Saturday, July 31, 2010


On occasion, I am reminded that being lazy takes a toll. That, and getting old.

I mowed the lawn today, front and back. broke out the weed trimmer, then got down on my knees and ripped out all the shot growing along the stone wall.

It looks nice now, but my back hurts. Stupid growing old.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tales from the Crypt

Gray cloth caskets are cheap. When I say cheap, I mean really, really cheap. Fiberboard covered with gray cloth, the inside stuffed with straw. But if you can't afford a decent burial, or the departed is headed for the retort, it can seem like a smart choice.

I spent a couple of years working at a funeral home that did a lot of business. On average, about 400-500 calls a year. We had a nice casket display room downstairs, with several versions of the mid and high range caskets on hand. The gray cloth we had one, and then several back ups in a warehouse a few miles away.

So, one day we're burying a rather heavy gentleman in a gray cloth. The morning of the funeral, the mourners came to the funeral home to pay their last respects. After a final viewing, we ushered them out to their cars to await the hearse and the ride to the church. Once everyone was out of the funeral home and in their cars, we closed up the casket and went to move it on to the church truck. Four of us grabbed the casket, one at each corner. We lifted, and the casket rose. All except for the bottom and the corpse.

Not good. Worse, we didn't have another gray cloth on hand. As the unknowing family and friends sat idling in their cars, waiting to proceed to the church, me and one of the other guys jumped in a van and sped off to the warehouse to grab a replacement.

All that is bad enough. But it gets better. We get to the warehouse, which is a garage for the hearses. There's a second floor where the caskets are kept. Thankfully, the hearses were not there. But we had to run up stairs, throw straps around a casket and use a hoist to lower it down to the ground floor. Then, load it in to the van and race back to the funeral home.

We got back, put the casket on the church truck, and lifted the body in. Thankfully, the second casket did not give out during the service. The family was never the wiser.