Reading the will....

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Another real story from Undertakings of an Undertaker. Ever been present when
a will is being read? This reading took place directly after the funeral... and it made for
a most interesting day which you will discover!

Reading of the will....


The service had gone as planned, the procession to the cemetery uneventful

and now the family walked around the grave chatting with one another and those

who had come from afar to bury Regina.She had been a nurse, worked her entire

life in a big eastern city.Never taking a husband and producing no family, Regina

was now at repose in her grey wood casket whichnow sat on the lowering device

 waiting to be put in the cement vault which was already in the ground.Strange

 tradition this burial business....when you think

about it... we embalm people with chemicals, dress them,but more chemicals in

the form of makeup and hairspray on them, then place them in a casket and encrypt

that in concrete or steel.... so much for a quick return to dirt from which we came.

It is a strange custom indeed, but we've been performing the same ritual since the

time of the Egyptians and we give it little thought.

The sun was waning in the late afternoon sky as the mourners now stood near their

their cars readyingto depart from the cemetery. The man who had dug the grave was

 also ready to go to work, his pick up truck tucked behind the little storage shed

nearby.... apuff of blue smoke told me his pipe was lit and he was staging near his

 equipment and would be ready to go as soon as the casket was lowered.A gentleman

 in a neatly pressed blue suit approached me from my left, gingerlystepping around a

head stone in order to get to my location...."Excuse me"he said... "I know this is

probably an unusual request, but what is actually left of our family is here today and

we were wondering if we might be able to go back to your funeral home to read the


This indeed was an odd request. A family had never asked such before so I was

kind of surprised, yet delighted.If a will was to be read, that means the finances should

be settled quickly and that would insure the funeral bill might get paid post haste!

I pondered a quick moment...what did Regina have...who would get what?This might

be an interesting end to what started out as a very typical day of funeralizing!

With no family, she had worked hard all her life in the metropolis and I assume would

have had some pretty high living expenses there.Her funeral was rather meager as the

family when making arrangements had no idea how much funding Regina actually had,

and so had picked out a very simple funeral for her. 

"I'd be more than happy to have you folks come back to the funeral home"I blurted

to the man in the blue suit.His smile on a very rounded face told me he was indeed

pleased and he turned to the meager crowd of twelve to fifteen and announced "Let's

all go back to the funeral home folks, Mr. Ramsey, Regina's attorney is going to read

the will, then we can all head home before dark."

Without further delay, the mourners jumped in their vehicles and headed out under

the antique wrought iron gate that hung over the main entrance.How many funerals

had gone under that wrought iron in the last 100 years....dozens? maybe hundreds?

It would be fascinating to know. 

The funeral parlor was only about 6 country blocks from the cemetery, and the

cars arrived out front very quickly... their occupants scurrying up the sidewalkand

into the front door.I went to the chapel without delay, put out the register stand with

 the microphone attached and re-positioned some chairs within a few feet of where the

attorney would hopefully please everyone with his recitation.

The man in the blue suit cleared his throat and nodded to Mr. Ramsey to begin.

Ramsey, an older gentleman approached the podium, unbottoned his fish bone

coat and reached into his left inner pocket to remove a faded yellow envelope.

The envelope looked as ancient as the sport coat, only it did not show any signs

of ash burns...was he a cigarette or pipe smoker? Pipe I presumed, as he passed me

I had sniffed a brief odor of what could have been very fine cherry blend.

Ramsey proceeded to remove from the other coat pocket a very ancient pair of

half moon reading glasses, and he plopped them on the end of his bulbous nose

as he snapped the yellow parchment open with a quick flip of the left wrist.

And so he began all the legal adjectives of being of right mind and not of any duress and

of sound body and so on and so on ...I thought...almost out loud.. .. come on..

get to the good stuff... daylight is wasting.

Ramsey paused a moment in order to get everyone's full attention, then

he began the giveaway...

"to my loyal cat Scarsdale, who has been with me continuously for the past ten

years, I leave the amount of $75,000."

The twelve sitting in attendance gasped.... it was a breath -in so deep that I thought

for sure all of the dust in the room would have been instantaneously removed.

One older lady in the front row in a purple hat and shawl started fanning herself

from left to right to get some air, her color had quickly gone from rosy to pale.

Ramsey continued.."to my trustworthy dog Randolph I leave the amt. of $125,000."

There was no breath this time...a couple of the folks started coughing ... their

throats tightening ....lets see.. that’s $200,000 so far...would there be more???

And me, I'm at the front door thinking... gee.. I just buried this lady pretty much as

a pauper... think I could get them to rethink the merchandise?Don't know if the

grave was yet filled, maybe we could upgrade that casket to a nice oak or cherry.

It was a fleeting thought only, I was happy to have served the family, money

really does mean nothing when you are in the cemetery... the place where men and

women really are equal. 

Well, Ramsey continued, a few more thousand to this society and that church...

a couple of the people in attendance did get her old Cadillac I think it was.. but

the bulk of it went to.... her loyal pets... the creations that were with her daily..

the creations that didn't ask for anything but to be fed and to be loved, they giving

love, loyalty and companionship in return.

Within minutes they were gone...down the sidewalk, into the cars and headed

East to that big apple on the coast. As I closed the front door I couldn't help but

think what an odd day it had been.Regina was at her last stop, in her town where

she had been born, her worldly possessions distributed and now those recipients

were starting the cycle all over again.Life and death really is a cycle, we went

full circle here today...and in the chapel.... there was still that slight hint of

Ramsey's  cherry blend.

Submitted: April 24, 2020

© Copyright 2023 Stanley Swan. All rights reserved.

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