This funeral happened in the winter and was in the small town of Listowel. It was one of the early funerals I did and I was always anxious that these went well and that families felt supported and cared for.
The investment in time for a funeral can be short or very long depending on lots of matters but when the actual service is over and the casket has been loaded in the funeral coach, I always sighed a breath of relief knowing that the trip to the cemetery will be shortly and my duties will soon be complete.
This day, was a cold day and the snow as I remember was really deep. It meant that we were going to the cemetery and that boots, coats and hats would be necessary. As the family stood in the shelter of the building the pall bearers were struggling to keep their footing in the weather and deliver the casket to the coach gently.
Once in the funeral director went to start up the funeral coach – but it did not start – you could hear the engine turning over but it would not start.
So what do you do if a funeral coach doesn’t start? And you live in a small town and you’re the only operator? Of course, you call CAA.
I can still see the hood of the coach up and the blue and white tow truck parked near it and their boosting the car.
It’s been one of those images that has stuck with me for many years.
In another case, the funeral director had called for me to do a funeral for a family that I didn’t know. He provided the information, and I do not recall why, but the funeral was one day and the interment was another. The funeral went well I thought and the interaction with the family was good.
On the day of the interment I looked up the address of the cemetery location and drove there. When I got there I could not find the funeral director or the family…. so I started to drive into the cemetery looking for them. There was a chain link fence along one side and strangely enough another cemetery on the other side. Sure enough – there were my people gathering around the grave site.
For a moment I thought about jumping the fence… but for just a moment… then I got back in the car and drove around the corner to the cemetery.
Afterward I asked the funeral director about it – it turned out that he gave me the address of the location where the cremation would take place – and it was where I had gone – he neglected to tell me that the interment was in a different place. Disaster avoided by a chain link fence!
Finally – a short story – I was doing a funeral in the chapel in a cemetery (a very lovely building) when suddenly the side door opened and another minister, red in the face, obviously sweating, a look of panic on his face… and as I paused to look his way, followed by all heads in the chapel turning to see what was happening he asked loud enough for most to hear “do you know where the xxxx family funeral is?”
Oh my. The poor guy is in the wrong place.
He then disappeared and we proceeded. I wondered afterwards if he found the family or what happened.