My family has a unique sense of humor. Or warped, depending on your own sense of humor. And humor is a sense. It is unique and personal. I can’t remember if I ever told you about my uncle’s funeral….
The hospital had left the tube in his mouth too long after he passed so the funeral director had to use body putty to fix his mouth. This might be too much for some of you, if so stop reading, but it does get better…Body putty was once an entire Thanksgiving conversation at our family table. Anyway, when my “aunt” leaned in to give him a final farewell kiss before calling hours started, she accidentally dislodged the putty. As she stood back, wiping her tears, she saw my uncle had cracked a smile. This made my “aunt” shriek, leap back from the casket and cry all the harder. My mother and other aunt came running forward to see what my “aunt” was so hysterical about and instead of being scared, or grieved, or even grossed out, my mother was annoyed and my other aunt immediately bust into hysterical giggles at my “aunt” and her distress. My mother, being a funeral director’s wife and a nurse said “someone go find the body putty right now!!! People will be here any second” and she and my aunt set about fixing my uncle’s cracked smile. My mother being very serious about the whole process and my aunt laughing so hard she had tears streaming down her face and had to run to the bathroom announcing “I’m going to wet myself!!!!”
That gives you a general idea of not only the kind of situations we seem to always find ourselves in but also what we find funny. Absurd really, but in my family, getting all upset about a slip of the body putty isn’t really a good idea. Now, spill a soda on the carpet or forget a bag of essential coupons in the car and THAT is a major catastrophe!
Today was my youngest daughter’s first holy communion. What could be less funny? What could be more religious and heartwarming than a group of 2nd graders receiving the body and blood of Christ on a lovely spring morning, all decked out in their sweetest sunday clothes? Well, you weren’t sitting with MY family were you?
First of all, the gospel reading is the one about Lazarus. When I see this one coming I lean over to my middle daughter and tell her this is when Jesus created the zombies. She started at me wide eyed and told her older sister who told her boyfriend. Kids these days love a good zombie story and here is where it all began…they were mesmerized!! Then on to the sermon. Pastor began by telling the story of the sunday school teacher who asks the class “what do you have to be to get to heaven?” He asks this directly to our communion class of 8 year olds. One boy says “a follower of God” the pastor says “well, yes, that is a good to be” one boy says “baptised” and pastor says “Many of us are and that is good also” And as I am sitting there thinking “what DO you have to be to get into heaven? Rich…no….attractive….no….married?….no…” MY 8 year old raises her hand and in total seriousness says “Dead.” at which point the entire congregation bursts out laughing and she kind of smiles at me with the “what? it’s true isn’t it” look on her face. Pastor laughs and shakes his head and says “yes. That is the one thing you have to be to get into heaven. Dead. Thank you!” He’s got our number. He knew if it wasn’t going to be HIS kid to come up with it would definitely be mine….
Next, we hike up to the altar. Just the first communicants and us parents. We are using bread the kids baked the day before and instead of dipping wafers like usual, everyone gets their own little cup filled with wine. I remind my kid NOT to make a face when she tastes the wine and NOT to spill it on her beautiful dress. She gets hers, I get mine and it was everything I had not to turn to her and say “cheers! Bottoms up!” I didn’t. She does her shot and I see her face starting to collapse in on itself with the effort to NOT make a face. I do my shot (which is actually WAY less than a typical shot, but I can sip a shot for an entire evening) and I feel my face also collapsing with disgust. I don’t drink so, after this tablespoon of strong awful wine, I’m drunk. We walk back to our seat and my littlest leans over and says “It burns! Will it ever stop burning? Why didn’t I take the grape juice” Now, being that I am drunk, I am finding her raspy distressed confession hysterical. So much so that I am not keeping an eye on my mother who is one of a kind, truly.
She is up there and the pastor comes with the bread. Apparently that part went off without a hitch, except that he ran out of bread when he got to my daughter’s boyfriend and had to turn back to the altar to get some more and forgot where he was in line when he turned back around and so skipped my daughter’s BF completely with the bread. And here comes the tiniest acolyte with the tray of tiny glasses for wine. There was white grape juice in the middle of the tray and empty glasses on the outside. The idea being that if you wanted grape juice, take one. If you want wine, take an empty and the deacon will fill you up.
My mother didn’t understand the directions. And she was still trying to figure out how to rectify my daughter’s boyfriend lack of bread situation. She grabbed an already filled cup and downed it. Realizing that she just had grape juice, and that she doesn’t like grape juice, she returns the used cup and grabs a new cup and offers that up for a fill when the deacon comes.
I had no idea what the heck is happening up to the altar. They all get back and sit down and my middle daughter leans over to me and says “grandma thinks she used a dirty cup for the wine.” Having NO idea what she is talking about, I just say “grandma’s drunk” which she repeats to her grandma and they all start giggling. My daughter’s BF is sitting there with The Look on his face from the wine. He didn’t even have any bread to cut the taste with, poor kid. I know my mother is sitting there thinking “I wonder if we should just sneak over and grab him a chunk of that bread. I don’t think anyone would mind really. There is alot left over…”
Cut to the restaurant where my mother has brought approximately 150 pictures of her dead cats. I kid you not. To share with us, and reminisce over cute dead cat stories. Remember the three legged cat Whitney? Well, he had four legs but one was malformed and so we had it removed as he couldn’t keep it clean and it was always covered in poop and litter….and there is Edgar. He drooled and shook when he was happy so if you were petting him you would be covered in cat drool….ahhhh yes and Cynthia and Elliot…look, here they are again, molesting each other on the kitchen table. What else do you do on your first communion? And there is the traditional gift of pink and purple baseball glove and ball….