train

Bout this time the runner makes her SECOND lap. Now she has another woman running with her.

Jessica looks at me, lips quivering, eyebrows raised.
Me: You know, support group, helps maintain weight loss.
Jessica: I didn'’t know Jesus wore a coach whistle
Me: Now you know why the church is so big. It has to be for 6 laps to be a mile.

I had a vision of heaven and hordes of angels running in circles, Jesus tweeting his whistle and crying out "“Faster.. We have keep the planet turning. They’ve already had to add one day every four years. Run! Run!"

The pastor was saying "I called Andy to see if he wanted to have lunch with me. He couldn'’t make it. But he'’s lunching with the LORD now. I would have liked another Bar-B-Que dinner with Andy but.. "

Me: You KNOW you are in the south when the word Bar-B-Que is IN the funeral service.

The pastor moved on.. "I wish Andy was here, I wish he was in this room"

Jessica: He is here. I can see him. He'’s the one in the box.
Even I cringed.. but at this point I grabbed a handful of tissues to laugh behind. It WAS funny, if a bit over the top.

The Runner and friend made the THRID circuit of the church.

Jessica: I can't join this church. I can't run that far.
Me: Now you know why she's so slim

The pastor is preaching and we are back to "God has provided" "God has given him a new home, new clothes, new shoes.."

Me: I bet they're running shoes
Jessica loses it. I handed her my tissues. She's silently cracking up behind them. I'm trying to keep my composure as the guy in front of us gawks at the runners. I swear he was 1/2 owl. I think his head did a full 180 degree turn to watch.

We somehow made it through the service without being struck by lightening. But! But COME ON! You can't expect a RUNNER at a funeral and me to be able to resist saying SOMETHING. I was expecting a baton to show up any time.

It was.. unique..


  • Absolutely classic Jen! I haven't laughed so hard in weeks, thanks - I needed that!

    By Blogger JustSue, at 11:44 AM  

  • The bad part is I can totally relate to what you are saying. I have been to churches where running would be too tame. I am terrified of people who speak in tongues. It looks like a crack head having a seizure.

    I absolutely hate ministers who scream at their parishoners. Which is what it seems most of them do at these churches.

    Thankfully, I have never stumbled into a Snake Church, to quote an old song, "Where wouldyou like your new back door?"

    By Blogger Amanda, at 8:57 PM  

  • All I can say is OMG....What planet do these ppl come from?

    By Blogger moon, at 12:19 AM  

  • yep we had running in our church when I was little,,, spirit come on someone.. but that was usually during church.. never seen one happen at a funeral.. hmmmm.. interesting..so the colored lady was the one doing it and someone joined her... they are very emotional thats for sure. Let me tell you ... you have never attended church til you go to a black church. When they praise the Lord, the praise the Lord.. thats for sure.

    By Blogger Squirrels, at 1:29 AM  

  • How disrespectful to your Uncle's family, and to your Mom. How you would have liked it if everyone was cutting up, and making fun of everyone and what they did and looked like at YOUR Brother's funeral? Wouldn't be very funny huh? Especially the way he died of a drug overdose. Maybe you think that is a good way to die? You must not have any feelings at all to have made fun of others sorrow. Maybe when another brother or your sister dies a tragic death, someone will laugh about it. Just think, for every idle word, thought or deed you are responsible for, there will be an accounting on Judgement day. HELL IS NOT WORTH IT, ask your brother.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:49 PM  

  • Anonymous:

    It's your hell, you burn in it.

    Even my mom laughed about it, when we talked about it the next day.

    By Blogger Red Clover, at 6:04 PM  

  • I stumbled on this piece of garbage from another families site, where she is trying to do a positive thing, I am so ashamed that my grandchildren would act in such disrspect,when our hearts were being ripped apart. When I pass on if this is the respect I will recieve no matter what happens during my funeral, and you must make fun of it, please do not embarrass my memory and stay home. You are on dangerous ground when you are mocking a God that gave you breathe. So what if the lady run, I would run all over this country if need be, if God had healed me of 9 cancers like he did her. So think before you get on a site and start making fun about something you do not really know about. Whether you knew Andy well or not, his memory did not deserve this, he fought for this country and you so you could have the freedom to speak this garbage. I love you Jennifer, but I do not love or respect you for this letter. I can only pray for you. HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF IT WAS JAMES IN THE BOX AS YOU CALLED IT, AND FAMILY MEMBERS WAS MAKING OFF THE WALL JOKES ABOUT HIS SERVICE IF HE EVEN HAS ONE? Jessica was a guilty party as well and this is for her as well.
    Please do not everpost anything concerning family on a web site like this again, I cannot say or do anything about what you do concerning you or James, because that is you. I can not stop you, but I hope that you still have some morals and respect left.
    I still love you and I have always respected you how you have took care of James and yourself. I have always enjoyed the times I have been able to spend with you and have never tryed to push my beliefs on you, so I am asking please do not embarress me any further with this kind of thing. I hope I never run across something like this again from any of my family. It has really hurt me deeply. Your grandfather was a pastor ,did you ever see him acting like a crack head as some of these people think? A bad impression of us you have left with some people, I am sad to say. May God help you.

    Love always
    Grandma C

    By Anonymous grandma c, at 3:16 AM  

  • I hope 'Grandma C' that God can help you... pull that big ol stick right out of your wrinkled old ass...

    By Blogger Rae, at 1:49 PM  

  • Proof Positive we laughed at my brother's funeral:


    By Blogger Red Clover, at 6:30 PM  

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