Following my father's death, he was cremated. I suppose it is lucky that we did it in that order!
My Dad didn’t want a sad funeral service in a church, so we reserved a room at the funeral home in Erie PA, put a notice in the paper, and made some calls. Dad didn’t think he had a lot of friends, but close to 200 people turned up for the “celebration”.
He had a clock in the basement that every hour made a (really loud) noise like a steam train. I hid it under the lectern so that at 2pm the funeral/celebration got kicked of with the sound of a train, and laughter! We had some readings; we watched video of him on the PBS TV station (WQLN), and then people were asked if they wanted to say a few words.
My Mom told the story of how they had met. She was a 16 year old schoolgirl, and had noticed a slightly older boy. Once day after school, she came out of class to find that her bike had a flat tire. The older boy was there, saw her distress, and offered to help her. He pumped up her tire, and offered to ride with her to make sure it would stay up. It did. They became friends, and stated dating, eventually marrying 4 years later.
Only later did he admit that he had let all the air out in the first place!
Other people spoke, one a 12 year old neighbor boy who made everyone teary-eyed by saying how much he was going to miss my Dad. Finally, the celebration ended with “When the Saint Go Marching In” played by a local jazz musician on his banjo! This man was so moved I understand he has refused payment.
Finally, a dinner for about 85 people at my parent’s club in Erie, and the deed was done. My Dad’s ashes will be sprinkled over my sister’s grave in England, in March 2009.
Several people commented to me that it was the happiest funeral they had ever been to! I think Dad would have enjoyed it.
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