February 15, 2012 § 4 Comments
It was hard to maintain the solemnity of the dead man’s wake when his mouth wouldn’t stay shut in full view of the mourners. When he died at the age of 85, the distance was too far and the expense too great to hold his wake at the nearest funeral home. So, it was his daughter-in-law, who lived on the farm with him and her husband, who took charge of preparing his body.
But death was viewed with the same seriousness as the temperance pledge in their family bible which remained unsigned. Temperance was a virtue, true, but so was hospitality and it was important to ensure there was enough dandelion wine to go around. Death was not a thing to take lightly but would always mean that while yet another person we love is gone, we are still here.
But that mix of sadness and relief, which often threads its way through funerals, was not enough to stop some mourners from becoming visibly upset at the sight of a dead man suddenly feigning surprise. His daughter-in-law therefore added to her list of chores the task of smearing sealing wax over his lips to keep them from popping open. As the wax was not strong enough to hold for very long. she would repeat this chore until the mourners had left.
John Hansen lives with his wife and child in the suburbs of Montreal, Canada where he works spends his days looking at spreadsheets and evenings writing and obsessing over Coronation Street.
Image: Blue Morpho, By Leigh-Anne Fraser