Tuesday, October 04, 2005


---Despite the title of this entry, there were actually no references to Lynyrd Skynyrd. Shocking.---

So this weekend, we set out on a trip to visit relatives gathered to say goodbye to 2 of my cousins that were killed in a house fire. Knowing the family the way I do, I should have brought paper to write all of the things down for one heck of a blog. So now I am attempting to do this from memory. Hopefully it will paint a picture for you.

Started out, we drove through the country side to a small east Texas town. The town was one in which it sprung up out of empty fields and winding back country roads. We knew the name of the funeral home, and were not disappointed, as it was the only one in town. Google maps might as well have said “go over yonder, cross from the Fire Department, around the corner from the gas station/movie store/hardware store. Yes, all three stores were combined into the one Fina station. Superfina mart, if you will. Mrs. Ninjamunkey pointed out as we drove up “oh look they are having a fish fry at the cemetery this afternoon.”

We circled the town a few times, since I did not see anyone I recognized standing in front of the funeral home, and then placed a call to my folks, who were on the way. They soon arrived as we were gathering the baby munkey from the car and walking to the front porch. My mother quickly told us we should have been inside already, as we were family, but to be honest, I had not seen either of the 2 boys in nearly 15 years, so we were family twice removed.

We walked past the mob, and they were staring intently. I figured out what it was. We were dress nice. Shirt, slacks and a tie for me, and Mrs. Ninjamunkey was wearing a very nice black dress. Everyone there looked as if they were coming in off the lake after fishing all day, or was getting ready to go watch some stock car races, and stopped at the service on the way. No, really. I saw 3 T shirts advertising beer, 2 cartoon character shirts, and probably 20 rock band shirts, but not current bands, more like “Guns and Roses” or “Skid Row”. I think they were salivating at the thought of the rich family member coming back to make a payment or two on the trailer for them.

It was about this time there was an audible murmur from the crowd. I glance over and two plains clothes officers with obvious shoulder buldges walk toward the building. At first, I thought the county had gotten wise and picked this occasion to serve warrants. They would have made a killing. But instead, no, hey that is cousin James! He got a little furlough from prison. I heard a statement made, and I am not paraphrasing here: “Oh wow, the last time James got to come to a family function, he had to wear chains. I need to go get a hug!” Nothing says family like the state correctional van sitting in the driveway.

We go inside, and up front there was the display. Several bouquets of flowers, 2 urns, and a framed photo. Apparently they could only find a framed photo of one of the men killed. Sad really. But judging from the obituaries posted in the local newspaper, it is a good thing. Imagine the worlds worst DMV photo, as your answering a question, just having woken up and being hung over, that would be better than the photos in the obits. So one frame is it. As we walked in, there was a young woman dressed in a skin tight red mini skirt. No, tighter than you are thinking right now. She had on a faded black “guns and roses” T shirt, tied up just above her navel. Had it not been distasteful, I would have taken photos, just for you the reader to see.

As we sat down, I suddenly realized that a funeral is no place for a 2 year old. Baby Munkey was crawling all over the pews, acting like a 2 year old would, and should. We were getting dirty looks from Cletus and the clan, but really, I did not care that much. It is a celebration of life, and therefore, Baby Munkey has more life than anyone else there. And then the service started.

The minister started by reading the obituary posting, complete with dates. I think that was for those in attendance that could not read. Really. That is the only thing I could figure out. After reading the obit, the music began. I am not sure the first song, but I do know it was Skid Row. You see, Dennis, one of the men, loved Skid Row. His first son was named Sebastian for the lead singer. So here is this hair metal song blazing into the church. Everyone had the somber look as they were reflecting on the words, which I could not make out. Apparently church sound systems are not designed to handle Rock. And then the the wheels came off. The cd started skipping. A lot of skipping. It took every ounce of self control to not stand up and yell “Re-Mix!” Instead of someone actually realizing that there was a sound issue, they just let it skip. And skip. And Skip. I look at Mrs. Ninjamunkey, and she has a look on her face of pain. After a moment, I realized my face had the same look, and it was not pain, it was contorted to not scream in laughter. After 30-45 seconds of Skid-Skip, someone tried to do the artsy thing and turn down the volume slowly, as if the song was supposed to end that way, on a slow fade of skipping.

After more talking about how the two boys loved to fish and hunt, and sit on a Saturday night with a few beers (I knew the reality was a few beers in the morning, and a few in the evening) and a guitar, they played another song. Again not sure the song, but it was a country song this time, something about when I am gone, there will be a train wreck with my momma who was drunk. Not really, but it was country. It was also on a CD that apparently was used as a beer coaster first, as it was scratched all over and sounding like it was one of the original recordings from Thomas Edison.

Then talk turned to survivors of the boys. Now here is where things are kinda interesting. You see, Jimmy had just gotten engaged to a woman that was also in the fire, but managed to get out in time. (editor note: At this time they are working on bringing criminal charges against the woman for dousing the boys with some sort of flammable, and then lighting the whole thing) Now that woman was actually Jimmy’s brothers ex wife. So had the wedding happened, She would have been her children’ mother and aunt. The other boy had just reconciled with his exwife and was heading to Arkansas to be with her and his children, and this was supposed to be the going away last hurrah for him.

Of course all of this was glossed over in the ceremony, but I kept waiting for a Jerry Springer sort of moment, but none came. You know, the “you stole my husband and my dog and then killed him, the husband not the dog” type of thing. As the service was ending, they played “Every Rose Has it Thorns” by Poison. A fitting choice to end an event such as this.

I am sure at this point, if you don’t know me and are reading this, you are thinking one of several things: 1) Man this guy is a snob and an asshole. I cannot believe he would take something so sacred and make fun of it. 2) This guy would be a blast to hang out with, he is dark and demented 3) Is that you, brother Ninjamunkey?

And how was your weekend???


Halfway to Fifty said...

I told you you would need that cooler of beer.

Leemer said...

I don't feel guilty for laughing at your story because that is exactly the reaction you wanted.

Oh, I also dimmed the bedroom lights and held a lighter over my head while I read this entry.

Time well spent for me. Nicely done.