Columns

2012.04.18 Doubt her perfection? Just read her obituary

on . Posted in Nowhere Road

By RICH FOLEY

I can’t help but notice that newspaper obituaries keep getting more creative. At least many of the ones I’ve seen lately are including more strange and sometimes even mystifying information. Out of respect for the deceased, I’ve changed all names and dates and no local obits are included.

You wouldn’t think that a person’s birth would be that out of the ordinary, but there’s the story of Bob, who was “born April 7, 1947 in a toilet.” I wouldn’t mind hearing more about that, as well as a few more details about Jim, who “came into this world on October 23, 1959, via a free ride in a paddy wagon.” So were the police giving his mother a ride to the hospital, or was she under arrest?

That obit went on to say that Jim “loved Hershey candy bars, Black Russians, boating, playing Euchre and coin collecting...most of his spare time was spent fixing everything that “Helen” broke (which became a full-time job). Sledgehammers are not guaranteed for life.” Sounds like an interesting guy.

Then there’s Dale, who “walked to the beat of his own drum, held various jobs and was willing to help anyone for $20 bucks.” And I’m sure that none of her friends could ever forget Ethel, who was known “for her knack for spontaneously bursting into show tunes.”

I got a kick reading about Sherry, who “was a bowler in her early years and participated on a team with nurse friends. After bowling, the Canasta game started and the beer drinking continued.” I wonder if she ever met Gary, who “was great with a potato launcher and famous for his 5-egg broom trick.”  I’m sorry he’s no longer with us. I’d really like to know what a 5-egg broom trick is.

From his obit, Ray seems to have been quite a character as “those who were part of Ray’s life will remember such things as ‘squaw hash,’ ‘alligator meat,’ morning dips in Long Lake, the umbrella hat and bagpipe practice, if not particularly fondly, at least with the sort of smile and good humor that he always had for everyone.”

Patricia, who “could give directions that would rival Mapquest,” is probably greatly missed by her friends, as well as Frank, who “was a consummate storyteller and could turn the most mundane trip to the hardware store into an epic conquest.”

Even though he was born and lived his life in the suburbs, Don was “a farm boy at heart; seeing, hearing or talking about a classic John Deere tractor could bring a smile to his face and a tear to his eye.” Kevin, on the other hand, “enjoyed cutting grass on his Cleveland Browns custom riding lawnmower. Kevin also showed his artistic side by collecting and painting rocks, each with a humorous ‘Kevin-like’ saying.”

Other folks were into popular culture like Tim, who “had a love for music and enjoyed bands such as The Who, Eric Clapton and The Allman Brothers.” Television fans included Pat who “enjoyed watching  wrestling and his favorite TV shows—Man vs. Food and Sons of Anarchy,” and Lola, who liked “Days of Our Lives, Ellen, Sanford and Son and the Sunday Catholic Mass.”

Of course, some people even try to use their obit to enhance their image, like Sally, who was “a brilliant woman...she abhorred self-imposed illiteracy and illogical stupidity while retaining her faith in the federal government.” Wait a minute. Aren’t having faith in the government and opposing illogical stupidity mutually exclusive? Think about that for a minute, then we’ll continue.

Sally was also “a delight at family gatherings...she waited for the opportune moment to raise unexpected and thought-provoking comments. She then sat back and watched the debates expand their parameters.” I’m getting the impression that Sally wrote this herself, how about you?

Late in life, Sally had to enter an assisted living facility. While there, she “became a beloved resident, again giving wise and gentle counsel to any who wished to learn.” There’s no longer any doubt in my mind that she wrote her own obit. And for you comic strip fans out there, doesn’t she remind you a lot of Mary Worth?

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