The Sacred Heart Chapel bells toll, a light grey hearse pulls up, parking in front.
Nineteen cars, some with bright green FUNERAL tags placed on the center rearview mirrors are cloistered in one spot,
as if hoping for more attendees.
But no more cars come.
The house under construction next door to the small outdoor garden shrine to Mary,
Our Lady of Perpetual Help,
stops the usual all day banter of happy workers in grimy T-shirts, work pants, boots and baseball caps.
The men stop their electric saws and hammering, wandering around the work site,
as if each is lost in thoughts about death.
I know them by the trucks they drive, the names they call each other, the tattoos on hot, shirtless days,
the music they blast after lunch, to get through the rest of the day.
The funeral is over in less than one hour.
A small number of cars follow the hearse and the deceased up the street, passing by me on my front porch drinking coffee, still in a nightgown.
Since there are five cemeteries within walking distance that I'm well acquainted with, I am pretty certain where they are headed.
Finding myself thinking of the recent funeral of my sister-in-law's husband, giving the eulogy at my father's funeral,
and coming home from vacation to learn of two old friends who passed away while we were on vacation,
I am like the work men, lost in thoughts about death until a stray tune floats through,
..."oh yeah, life goes on...long after the thrill of livin' is gone..."
The house phone rings, one a friend, one a telemarketer.
I have to take 4 capsules of amoxicillin 500mg one hour prior to a dental check-up, so I don't get bacterial endocarditis.
... "oh yeah, life goes on...long after the thrill of livin' is gone..."
Jack and Diane lyrics by John Mellencamp