|Norval G. Whisler 5/7/27 - 8/10/10|
|Color guard bugler|
After the playing of taps, the folding of the flag, and presenting it to my mother, the minister spoke; he didn't drone on and on and never tried to make it seems as if he knew my father, which I appreciated; he picked the right scriptures, and kept his part of it short and sweet, and then began to read pages of memories written by some of the grandkids and of my sisters.
That's when the laughing started.
Appropriately or not, my father's funeral soon swelled with laughter; their remembrances were touching and loving, but some of the things they shared were flat out funny and we couldn't help but laugh. And the common thread was the funniest, something my father did that trickled down from his kids to his grandkids.
Every night my father sat in his chair in the living room with a canned drink--sometimes beer, sometimes not--and when he wanted a new one, he grabbed the can and squeezed until it crinkled. We all knew what that meant: get up and get your father (or grandpa) another drink. There was no question about it; we just did it. When my oldest sister's twins were little, they raced to the kitchen to see who could be the first to get Grandpa his drink. It meant something to them; they wanted to win, to be the one who got to get it for him.
Everyone remembered the crinkling of the can. And every shared page of memories made mention of that, it was so ingrained. And in looking back, it was freaking funny.
The funeral was simple and sweet, with mostly close family in attendance, which is what he would have wanted. And I think he would have loved that he left us with laughter.
|Me, my niece Shannon, and her way-too-cute baby boy Caleb|
My dad, for whatever reason, was never a jewelry person; other than a wristwatch, I don't think I ever saw him with anything remotely resembling jewelry on. But when he was on a ship headed for Korea, he wrote my mom and asked her to get him a wedding ring and send it.
I don't know why; it was surely an all-male crew back then and he likely wasn't fending off unwanted female attention, but he wanted a wedding ring. So she went out and got it for him and sent it off. He wore it through the rest of his service time, but afterward he worked with machinery that made it a little dangerous to have a ring on his finger. I'm guessing that he rather enjoyed having the use of all ten digits, so the ring came off and went into my mom's jewelry box. He never wore it again.
"I got the last laugh," my mother said impishly. "I'm sending him through eternity with that ring on."
I can hear my dad now.