Beginnings, Endings and the CD of Death

Probably not many people outside the clergy can say they attended a funeral and a wedding on the same day, but that was how I spent my Saturday.

Bryan Audrey’s funeral was set for noon while the wedding of the son of one of our LawyerCon pals was set for 2:30 p.m. On opposite sides of St. Louis, as you’d expect.

I’d spent a lot of the past week thinking about Bryan and listening to the mix CD he gave me a few years back. After a few days I decided it was finally time — time to make the CD of Death.

I have CDs for just about every occasion: weddings, graduation, Halloween, Christmas. But I didn’t have one for funerals. Oh, I’ve thought about it for years – every time I heard an appropriate song I would file it in the back of my mind – but I never sat down and put it all together. Bryan’s death drove home the fact that you can go at any time so I’d better have my visitation/funeral CD ready.

‘Cause I don’t want you playing no hymns at my funeral. I got nothing against hymns, I actually have a pretty good hymn mix CD I made, but that’s not what I want them playing for my final farewell. I mean, by the time my funeral rolls around I will have been dead for a few days so it will be far too late at that point to be sucking up to God. All you people singing “Amazing Grace” isn’t going to change where my reservation winds up. I’d rather you be listening to “I’m Outlived by That Thing?”

When I finally sat down to compile the thing I had far too much material for one 80-minute disc. So I made two. Note to whoever is in charge of my visitation/funeral: Plan on 160 minutes of background music. If that’s too long, just use disc 1 at the funeral and disc 2 at the big celebration party that follows.

And so it was that Saturday morning, The Wife, The Son and I drove to the funeral home for Bry’s funeral. Dress was khakis and polo shirt, but I had neither, plus we were driving directly to the wedding from the funeral where khakis and polo shirt would not have been appropo. The Son dressed accordingly, however.

The first thing you notice about Baue Funeral Home is that there isn’t enough parking. The lot was full, the curvy, narrow roads looping through the cemetery were full. We eventually found a spot and hiked down the hill back to the funeral home.

Holy crap, where did all these people come from? I thought the turnout for my mother’s funeral was large, but this may well have been larger. The hall was packed. We eventually found the line to get in the room but it wasn’t moving too quickly. It was a slow, long line — as if Bryan had been reincarnated as a ride at Disneyland.

When you finally got to the room they had bookmarks made up with Bryan’s 25 random things what not!  along with a program with some nice photos and comments. There were many photos displayed throughout the room, along with Boston Celtics paraphernalia and a Galactus action figure that made me smile. By the time we got through the line it was 12:30 p.m. so we were unable to stick around for the service. I’m sure it was a good one. It was certainly a good turnout.

The wedding started promptly at 2:30, which was unfortunate as we arrived promptly at 2:30 (had to drop The Son off with the Mother-in Law and grab some lunch). We took our seats just as the parents were walking down the aisle. Just as well we weren’t early as this was your standard (as in long) Catholic wedding.

It was a nice service and the reception was in the grand hall at Union Station. We got there early figuring we could kill time wandering the many quaint shops at Union Station. That was a mistake. Once upon a time Union Station was filled with cute little businesses — there was a Beatles store, there was even a comic book shop briefly.

Today there is almost nothing. We walked in the side entrance and walked down a long hall that used to be restaurants and shops and now was empty. It was like being in one of those post-apocalyptic movies. There was a shop selling Cardinals memorabilia at the end of the hall. As you turned right there were a few more shops among the empty storefronts. The fudge place was still there. The big restaurants that anchored the front entrance were not.

Upstairs the food court still had some businesses going, but that was about it. Not one of St. Louis’ crown jewels anymore. We made our way to the grand hall in time for the cocktail hour and got our drinks and stood by one of the small round tables and waited for the appetizer people to walk by. As usual, I’d rather they just put all the appetizers out in front of me, but it’s not my show. They were pretty good appetizers — nothing too fru-fru.

Dinner was quite tasty and they even had a chocolate fountain. I’m a big fan of fountains made of chocolate. Or anything made of chocolate, come to think of it.

Had a good time but had to leave early to pick up The Son. And avoid the Duck Dance.







3 responses to “Beginnings, Endings and the CD of Death

  1. If I happen to survive you, my dearest husband, I will make sure that I play plenty of Bob Dylan, Warren Zevon, George Harrison, Johnny Cash and Bruce Springsteen at your visitation and memorial service. You had better pray that Rex, our beloved minister, survives both of us because no other one would ever understand or make such allowances for people like us. I’ve found that you can only really trust ministers who quote Leonard Cohen, William Shakespeare and Bob Dylan………..

  2. You’re a dear, Laurie! But Your Husband has me thinking. A really good funeral should have 2 chocolate fountains and no Duck Dance…though in Ronnie’s case we could throw in the YMCA!

  3. I hope I will be receiving a CD of Death when I see you Thanksgiving. I always enjoy your “mixed tapes”.

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