Further In. (The Danger of Dying in October.)

Just a few steps into the building, I happened to glance up.

The peculiar idiom, “stopping dead in your tracks,” came to life.

As I scanned the wrap-around floating shelves above the lobby, I barked out a laugh.

My mother was still moving toward the meeting room so I grabbed her arm.

“Oh, my God, Mom!” I croaked. “Look!”

What I thought was amusing, my mother thought was appalling.

It was October. Either, the 4th or 5th. Michigan’s got quite a thing for Halloween.

Tightly packed above my head were skeletons, ghosts and some extra-large Styrofoam tombstones emblazoned with “R.I.P.”

I stood there a few moments longer smiling and crying, and then scooted down the left hall to save the office manager from my mother’s indignation. “You should have taken that down!” she announced.

“It’s fine,” I told her over Mom’s shoulder. “I think it’s kinda funny, myself.”

The room was pretty full. I think my first choice of seat was the fireplace ledge, but that was vetoed by just about everybody. Someone came up with a folding chair.

Who was there? The neighbor couple from across the street, Jeff’s father, my mother, my mother’s husband, Jeff’s family and friends, and surprisingly two clergy.

Another unimagined oh-no moment. Jeff’s father was Lutheran. Jeff and I were Methodist. I expected our Methodist pastor would officiate since we were Methodist. Jeff’s father craved the comfort of his own Lutheran traditions. At some point, before gathering with the group, this had been discussed and the two Reverends had agreed to work together.

The result was Jeff had double Reverends. Odd, but not.

Following his larger-than-life life momentum, going big and large into the afterlife seemed appropriate.

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