Old Money

April 30, 2010 at 4:34 PM | Posted in Journal | 1 Comment
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  We went to Sue’s mom’s funeral.
  Following the map directions, I managed to get out of my own neighborhood okay.  How did we ever manage before MapQuest?  I get on the inner-belt–that’s 170 for you out-of-towners–and we are immediately in a traffic backup.
  It’s early enough on a Tuesday morning–just after the morning rush hour–and it’s raining or drizzling lightly.  We’re going a direction that shouldn’t be backed up right now.  Detroit has that look on her face because she thinks I should have listened to her and went straight down Lindbergh to the Southwest corner of Fuck-All, but I know I’m right here.
  There is an accident up ahead, and it actually affects both the north- and south-bound lanes.  When we got up to it, it looked like two cars from either side slid down the grassy median and into each other.  That was my impression, and I’m sure it’s wrong.
  But before we get to that point–that glorious point in the traffic where it opens back up and the stallions can once again run free–we are inching along on our two lanes, all of us together.
  Except for the occasional asshole that comes barreling down the shoulder to get around it, because they are special.  A couple of cars come down the shoulder, and they get by.  A third car comes down, and a big SUV about three cars in front of us pulls out onto the shoulder in front of him.
  And stops.  And stays there.
  The car can’t go around him because next to the shoulder is a rail because we’re on a long viaduct/overpass.  After that, there is a steep drop off.
  The car honks his horn.  The SUV just sits there, inching along with everyone else.
  We did notice an Obama bumper sticker on the car, and we laughed.  The guy is a typical liberal dipshit fucknut, and this is a perfect metaphor for the liberal elite philosophy:  The rules and the lanes are for the masses, they must be kept in line.  But I am a special case, so these rules don’t apply to me–
  –like the libs in Hollywood who drive around in their Hummers and private jets talking about how we the little people should all conserve energy and save the planet.
  –ditto Al Gore
  –Obama appointees and other libs in Congress who think we should all pay more taxes but haven’t filed themselves in a few years.
  –any other hypocrisy you can think of.
  So it was funny to see him get thwarted.  The guy in the SUV had nothing to fear, because this Obama supporter is not going to have a concealed-carry–he’s not packing heat.  If the SUV had had a Bush-Cheney bumper sticker, that would have been perfect, and awesome.  And even more hilarious.
  Eventually the grassy side leveled out, and the car got around.  In another hundred yards, we were through the accident and we could all get through, so Har-har on him.  I know others, like us, wanted to cheer the guy in the SUV.

  Later, we arrive at the church for the mass.  We’re about the first ones there, and Detroit said that some were at the funeral home this morning, bringing the party here for the mass next, and then on to the cemetery after that, and then everyone goes to someone’s house to eat and drink.  A funeral is like an overly somber pub crawl.
  When we arrived at the church there was an old couple in front of us.  The woman looked thin, but not frail–but on the verge of it–with a classic strength.  The man was smiling and friendly, and looked liked he had had a stroke.  He slurred his speech and favored one side.
  After they talked to the priest for a moment, we introduced ourselves.  They are the Donius’s.
  If you recall, the former CEO of the bank I work at is a Donius.  That is their son.  The old man–Walter–was CEO before that.  I told them that it’s just not the same without their son around.  The culture that Walter created and his son enhanced has made it one of the best places in St Louis to work.
  Mrs D–I never did catch her name, and perhaps it was best to be formal with her–thanked me.  Detroit had just said that we were friends of Sue’s.  Mrs D said she has known Sue since she was this high–and held her hand about two and a half feet above the floor.
  We gradually drifted away, having nothing more to talk about.  I’m sure they were nice enough people.  Walter certainly is.  I have trouble hearing, and it’s hard to focus on someone who slurs, especially if I didn’t take my medicine that morning.  So, I know–the problem was mine, not his.
  Detroit noticed (as women do) the size of the rock on Mrs D’s finger.  Well, yeah.  These people were money.  The bank has been in the family for nigh on 90 years or more, and these people have a tradition of money.  The aura of Mrs D said, with understated class, "Old Money."
  We took our seats, and the ritual thus began.  I’m not Catholic, so following a Catholic Mass is somewhat foreign to me.  I recognize some of the words, but that was it.  But for Detroit, who is a…
  Christ, I’m not sure what she is.  Some kinda pagan/heathen/Earth Mother worshipper or something.  I’m going to miss her when she goes to Hell.
  Anyway, it had to seem odd to her as well, I imagine.  But as stylized and ritualized and…odd as it was, there was some comfort in it.  Comfort for me in the fact that everyone is grasping at straws as if they think they know the Mind of God and all these odd things are what God wants.
  The rituals have a purpose:  they give you time to contemplate and a soothing atmosphere and comfort in repetition, and aid with the closure.  These things are not for God, and not for the deceased, but for the living.
  We tried, Detroit and I, to keep up with the mythos, but it seemed that everyone but us knew the hymns by heart (Where were they?  In the hymn book?  What numbers?  Don’t you even want us to try?–I guess not), and when to stand and when to sit, and when to get a cracker and take a sip of wine and backwash.
  She and I agreed that we shouldn’t take the communion, probably for different reasons.  She, because she’s not a Christian; and me, because I’m not a Catholic.  It’s not as subtle of a difference as you think.  For her it was escaping an inconvenience; for me it was avoiding sacrilege.
  During one of our up-and-downs, I happened to glance back a few rows, and caught a glimpse of Mrs D.  She had a far-away look behind her red eyes, and her face seemed over-whelmed by grief.
  I had time to contemplate all of this, and some realizations slowly crept over me.
  Mrs D said she had known Sue "since she was this big."  Sue is…let’s just say roughly my age.  Mrs D and Sue’s mom have been friends for over forty years, then, by a conservative estimate.  In the parlance of our times, they were BFF.
  And how is it, then, that she is sitting behind me, when she should have been in front row–with the family?
  I thought of my friend Bunny, whom I have known for 20 years.  I want her to be…right there in the front, with family.  She is family to me.  Yeah, Detroit can be there too.
  But all of that made me think of how important Bunny is too me, and I felt real empathy for Mrs D.
  We drove to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery, and there is the final service.  We don’t go to the burial site there, but instead to a small stone pavilion; the deceased get buried later.  They probably don’t want anyone watching when they screw them into the ground vertically.  It’s a large place, but space is tight.
  After the brief service, we were all clearing out, and I caught up to Mr and Mrs D.  I felt compelled, I guess, to let her know.
  "Mrs D?  I just wanted to tell you–"
  "Yes?"
  "Well, it took me a while, but I put it all together.  Like when you said you’ve known Sue since she was this tall, right?  You’ve known Sue’s mom a long time–you’ve been friends forever, haven’t you?
  A single tear. "Yes."
  I choked up a bit too, but forged ahead.  "Seeing you reminded me of my good friend I’ve known for 20 years, and how important she is to me.  I just can’t imagine it.  I can’t imagine how hard it is.  So I wanted to say to you, I’m sorry for your loss."
  She smiled somberly through her red eyes and gave me a hug.  "Thank you.  So  much.  So many–"
  And then someone interrupted to talk to her, and she was whisked away.  But we had a brief moment.  The only evidence was the faint smell of perfume and Old Money lingering in the air.

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  1. okay – first: I\’m not a heathen. second: no communion because I\’m not Catholic or Lutheran and I think it\’s kind of zombie-accopolypse to even "ceremonially" eat the body of anyone. third: I noticed the rock on Mrs. D\’s hand when we were at Sue\’s brothers house – I think it\’s important for your 2 other readers to know even I\’m not callous enough to notice that kind of thing at a funeral. and fourth: Mrs. D was the one to come to us before the funeral and she introduced herself first, because that\’s what classy old-money broads do – and I use that phrase with the utmost respect toward her.that\’s all.thank you.


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