Funeral in the Snow

By Will King 

 “Grandpa has died!”

I remember my brain functioning at full, struggling to accept this bleak news that caused me to stand stiff as a board, mouth agape* (wide open), but I was trying to comprehend the incomprehensible. My mother’s father had just passed away.

These final words happened one dismal Friday morning. It was no different than any other until about five minutes before I was going to leave. The phone rang, and I was curious to see who it was, so I stayed to see!

“Hello?”

“Oh”

“Yes”

“Ok, I’d better go, thank you”

I wish the line had been busy at the time, for what my mom was trying to get this information through. She stood speechless, motionless, for a while and then she finally said it. “Grandpa has died. We will attend the funeral in Massachusetts.” I assume that I looked just as horror-struck as she did. Like I had been slapped across the face. Grandpa has just died. What’s more, how was I going to do my book report?

I had a book report all set up for today on the southern folktales. My mom said that if I didn’t do so well, to tell Miss Pearlman that my grandpa died this morning, could I please re-perform on Monday. If I knew Miss Pearlman, she wouldn’t buy it. So I got through history, math, and computers. “One period left,” I thought. Somehow, I managed a respectable 98, I got two points off because I was supposed to make hand gestures and stuff. If you ask me how I did it, I’ll tell you the truth. I put my brain on autopilot. It was really weird. I was just sitting on the stool and started blabbing on about my story without thinking or trying to move! Everything was going my way finally!

The next day, we drove to the airport! Then, it hit me; Friday was my last day with computers and history. I’d miss the two days with no homework and I just meeting me teacher! I would have missed science and P.E. We headed toward our plane to board.

On the plane, exactly like the movies, was a little kid so annoying. I mean kicking the back of my chair, yelling at his brother, and making plane noises. I considered telling him about September 11th, and that would shut him up! Or would it provoke him? I decided not to take the risk. For two hours I endured suffering! We finally got there and I had to endure a few more hours’ drive to my Uncle Dan’s house. It was snowing, but it half melted and re-froze so the neighborhood was like frozen tundra.

We got to Uncle Dan’s house and went right to sleep. I had an incredibly realistic dream that I was waking up. I looked out the window, and there was snow. I went down stairs and met my mom, my dad, Dan, Ben, Nora, and Lily. “Wait a minute,” I said aloud; “this isn’t a dream there wasn’t supposed to be any snow today!”

I quickly put on my warm clothes like everyone else and hustled outside! The snow crunched beneath my feet. Dad and Lily started on a snowman, Ben stared rolling a snowball around the house, and I stated a snowman of my very own! By the time Ben got the snowball ¾ of the way around the house, it was too big to move and half the size of him. Before I knew it, I picked a fight with my dad. Snowball fight that is. I took cover behind the grill, as dad ran to a nearby tree. I wandered how such a serious time could be so much fun! We hurled wads of microscopic flurries for an hour, and then we had to go for the ceremony.

We went to the church and sang songs similar to the ones at our church, but the melody was a little different and the words slightly modified. They brought back the casket in and made speeches about what a good man he was and how he served in the war and stuff. To the graveyard…

It was kind of a scary scene with the tombstones, all covered with snow and the fact that you couldn’t see anyone for miles (until you got over the hill). We went and listened to the man preach about grandpa. They lowered him into the hole, and everybody cried.

We were escorted to the after party on white limos. They where pretty cool. When we got there, there where all my cousins: Chris, Sam, Andy, Amanda, and little three-year-old Gabrielle. In fact, I can’t think of anybody on my mom’s side that wasn’t there. Let’s see, there were Aunt Kathy, Noreen, Rick, Aunt Andrea, and Uncle Mike… I could go on forever, but then I would miss the food. After talking with my cousins, I went into the bathroom to wash my hands before the refreshments to get there before anybody else, before the good stuff was gone. We were very hungry, so the refreshments where gone in a flash.  After we were all refreshed and warmed, we went home to Uncle Dan’s house.  I said goodbye to Andy, and the rest of my cousins, and left in the car.   The sun was directly overhead and it was about 12:00n.   And, as you might know, snow melts under heat.  There was none left after we got back to Dan’s.  It was already Monday and school was almost out.  Who were my teachers?!

We were gone first thing in the morning.  I complained because Lily got to stay and I didn’t.  The car ride was peaceful.  Not much talking.  The plane ride was even quieter.  The talking came to an abrupt subside after the first few minutes.  We arrived in Jacksonville and drove home where I found out that I had Miss Charbonett and Coach Savage.

Looking back on this event as little as a week later seems like it was just a vivid dream.