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Carol Perkins: Difficult times can be memorable times

Sometimes humorous moments creep into the saddest of times, even funerals. 'My mom attended a funeral one time when the preacher had the man's name wrong. He went on and on about this man until the daughter went up, stopped him, and gave him the right name. The name he was using was actually standing in the back singing in the choir.'
Next earlier column: Carol Perkins: When it rains . . . (that's how it's been)

By Carol Perkins

My uncle Tommy Reece was buried Wednesday surrounded by family and friends. A funeral is a time for reflection and respect and following the body to the grave brings closure, so I've heard. With that said, I have yet to attend a visitation or go to a funeral that there wasn't something strange to occur. Strange in a funny way, haphazard way, or an eerie way.

When my aunt and I went to the florist to pick out flowers, I said to the owner, "Please avoid selling any "do-dads." They knew what I meant. "My family isn't into ceramic angels that glow in the dark or other such items. What turned me off was being at a funeral home for an acquaintance and right behind the casket was an angel with something like wire wings coming out the sides that changed colors. That was spooky.

My mom attended a funeral one time when the preacher had the man's name wrong. He went on and on about this man until the daughter went up, stopped him, and gave him the right name. The name he was using was actually standing in the back singing in the choir.

I thought back during Tommy's funeral to one of the funniest times that occurred during the most solemn of moments. I haven't written about it in the past out of respect for my father-in-law, Guy Perkins, Sr., but his daughter and son (Guy) have given their permission. Audrey Perkins was buried one cold afternoon in the middle of a snowstorm. Guy's dad had had a stroke by then and was physically impaired, so the men in the family protected him from a fall. Because he had lost so much weight, Carolyn, his daughter, and I decided he needed a new suit since he'd lost weight and after deciding on measures some of us went out to buy one. I don't know if I went alone or if she went also, but what we didn't consider would manifest itself later.

On the day of the funeral, the roads were treacherous and frozen ground made the task for McMurtrey's more difficult, as well as those following Mrs. Perkins to the Summer Shade hill. However, the line of traffic eased up the slope, the body was placed under the tent, the pallbearers lined up in front of it, and the family sat for those final words. When all was said was the beginning of a memory only shared by a few.

Most of the relatives had moved away from the tent, and Guy and some of the men were helping Mr. Perkins get up to move away. All of a sudden from under his topcoat fell his suit pants down to the top of his shoes. He turned to his son and in a deadpan voice said, "Son, will you pull up my pants?" I was standing behind him holding my side, trying not to laugh, but the entire group of pallbearers broke down.

To this day my son-in-law, who was a pallbearer, remembers that he laughed so hard he made a misstep and almost fell into the hole. Guy was so doubled up, he propped himself on his mother's casket to keep from falling over. His grandson, Jim Berry, and our son Jon laughed so hard they were crying. Guy pulled up with his dad's pants and they walked out of the tent to the puzzled mourners. "I didn't know what in the world was going on when I heard you all laughing," Carolyn said.

What I had not considered when buying the suit was the cold weather. When Mr. Perkins stood, the pants slipped right off. Suspenders would have solved this problem. All in all, Guy's mother would have had the biggest laugh of all.

More about Carol's uncle Tommy Reece: Thomas R. Reece, 84, Edmonton, KY (1933-2017)

This story was posted on 2017-10-05 16:53:34
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