A Matter of Differing Perspectives
“All I want is some quiet. Is that too much to ask – just some peace and quiet?”
He slammed the door to his makeshift den and stuffed his fingers into his ears, which wasn’t an easy feat with all of that steam shooting out. Why was it every single time he sat down to read the paper, pay the bills or do some task that required concentration everyone in the blasted house decided it was time to romp, stomp, whine and make any other deafening noise they could produce?
A soft knock at the door, “No, I did not hear that. No one would dare ….” The knock came again, this time with more conviction. “WHAT IN THE HELL DO YOU WANT?”
Through the door, “It’s Pastor Jacobs, Jon. I – we – you asked me to come so we could go over the arrangements. If this isn’t a good time…”
Jon cussed under his breath and opened the door sporting what he hoped was a warm smile and welcomed the Pastor into the small room completely side-stepping his former outburst.
“Sit, sit, here let me move these things out of the chair.” He extended one hand as if to show the way and scooped up several newspapers and magazines with his other, cramming them into a box of miscellaneous junk that sat on the floor next to his desk. He dug through a stack of papers that hid the top of the desk and retrieved a folder, shoving it awkwardly toward Pastor Jacobs who was trying to avert his eyes from the lone copy of Hustler magazine that had fallen to the floor just in front of the chair as Jon had tried to tidy up. Jon’s gaze followed his and he swooped up the magazine starring at it as if it were a live serpent that had somehow crawled its way in. He fought through yet another pile of junk, found the overflowing trashcan and disposed of it with a display of great distaste.
The Pastor was reading the contents of the folder with focused attention and periodically a perplexed expression would cross his face followed by the tiniest up turn of the corners of his mouth. Jon wiped his sweaty palms on his pants and watched, silently, for what seemed like a much longer time than one would need to read the single sheet of paper. He tried to casually cross his legs but in doing so the chair that was sitting crooked on a folded area of the rug, tipped, almost spilling Jon right into the Pastor’s lap.
“Oh my GOD,” escaped from Jon’s mouth. ‘My God knows I tried to do my best with the writing of this, Pastor.”
Just as his mind had wandered to the thought that he would never want to play poker with this man of the cloth, a chuckle slipped from Pastor Jacob’s mouth and grew unapologetically into a full fledged laugh.
“Jon”, the pastor had regained his composure and looked kindly at the man whose funeral service he would some day soon be performing. “Jon, you may not be aware but I usually write the service I will be giving for the friends and family of the deceased and only needed some facts of birth place, genealogy and things of that nature which are usually provided by the family. In addition, I might make mention if there was a particular function or position the deceased held at the church and I can see where you had tried to tie that in … but, actually, well Jon, I’m not certain I could deliver a message with some of the content you have included.” He placed the paper back into the folder and offered it back with an apologetic smile.
Not knowing quite how to respond, Jon received the folder but remained seated as the Pastor bid him God’s blessings and closed the door quietly behind him. He sat for a long while before opening the folder and then began to read what he had written, having gone over it in his mind and remembering nothing objectionable. It read;
This great man Jon Albert Hanson was a model of the community, a pillar of the church and a beloved family man. He might not have come to church often but when he did, he always tried to make correct change out of the offering plate and if he ever made a mistake, he offers his apologies.
He was a loving man to many ladies of the community and married three of the fortunate, producing thirteen offspring, only two of which ended up incarcerated and one of those was on trumped up charges based on the Sheriff’s hatred of Jon ever since he found him and his wife in bed together. Jon, had prepared all of his children for possible imprisonment based on his extensive first hand knowledge from his own unfortunate incarcerations of his youth, but only those two took advantage of his teachings.
About town he was well known to many of the drinking establishments as a man who mostly paid his tab every payday. To any of those who ended up holding the bag because of his sudden demise, he offers his condolences. That goes for any of the grocers, utility companies and auto repair shops too.
So as we say goodbye to our dear friend and relative here, always remember his words of wisdom to every man. “If they don’t have your DNA, they can’t prove a damned thing.” And to his many loves, he says one final farewell and wants each of them to know they were the only one he ever really loved.
A couple of tears rolled down his face as he put the paper back into the folder and he was feeling pretty down until his ever working brain came up with the perfect solution. Opening the door of his den, he called out to his youngest son, the one who graduated from the Middle School and brought him in to discuss the reading the boy would be given the honor to do at his daddy’s funeral.