Posted by Lyra Mollington
Editor’s note: before reading Lyra’s latest thoughts, it may be helpful to read last week’s Thoughts of a funeral-goer.
Whilst everyone else was making their way to the cloisters to look at the flowers, I popped back to have a chat with the young lady chapel attendant. I pretended that I had left my reading glasses behind. As we approached the pew, I apologised. Silly me – they were in my bag all the time!
Before she could lead me out, I asked her if she had a busy day ahead. She told me that it had been fairly quiet recently and there were only five services that day. Which was interesting, because Joyce’s family had been told by their funeral director that the crematorium was ‘chocker’. Perhaps he was worried that if he told the family the truth – that he was having trouble fitting them in to his tight schedule – they would look elsewhere. Although I doubt it. Who wants to go ‘shopping around’ for a funeral? Apart from me of course.
I casually mentioned that the lady vicar had seemed to be in a hurry. Was there a family emergency? The chapel attendant’s lips were sealed. Well almost. She smiled and asked me if everything had been all right. I was about to say yes, apart from the vicar bolting for the door like a greyhound released from her trap, but before I could speak, a voice boomed from the balcony. I had completely forgotten about the organist. Unlike the chapel attendant, he was not at all discreet. But he was extremely charming.
‘Ha!’ he boomed. ‘She was panicking from the moment she arrived!’ He was now leaning over the balcony. ‘She’s doing a service at Randall’s Park in half an hour and the traffic between here and Leatherhead can be a nightmare. And there’s been a road closure. Squeaky bottom time methinks!’
And with that he sat down and started playing his organ in the style of Eric Morecambe! The chapel attendant tried not to smile.
Interestingly, one my favourite comedians used to be a crematorium organist – Bill Bailey. Perhaps they’re all comedians. Perhaps they have to be.
I digress. I wasn’t going to get any more information out of the chapel attendant and the organist was off to ‘powder his nose’ so I left to join the rest of the family.
Is there any sight more forlorn than smartly dressed bereaved people silently looking at flowers? In this case, even more so because Joyce’s family had requested ‘no flowers’.
I put on my solemn face. Inwardly I was smiling. Joyce wouldn’t have liked the vicar… but she would have loved the organist.