Every once in a while I make a tactical blunder so profound that I find myself laughing for hours afterwards. Two or three in one day is a record even for me.
I nearly made it through the funeral mass this morning without blubbering and might have, had my cousin’s careproviders not solemnly processed up the church aisle during the offering holding flowers. Men in their forties and fifties do not normally don black and navy blue with conservative ties, and then grasp yellow carnations and march down a church aisle.
Much less, lay their flowers on a casket and join hands to bow, in tandem, to say goodbye.
My cousin Paul Orso always seemed to be a fairly good man, though I am sure that no one is perfect and he was just as human as anyone. In the last three years, though, he resolved to live as good a life as he could and that was considerable.
I left the luncheon in the Parish Hall several hours after the burial. I had greeted every cousin whom I recognized and a few whom I didn’t. I met second cousins, fiances, spouses, and church members. One woman approached me and said, Are you the lady that blogged about Paul? It was so beautiful. I didn’t know her and couldn’t figure out how she selected me from the dozens of people in the food line until Paul’s sister Theresa reminded me that I had included a picture of Paul and me with the blog.
A few miles outside of St. Charles County, I slipped Paul’s CD into the Prius’ player. His voice and guitar strumming filed the cool air of my little vehicle, Joanna’s Prius, the car that makes me think of my favorite curmudgeon. And then, when the tears had begun to flow, and I felt lonelier than ever, I spied the sign for the Wentzville Steak ‘n’ Shake.
I knew, without a doubt, that I had to have an orange freeze, in honor of my mother. Mom loved orange freezes so much that in her last weeks, we would walk down the hill from her house to get one to use as a vehicle for her pain pills. So I had to get one. Never mind the white sugar, never mind the calories, never mind that I spent 30 minutes in the hotel exercise room last night, the good from which would be completely wiped out.
I cried for the next thirty miles, slurping the ice cream and listening to my beautiful cousin sing about the wonder of life.
I’m not complaining about my tactical errors. Sometimes you just gotta say what the hell, and surrender to the sorrow.