Wednesday, August 22, 2007

My uncle Ken passed away on Sunday and his funeral was today. He died of complications due to Alzheimer's disease, one of the most undignified and cruel sicknesses I have ever encountered. I didn't mention it before because I was kind of at odds with myself on the way I felt about it. There is a part of me that doesn't really feel anything and that makes me feel rather small. To be frank, I didn't know him that well, and what I did know about him...well, was unpleasant. To be completely bald about it, he always seemed like a real bastard. I hope God will forgive me for thinking that, but it's true. That seems odd, because his wife, my aunt, and his kids were always some of my favorite relatives and I have always been close to them. It's strange to think that a man so closely related to them would be such a mystery to me. He wasn't a friendly man, but that could be chalked up to many things. Maybe he was shy or just a self contained kind of person. I found out today he was in the Korean war and was awarded the bronze star twice. He was also an engineer. It makes me wish I had made an effort to know him better. I choose to believe that I just didn't see the best part of him, which is the part that was the soldier, husband, and father. I am not the kind of person to give new and more flattering elements to a person just because they've passed away, but I want to think I was wrong about him. I also hate that he had to die the way he did. I know you don't have to like your family, heck, there are a lot of people in my family I don't like...but I also feel that there should be a respect there, even of the faintest kind. I feel bad that I never tried to find out the things about him that should have been respected.

He didn't have a funeral per se, but a grave side service only. I had never been to a military service before and I now know that if you want to get a chill on a 102 degree day, you can get it by hearing TAPS played and watching soldiers do the flag folding ceremony. He was buried at Maple Hill Cemetery, which is a beautiful and OLD cemetery not far from where I live. I like to go there and take pictures in the fall and spring. I can't help it. I hate funerals, but I love cemeteries (go figure), especially old ones and there are graves there that stretch back to early Alabama statehood. Big statues and really elaborate headstones. I have never had any problems finding my way around the place until today. While trying to find a way in, I completely passed the whole shebang once, almost ran down a fellow mourner, and somehow got lost and then stuck behind a backhoe, which caused me to have to back up into the grass. I'm not completely sure, but I think I drove over some dead folks while turning around. I apologized for doing it, but you never know how dead folks are going to feel about being driven over. I also realized, almost too late, that B.B King & Eric Clapton are not the most appropriate kind of music to be played loudly while driving through a cemetery to a funeral. Neither is Big & Rich. Luckily, "Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy" got turned down in time. : )

I also came to realize that I not only hate summer, but I also hate pantyhose and high heeled shoes. A combination of the three will almost put me in a frenzy of loathing. Now, however, I'm seated within the vortex of three fans and an air conditioning unit, so I think I'll make it this time. However, for future reference, I just think people should have the decency to die in the winter so as not to necessitate me having to deal with all three things at once.

That was a joke. Close your mouths. Gah.

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