Funeral arrangements, part 1

Looks desolate to me
Looks desolate to me

I see this building every time I go to the grocery store. It seems more desolate in black and white.


My mom called me Wednesday night and told me that my aunt, Irene, had died. Aunt Irene was about six months older than mom, so she was ninety-four. Mom and I had gone to Aunt Irene’s birthday party in June. She was looking very frail, so it wasn’t a great surprise. Mom had just talked to Aunt Irene on the telephone on Monday. My sister and Mom didn’t want to go to the funeral, but I did. They told me they would call me again when they had more information.

The next day, Thursday, my sister called me gave me the name of the funeral home, told me the funeral was going to be Saturday afternoon,  and asked me to send flowers for us all. Of course I said I would take care of it.

I looked up the funeral home on the Internet so I could get directions; no problem there. The first problem I had was that I couldn’t remember Aunt Irene’s last name. She had been married to my Uncle Fred, and I knew that name, but she had remarried and I couldn’t remember Jim’s last name. OK, I thought it would be easy to find the name, I would just look in the Indianapolis obituaries on the Internet. The only obit that I found with a first name of Irene was obviously not my aunt, the woman was too young. So I called my sister back and asked her Aunt Irene’s last name. I could almost hear the puzzled look on my sister’s face when I asked her, and then I heard her say, “Mom, what’s Irene’s last name?”

My mom couldn’t remember it either. She thought it might be Anderson, but she wasn’t sure. My mom suggested that I call my cousin, Bill, because he would surely know. That was a reasonable suggestion, but I also knew I could call the funeral home and that they would tell me. I just felt silly calling and asking the name of the person they were going to bury on Saturday. I decided to wait another day before calling, giving the newspaper another day to print the obituary.

My mom called me about an hour later and asked me if I had called my cousin Bill yet, and I told her no, I planned on calling the funeral home. She said, “OK.” Mom called again about two hours later and asked me if I had called my cousin Bill yet. I told her no, and that I would call the funeral home if the obituary wasn’t published the next day. She said, “OK.” And then she told me that she thought Aunt Irene’s last name might actually be Alexander, not Anderson. That sounded right to me.

The next morning I checked the obituaries, and found Aunt Irene’s. Imagine my surprise when I found out that her first name was actually Harriet. I never knew that. Thank goodness mom had come up with the correct last name.

I decided to go to a local florist to order the flowers through FTD. I drove to a florist’s shop that I had used before and found that the florist had gone out of business. That surprised me, but I knew of another shop, so I drove there, and found that they were also out of business. What the? I used my smart phone and checked for other florists, found one, and drove there. That store was still in business. I went in, looked through their book of arrangements, and chose one. The woman behind the counter looked it up on the computer, but couldn’t find it. She called to a woman working in the back, and asked her to come out and help her. The woman did, but couldn’t find it in the computer. She thought that maybe they were using an old book. But, since I liked the arrangement, they could describe it to the local FTD florist in Rockville, and something similar would be put together. It was at that point that I realized that I could have/should have just gone online and ordered an arrangement on the FTD website. It would have been quicker and cheaper. Too late. On the upside, I helped a local business scrape by for another day. That was worth the effort.

Feel free to check back tomorrow for the rest of my story…

Musical Musings

Another picture of young Trina
Another picture of young Trina

This is another photo of Trina from when she was still living with us on Eastland Avenue. I don’t know that she ever wore this dress in public. My memory isn’t that good.


This is not the post that I planned on doing today, but it is what I’ve been thinking about for the last hour or so. I decided to inflict these thoughts on people who read Classical Gasbag, instead of just internalizing the whole process. Well, it is my blog.

Yesterday evening Cindy and went to watch our grandson, Mason, play football. We had a good time watching him play. After the game we gave our oldest granddaughter, Macey, a ride home. Cindy had one of my Kingston Trio CDs playing. It was their Time To Think album; their first with overtly topical/political songs included. At one point Macey, who was probably oblivious to the existence of The Kingston Trio, mentioned that they sounded similar to Mumford And Sons. She ‘s right, of course.

After we dropped off Macey and headed home, Cindy confessed to me that she had no idea who Mumford And Sons were. That made me feel somewhat superior since I did know…I take my feelings of superiority where I can…they come around so seldom. Then she said that I should burn a CD of folk music for Macey. I told her that I didn’t know what Macey would like. Cindy then started listing songs that I should include. Most of the songs were either on the CD we had playing, or were Peter, Paul & Mary songs. It was pretty obvious that what Cindy wanted was a CD of folk songs that she liked, and that she assumed Macey would also like. She might be right. I have no insight into Macey’s likes or dislikes musically. I did take it as a positive that she had listened to Mumford And Sons, but beyond that???

Still, I enjoy burning CDs for people whom I like, and I love Macey. However, I like putting my own stamp on the CDs I burn, so I didn’t want to be limited to Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul & Mary recordings. How could I burn a CD of folk songs from the 60’s and 70’s without including songs by The Weavers, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, The Chad Mitchell Trio, The Limeliters, The Brothers Four, and the list goes on. Of course I couldn’t do a reasonable overview of the music in just one CD, I would have to have multiple CDs so that I could also include some of the other individuals and groups such as Tom Paxton, The Journeymen, Judy Collins, Malvina Reynolds, Joe & Eddie, and the list goes on.

Also, Macey is in high school, so some of social/political references in the songs wouldn’t be known to her, so I would have to write notes to go along with the artists and songs. That would only be fair (don’t get me started on the lack of liner notes on albums today). Yes, this would be a fun project; one that would keep me busy for months.

But then I wondered, do high school students even listen to CDs unless their parents are playing them? I don’t know, but my guess is that they are more likely to listen to their iPod. So, in effect, I would be creating these CDs more for my enjoyment than for Macey’s.

That is as far as my thought process has reached. I’ve reached that internal philosophical point where I need to decide on whether to go ahead, or to drop the idea. Maybe I’ll just burn a CD for Cindy.