Saturday, May 26, 2007

Wake me up before I die

I come in from the back garden weary and filthy to stroll over to the front window and watch the sun set. Outside I see a huge, shiny black car vie for a parking slot in front of my neighbour’s house. Good lord! A hearse can only mean one thing!

I dash to the door to rush over and see what can be done. I hover. I’m only a neighbour. I can’t just waltz in without so much as a by your leave at such a private moment. I can’t stay here and not offer whatever it is I might dredge up to offer. I can’t go over dressed like this, but no-one will care about what a neighbour is wearing at such a time. What will I say, what can I do? What would my mother say, or do for that matter? I stop talking to myself and plunge out the door. Little voices pursue me down the path. It can’t be "him," that daily visitor with the booming voice and the hearing aide, who stomps all over my floors with his mucky boots and outrageous braces? [translation = suspenders] Not the man who adopted 6 children on top of his own four. The guy who visits his parents and has a good word for everyone? How will they cope without him? A man for all seasons and an open hand for everyone. The one who is always there with a tease and a game, a substitute grandfather to weird foreigners.

I stumble towards their front door through the garden that has taken too many years to construct, because the owner is always too busy doing helpful things for other people, rather than taking care of his own. The self sustaining contractor, [translation = builder] with no functioning sprinkler system.

The door is ajar. I knock and peek inside. No-one hears my knock. The wake must be in full flow. I step inside to see revelers. I had no idea that they had Irish connections? From across the room, I see my neighbour, his lurid braces, hob nailed boots and baseball cap. He slaps the back of his comrade and guffaws loudly enough to deafen 50 yards of neighbours. He spots me and strides on over, “hey there Maddy! Whatcha doin?”
“I just came over…..I ……er , I saw the hearse.”
“Yes, the hearse, outside, parked outside, I just wanted to er…..”
“Whatcha mean hearse? There ain’t no hearse out there!”
“Yes, you know….......the big black car.”
“What big black car?” He peers out of his own front window. “That ain’t no hearse, it’s a limo!”
“A limo?”
“Yeah! You know! A stretch limo.” He looks at me, twinkling. He slings an arm, a tree bough around my shoulder and crushes me to his chest, “it’s prom night, fur ma grand-daughter. See her over there, in that big dress? That’s her. Her prom night.” Clearly, it is not only my children who need a "translator."


CamiKaos said...

prom is so overdone.

but he sounds so sweet.

Queen of the Mayhem said...

How funny! That sounds like something I would do!

Glad it was not a hearse!

Mary Alice said...

Love it!

Lauri said...


And yes...America is the land of excess! But my date and I drove ourselves to the prom.

annb said...

What a great story! A Limo? I think I would have been as curious over the limo as I would have been the hearse! Thanks for visiting my blog!

Mommy Brain said...

Too funny! What a great story!

Oh, The Joys said...


Andie D. said...

Well good for you for going over there when you thought it was something as serious as a hearse! So many of us don't want to be intrusive, to butt in. If it had been a wake, I'd like to think you're neighbor would've been touched that you came over to offer condolences.

That said, I have a soft spot for prom. I'd get my kid a limo in a heartbeat if it made sense. Something about the boys and girls all dressed up trying to look older, while they are clearly still so young. It almost breaks your heart.

Jessica said...

What a funny story, I glad it did turn out to be funny and not sad!

Carol said...

Still laughing! I thought it was sweet that you wanted to go over and were worried that "he" passed.
Also wanted to pass onto you this information someone sent to me on email:
It's a Simple Way to Help
Autism Speaks created a music video of the Five for Fighting song, "World", which features images of autistic children and their families.

It is a truly moving video and was the work of Bill Shea.

The band is generously donating $0.49 to Autism Speaks for each time the video is viewed - the funding goes toward research studies to help find a cure.

When you have a moment, please visit the link below to watch the video and pass it along to your friends and family. They are aiming for 10,000 hits, but hopefully we can help them to surpass this goal.

Click here (or copy and paste into your address bar):

Carol said...

Click here for that autism video!

Jocelyn said...

You are, as we say here in Minnesota, a hoot.

Good thing you didn't come bearing flowers and a tuna casserole.

Linda said...

That had to be an incredible relief for you as well as a bit on the embarrassing side!

Sorry so late in posting, I've been a bit overwhelmed with life lately and haven't gotten to all of the blogs that I would like to! I really need a "normal" work schedule!

Dana said...

That is a really cute story! Glad your neighbor is ok.

Thank you for the comments on my blog!

Kevin Charnas said...

HHHAAA!!! Oh man...glad that it was only prom. And hope that no one died afterwards.

ewe are here said...

I'm happy to report that way back when when I went to prom, my date and I drove our own little car.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Too funny! When I was in high school, one boy owned a hearse and drove all of us around in it.

I'm so glad that darling man is not dead. Prom beats dead any day.