I’d been dully sitting there, only half-listening to the murmurs. It seemed most everything had been wrapped up, and I was wondering what the etiquette was for what came next.
Do we go to lunch? Do I go back to Adrian? Do I go somewhere else?
I couldn’t tell you what time it was or even who was sitting to my left.
But, I know who was on my right, and I can tell you exactly when the pandemonium began.
Jeff’s step-mother had been delayed waiting for a pre-scheduled plumbing appointment.
Among her first words, directed to Jeff’s father were, “Your sons!”
“My sons?” Roger baffled back.
“Yes, YOUR sons! The plumber found a girlie magazine when he went behind the wall, to get to the pipes.”
“Behind the wall?” Roger puzzled, pushing back a bit. “How do you know it was one of my sons?”
“Because,” Nevie reasoned, “none of my sons would ever do that!”
Roger looked across to Jeff’s brother. “Did you do that?” he asked.
By the time I processed what the discussion was about, rapid succession flustering moments were piling up.
“No,” he incredulously denied. “I didn’t do that!”
With fast-forward film speed, I’d run through a conversation Jeff and I had rather recently while watching ‘This Old House.’
It seemed they were always finding odd things behind walls. That time, it was a baby shoe.
“That’s so weird and kind of creepy, ” I’d commented. “I mean, how did a baby shoe get behind the wall?”
Acutely aware, I needed to interrupt. Quickly.
So, I called on my grade-school training and solidly raised my hand.
I had to wave it around a bit before I garnered some attention.
“I know,” I announced.
Up until then, I hadn’t spoken much, so, I cleared my throat and announced again to be sure everyone heard me.
“I know who did that.” The room quieted down.
“Jeff told me.” It got a little quieter.
“Jeff told me,” I repeated. “He told me… ‘If Dad and Nevie ever decide to remodel the bathroom, they’re gonna get a big surprise!”
It was Jeff.
For convenience, he’d explained, he’d hidden his late 70’s, misappropriated and highly inappropriate periodical in a conveniently narrow slot between the fixture and the wall.
“Then, one day,” he’d laughed, “It got sealed up!”
In the history of funeral planning, I doubt there’s ever been a session that ended quite like Jeff’s did.
Raucous laughter, table slapping, the shaking of many heads, and one fist aimed amusingly up at heaven.
“That Jeff…” Roger mused. “I guess, he got the last laugh, didn’t he?”
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