Last night when we left I looked up to see the temperature and it was NICE out. My brother asked if I wanted to play some electronic game but I decline because I always like to watch the scenery pass by. Once we got to the funeral parlor I saw dad’s Uncle D, who owns a lot of birds, one of the males plucked all of the head feathers off of his mate. He works at the prison
where Michael Ross
is being held. He’s a nurse and gives him his medicine
. Sometimes Michael Ross says something but Uncle D can’t talk to him because it’s against regulations, and sometimes when Ross goes to get his medicine he touches his hand. Afterwards sometimes Uncle D goes over to some women workers and tells them that he said they have lovely necks. Sometimes they don’t appreciate my sense of humor he says.
Mom and dad knelt down to pay last respects to Uncle K (who isn‘t my uncle, but my dad‘s) as my brother and I stood behind them. It’s an open casket, always is. I always look away now because this is why I hate these things. I can’t stand looking at dead bodies. It’s not your friend or loved one in that casket, no one is in there, it’s empty.
I went into another room where some kids were playing, two were peeling off the face sides of Yu-Gi-Oh cards and drawing on the white side, creating new characters. Characters like Butt-monkey and Hick-dog. One said that his card’s damage is infinity, the other says his is fifty-seven billion, which is more than infinity. I looked at him with a tilted head and a squinted eye. My brother comes in and I asked to play his game. It’s a little racing game where you just hit a button for left or for right to avoid the other cars. I beat it a couple of times because it doesn’t take much then gave it back to him. He asks the kids who were peeling their Yu-Gi-Oh cards if they want to play and they said sure. They race a couple of times and laugh at it’s simplicity. One of the kids said to use the NOS, I looked at my brother then laughed. They give the game back and I see that one of them is wearing shoes that has flashing lights when he walks.
I decided to go back into the other room and look at the pictures tacked on the board. There was one where he had a giant frog on his head. My dad pointed out a picture of my great-grandmother, the first picture I ever saw of her. She died before I was born from a heart attack. I went over and sat next to Pop-pop, my great grandfather, this is the wake of his first son.
Uncle K died of cancer, had it for about a year. He used to be a welder, and whatever he welded my dad told me created these weird gases, maybe that’s what gave him the cancer.
I didn’t really know Uncle K, but I did go to his house once. We watched NASCAR on surround sound, and during commercials the History Channel. The last time I saw him alive was at a party during summertime, he looked real bad, but seemed to be fine.
I saw R, Uncle K’s son. We shook hands. He asked me how I was, I said I was fine, how are you? That was my automatic response, I’m programmed to say that whenever someone asks me how I am. After I said that today for the first time I wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to say.
Later on we started talking to my dad’s second cousin, A, a tallish man with dry, rough hands. Played with sticks of dynamite when he was growing up, said he’d ignite one then throw it, he liked to see the explosion, didn’t know what it was. He owns a farm and has to make twelve-thousand pounds of kielbasa in a week. On his farm he’s got white-faced cows, chickens, pigs, emus, a pony named Buster, everything. Says he wants to get a couple of bison next.
We see Pop-pop’s neighbors, who have a pig, a dog, a horse named Willow, and a couple of sugar gliders that they’re thinking of getting rid of and maybe giving to us.
Today we’re on our way to pick up Pop-pop, we offered to yesterday because it was still supposed to be snowing now but it’s not. I look at the icicles because I like the way they look blue. I’m wearing a black suit so whenever I walk I walk a certain way and whenever I stand I stand a certain way because I remind myself of Jack from The Nightmare Before Christmas. On the radio something is said about a guitarist whose top hat was stolen. He always wears the hat at live shows so he’s offering fifty thousand dollars for the return of it. I laugh because this is contrast to what I learned this vacation; sometimes you just lose things and you have to let them go.
I’m thinking about all the other ones of these I’ve gone to, and most of them- if not all of them- have been in the winter time. More people die in the lonely months of winter.
Once we’re at the funeral parlor again, we all get out of the vehicle. Inside they do the little prayer thing. Inside Uncle K’s daughter cries and says he’s dead. My brother leans over and tells me it took her a while and I think this is extremely disrespectful and almost punch him. Pop-pop is going to ride in the family car but it’s full so he has to go into the pallbearer car. My dad is a pallbearer so he’s also in that car. Mom doesn’t know how to turn on the hazards so she tells my brother to run and ask dad quick. While he’s away she asks someone who works at the parlor and he tells her. On his way back my brother goes the wrong way but comes back and finds the car.
As we follow the leader I think it’s kind of funny because whoever is in that car gets to hold stop signs that say STOP, FUNERAL, although I know it’s parlor workers in that car.
As we walk into the church I see my dads mother, my grandmother. I haven’t spoken to her in…ever. I’ve seen her, but never spoken. I hear she doesn’t like crowds. I head she went to a supermarket one time to get groceries and came back a little later with nothing. She got mad at someone and got kicked out.
After the church part Pop-pop rides with us to the cemetery. He looks sad. I know this but I don’t know what to do, I‘m not good at this stuff. My brother takes his hand, he’s good at that stuff. Although he was in the navy, Uncle K doesn’t get a military burial, wonder why.
From here we go to a place called Nucchie’s, a place with no windows. It creeps me out because it reminds of some place they would kill the Romanov’s. My dad tells me that it used to be all windows. There we eat foods like pasta and chicken. People talk about things but I don’t really listen.
When we drop Pop-pop off we make plans to go out for breakfast on Sunday, and after breakfast go to A’s farm. We say goodbye and I love you. Pop-pop gives me a hug and gives my brother a hat.