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Carol Perkins: Planning a funeral - tiny detail, big difference

The granddaughter wanted no part of helping her grandmother carry out her funeral wishes, until, a vital detail is revealed . . . - CAROL PERKINS
Next earlier Carol Perkins column: Carol Perkins: How about a cooking show with real food?

By Carol Perkins

A grandmother in her eighties decided it was time to tell the granddaughter she had raised what to do in case of her death. The granddaughter, in her early twenties, did not want to talk about her grandmother going anywhere.

"Not listen to me, I'm not dying yet, but I need you to know what to do in case I pass away."

The granddaughter did not want to listen. "I don't want to hear about this."

"Oh, don't be silly. This is just business."

"It is NOT just business. It's talking about you dying, and I'm not listening." She promptly put her fingers in her ears to prove her point.

The grandmother held a piece of paper in her hand on which she had written her general wishes for her funeral and burial. "I wrote everything down, but I want to make sure you understand it."

The granddaughter continued to plug her ears and even turned her back on her grandmother. Her "Ma" as she called her was the only parent she had ever known. Her mother died when she was only five, and her father had remarried, leaving the girl with the grandmother she adored. She knew that when her grandmother died, she would be an adult orphan and she didn't want to face that.

"I'm not listening," she continued to chant.

The grandmother talked above her. "This paper tells you what to put on me. I have an outfit hung in the closet toward the back. I know it doesn't fit, but I always liked it and planned to lose enough weight to wear it again, so just have the undertaker slit it up the back. Don't put any stocking or shoes on my feet. And don't let the undertaker put on too much make-up. I don't want to look like a go-go dancer."

The girl unplugged her ears. "Are you serious? You want to be buried in something slit up the back?"

"Yes, and I want you to be sure that my hair looks the way it does each week, so call my hairdresser and don't let the undertaker do it. If I need color, my hairdresser needs to touch up the roots. Don't lay me out with gray roots."

"You're worried about your HAIR?"

The grandmother thought she had her attention, so she moved on to caskets and vaults. "I'm not listening," the granddaughter said, plugging her ears again but this time doing a singsong to drown out the words. The grandmother knew she could hear her, so she laid out the type of casket she wanted, the burial site, the songs to sing, the pallbearers and the flowers. The girl chanted louder.

"I'm still not listening."

"If the men on my list die before I do, just pick some out of the church. And don't let the preacher go on and on. Tell him to cut it short. Who wants to have a revival at a funeral? You know how my preacher is. Give him an audience and he performs." She loved her preacher, who had been at her church for twenty years, but he did love to talk.

Her granddaughter unplugged her ears. "You want me to tell the preacher how long to speak? I can't do that!"

"Sure you can; he's getting paid. Now, here's what I want you to do with my clothes." Her granddaughter plugged her ears again and turned away. She did not want to listen to this. Her grandmother told her to give her clothes to a charity, but not the jewelry. "I want you to take the jewelry and sell it."

The girl continued not to listen. "I can't hear you! I'm not listening! Don't say another word because I'm NOT LISTENING."

The grandmother had a trick up her sleeve. She whispered, "About the million dollar life insurance policy...."

The girl unplugged her ears. "I'm listening!" They both laughed knowing there was no million dollar policy. None of us want to talk about the business of death, but when it comes to money, we are all ears.
(My new book, A Girl Named Connie, is available at Blossoms Florist and Boutique Unique, 507 Happy Valley Road, Glasgow, KY 42141, Phone 270-629-3597; the Edmonton/Metcalfe Chamber of Commerce, 109 E Stockton Street, Edmonton, KY, Phone 270-432-3222; and the Lighthouse Restaurant, 1500 Sulphur Well/Knob Lick Road, Sulphur Well Historic District, KY 42129. Phone 270-629-3597. And Also on

Contact: Carol Perkins, PO Box 134, Edmonton, KY 42129. Phone 670-432-5756.

This story was posted on 2017-01-19 09:43:52
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