Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I SAID, "I'll Fly Away!"

Yeah, so I've had this blog less than two months and already, I'm phoning one in. I wrote this a few years ago, but everything in it is still applicable.

Okay, so recently, I had to go to a funeral.  And it reminded me that I have some things that I feel adamant about regarding what should (and shouldn’t) happen in the event of my untimely death.

First and foremost…the funeral.  See, I have this relative, Connie, that is both my second cousin and my great-aunt.  And do NOT start with the dueling banjos…it’s not like that.  My dad’s Uncle David is the same age as my dad…which is a little weird, but not un-heard of.  They were very close growing up…like brothers.  Anyway, when my mom & dad were newly married, they decided to fix my mom’s first cousin (Connie) up with my dad’s uncle David.  So, you see, nothing incestuous there at all.  However, this woman has been related to BOTH sides of my family for the last….oh, 35 years or something.  Consequently, she has been at every relative’s funeral that I can ever recall.  And Connie, God love her, is one of those Southern Baptist women from a very small Southern Baptist church (Mineral Springs Baptist…Pell City, AL) where someone, at some time, told her she “has the voice of an angel.”  But not really.  You know the woman in the choir that sings over everyone else and adds her own dips and sweeps to the notes?  She’s that woman.  And she insists that whoever just died LOVED to hear her sing and so to pay tribute, she is going sing the dearly-departed’s favorite hymn.  Which is always “Beulah Land.”  Now, I LOVE me some old gospel music…particularly the old Southern spirituals where you may even get a little hand-clapping going on.  But “Beulah Land?”  I may despise it more than any other song on the planet, including “We Built This City” by Jefferson Starship.  And guys…besides having notes in it that Connie can use to shatter glass and bend metal, it is depressing as hell.  I don’t know why she loves it; I think she thinks it showcases her talent.  And is DETERMINED to sing it whenever possible.

Case in point…my maternal grandmother’s funeral.  My Granny Mildred died after a LONG bout with Alzheimer’s.  I don’t think she was even conscious the last week or two she was alive.  Mom told me that a couple of days before she died, this quartet of sweet little old black ladies came by who were going around the nursing home, singing to the patients.  She said they sang, “I’ll Fly Away” to my grandmother (BTW, that IS my favorite hymn) and she smiled in her sleep.  So when Connie approached my mother about singing at Granny Mildred’s funeral (Granny was Connie’s aunt) Mom told her she could if she’d sing “I’ll Fly Away.”  And do you know what happened???  Bitch stood up at the funeral and sang “Beulah Land.”  Now, it is not often that Jeff is the voice of reason for me (soooo the role reversal)…but this was one of those times that he laid his hand on my arm and restrained me from jumping up and snatching that woman bald-headed.

So, to conclude…no “Beulah Land” at my funeral.  I really have no idea how this will be accomplished, because no one has ever thwarted this woman before.  But do as you must.  You know, I have harped on this point incessantly for years and years…to the point where friends of long standing have been sort of conditioned about it.  My friend, Annette, and her mother, Judy are both part of a social group I am in…we’re all tight-knit and we’ve all had discussions regarding our final wishes.  Annette and Judy were actually attending a funeral of a relative of theirs a couple of years ago, when “Beulah Land” came on as the background music at the funeral home.  Annette started frantically looking around, halfway got up off her pew & was preparing to tackle her some Connie when Judy reminded her that the conditions did not warrant.

Following the funeral, there will be a meeting of the planning committee to find Jeff a new wife, complete with lots and lots of wine.  The criteria for a new wife for Jeff will be dependant on whether or not our daughter has reached adulthood.  If she’s still a minor, acceptance criteria will revolve primarily on how well the new woman will love and nurture my child…and if she gets along with Jeff, that’s good too.  If the kiddo's out of college & on her own, I don’t care if the committee picks him out a fluffy little hoochie that will spend all of the insurance money.

One final thing…should Jeff and I BOTH perish in some tragic accident…I will need someone to go over to my house and empty out the bottom middle drawer of my dresser in my bedroom.  The contents of said drawer will never be discussed within earshot of my child or my mother (you should probably leave my sister in the dark as well.)  Please let me know if you have any questions regarding these instructions.

1 comment:

  1. I have always loved this one more than any other story, and consider it an honor to be on the "anti-Beulah land" committee. I am also fairly certain that since I still have pretty strong ties to the Southerners realm I will be able to swing a righteous "I'll Fly Away" for you, should the need arise.