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3:27 p.m. - 2001-07-27

FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND ... OR TWO

My God I'm drained.

Okay ... the funerals. Then ... after this entry...back to hilarity, hijinks and communicable diseases.

Brad's funeral was a tear jerker.

I got there early this morning and only the family, Mom, Dad and Sis were there.

The casket was open. So, being the curious little George I am...I looked.

My God.

Okay...I haven't seen the guy in about six years or so. He was gaunt. Probably weighed a hundred pounds.

They had HEAVY eye shadow on him and had colored parts of his face...my God...he looked horrible.

I saw a large scar on top of his head from ear to ear. He must have hit a rock.

It did not look like the Brad I knew. He was a friend of mine ... but this was downright creepy.

Anyway...we all go into the sanctuary or whatever it's called. All six of us pall bearers sat up front.

They brought the family in. No biggie.

They wheeled the casket in and I got a lump in my throat.

The minister spoke a bit about life and death and about Brad and his fascination with disc jockeys. Brad always wanted to be a deejay or a singer, the minister said.

Then the minister wanted to read something that Brad's father ... my old boss and friend of the family...had written.

It was written in prayer form.

Okay...

It was without a doubt, the SADDEST thing I've ever heard. Basically a prayer for God to watch over his son.

There were heart-warming parts. Parts about how his son is a prankster and a joker and to be careful with him.

The lines that got me and that are still getting me right now said that he was glad that God enforced a "No Bullying" and "No Name Calling" rule in Heaven. Because all of Brad's life, people had picked on him and made fun of his mental illness.

Folks...your Uncle Bob LOST IT.

My face was burning. My eyes were blinded with tears. I had to reach down and grab a Kleenex and start wiping the tears away. I have NEVER cried at a funeral. NEVER. I watched my grandparents die with ease.

But I lost it today. Luckily, I wasn't the only one...every pall bearer had a tissue in his hand and we were allll crying.

Wenditold me that EVERYONE was losing it in the place. I didn't know because I was sitting in the front row. But I heard more sniffling in the audience than would normally be heard at your typical Meryl Streep movie.

After the prayer, it was over and the seven of us pallbearers walked to the gravesite, sharing our stories of Brad and talking about what a great prayer that was that his father wrote.

I really want a copy of that prayer to remember Brad by. I'm going to wait a few weeks and let them adjust to this new life, then call and ask for a copy.

The graveside part was short and sweet. Brad's old boombox was played near the casket and Beethoven's 5th Symphony was played. Not really your normal graveside music, but Brad was far from normal. The tape kept dropping out and as the song went on, the tape kept having more and more gaps in it. As I told Wendi and Edweird...the tape was just like Brad...neither one was all there.

I'll miss that little guy.


If there's such a thing as night and day in funerals...this afternoon's funeral was the ying to Brad's yang.

This man was a highly regarded journalist. I found out he had been interviewed for "60 Minutes" at one point...he played a big role in the Rosa Parks story...as well as civil rights and segregation back in the 1960s.

All I knew of him was he was a drunk, cantankerous old coot who wanted things done his way and everything else could go to hell.

There were more people at Tom's wedding. They were all ancient as hell and everyone had hearing aids so it was LOUD, because you had about 100 senior citizens yelling at each other so they could hear each other.

Tom's son was pretty coked up. And I don't mean Coca-Cola. I had heard he was a drug abuser...today proved it. He was running around LAUGHING at his dad's funeral, making jokes about the casket, slapping people on the back and having just a weee bit too much fun at his dad's funeral.

That was kinda uncomfortable to watch.

A letter from the Governor was read, sending his condolensces. You don't hear that at too many funerals.

I sat behind the former Mayor of the city for 24 years. I didn't sit behind him for 24 years...he was the Mayor for 24 years.

Clarification rocks.

About 30 minutes into the service, the preacher gets up there and delivers a sermon.

Now then...this isn't church. But like he said, it's not too often that you get people from all different religions in one place like this and he was going to take advantage of it.

So he preached.

None of it had anything to do with Tom. I eventually tuned him out and started to play my "If a tornado was about to hit the place and we all had sixty seconds to live, which lady would I run over to and start macking out on?" game.

Unfortunately...the pickins were slim. I ended up lusting after a woman in her seventies with a walker and a semi-decent hairdo.

FOR 35 MINUTES!

My God...my preacher preaches for 16 minutes every Sunday...that's it.

This guy blabbered on and on for 35 freakin' minutes!

I started passing out Certs. My mouth was getting pretty dry.

Then...at the end of his sermon, the preacher admits that he didn't know Tom at all. Had seen him once...then saw him in the hospital when he was detoxing.

That was it.

He basically said he wasn't going to get up there and pretend like he knew Tom...he didn't. So instead, he pulled out an old sermon and just blindsided us with it.

I wanted to get up and walk out. Mostly out of boredom, slightly out of protest.

We sang a hymn that was so long it had its own time zone.

And then...one hour and 15 minutes later...the service was over. Time to GO TO THE GRAVEYARD!!!

EHHHHHHHHH!!

No thanks Preacher Dude. It's in the 90's outside...this black suit is getting hotter by the second...and you just sucked up some valuable time from those of us who still work for a living and aren't depending on Social Security for our weekly bag of groceries.

So Wendi and I left. Edweird was smart...he skipped Tom's funeral.

So that's it. Both men are buried now and life for the rest of us will go on.

I've told Susie that I made a promise to myself to stay more in touch with Brad's parents than I have the last few years.

And I plan on doing just that.

Y'all have a great weekend! And the rest of y'all...see ya tomorrow!

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