Today I am grateful that Xpresspost (Canada Post’s supposedly fast, cost-effective service with tracking and on-time guarantees) finally got it right. Late, to be sure, but right in the end. This is one of those stories that my father surely would have told about one of his friends had it happened to them so I am confident that I would have his approval to share this story with you.
As many of you are aware from my previous posts ‘About the Cabbage Patch‘ and ‘L is for
Laughter‘, my father was a paranoid schizophrenic and an alcoholic. When he was compliant with his medications, he was a happy fella who loved to play the fiddle, tell stories, a few jokes and the odd outlandish tale. He had the greatest laugh to go along with all those jokes and stories. In his heart of hearts, he was your typical Irishman stereotype.
My father began his journey to his next life on Saturday, March 24, 2007. He was 75 years old at the time of his death and was living in Powell River, BC, some four provinces and thousands of miles away from me. When I received word of his passing and was given the details about where to call to make arrangements for his return to Ontario, I gathered the troops to meet me at my home for some much needed support. My troops included Sauerkraut, my sons, my mother and my best friend, Reba.
It is important to note before I go any further that one of my father’s many paranoias was our postal system, Canada Post. I can’t begin tell you how many warnings I received to never, ever trust Canada Post. “They’ll open and pilfer your mail,” he would shout emphatically. “Never trust those sons of b’s at Canada Post. NEVER!!!” Right, Dad, right. I took these warnings, like all his warnings, with a grain of salt.
In addition to Canada Post, my father could not stomach organized religion. While he was a spiritual man and could recite many passages from the Bible, he had very little good to say about organized religion itself. Organized religion was right up there with Canada Post. “Never, ever trust either of them,” he would admonish. This distrust of organized religion stemmed from a scarred childhood of being picked on by the nuns and other religious members of the Church because my father came from a poor family. My father was one of eleven children; while his parents were rich in faith, they were poor in pocket. Many times throughout my life, my father told me that his God was in nature and in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia and Alberta. That was where my father found peace.
Now back to the story. When my father passed on, I decided that the best way to honour his memory would be to hold an informal Irish wake. I knew darn well that if I had a funeral for him, he would come back from the dead and haunt me for the rest of my life. No way was I tempting that, so, an Irish wake it was!
With everyone gathered around me in the living room, I made the difficult long distance phone call to the funeral director in Powell River. It didn’t take me long to realize that the funeral director had the personality of a post. After he answered, I explained who I was, why I was calling and where I was calling from.
Funeral Director: You’re lucky that you caught me here today. I don’t usually come in on a Saturday.
Me (once I regained my composure): I’m sorry that my father chose to die on your day off.
(Inside thoughts: had my father known that today was your day off, I’m sure he would have waited until Monday to die as well as die between the hours of 9 to 5 so as not to disturb your breakfast or your dinner. Do you take an hour for lunch? Just so we know when to schedule his exact time of death. Yes, I was pissed and rightly so.)
FD: How may I help you? (Not an apology nor an offering of condolence to be heard from the man. So, yes, definitely a post.)
After a brief discussion, I decided to have my father cremated and have his ashes returned home to me in the care of our local funeral home director (who definitely was not a post). I also hoped that he would return home by his favourite method of transportation, Greyhound bus.
Me: How will you be sending him home?
FD: By Xpresspost.
Totally inappropriate, I know.
FD, Sauerkraut, Sons, Mom and Reba:
I tried to compose myself, really I did. But I just couldn’t help myself. I was nervous about calling the funeral director in the first place. I was emotional because my father had just died and everyone in the living room was watching me. PLUS my father was going to be returned to his roots by his arch nemesis, Canada Post. AND the funeral director was a idiot. All of these factors combined were totally begging for an inapporpriate reaction. And, so, inappropriate I was. I mean, really, what else would you expect from me??
Me: I’m sorry. You would have to know my father to know why this is all so terribly funny. Is there any other way I could have him sent home?
FD: No. This is the most cost effective and best way.
Me: Okay, then. (Inside thoughts: “you dumb ass funeral director. Why did you become a funeral director in the first place if you weren’t going to show any compassion, you frig arse, you?”)
After the phone call, I continuted with my plans for his Irish wake beginning with the selection of a date that would allow enough time for his ashes to arrive. The invitations went sent out, the luncheon was organized, and the blessings, toasts, jokes and stories were selected that were going to be shared. The best darn Irish wake ever was ready to go!
Only the ashes didn’t arrive.
That’s right. Canada Post lost my father’s ashes on their journey home and my father missed his Irish wake by three days. Three days! Can you imagine holding an Irish wake without the deceased being there?
Hell, yes. That is exactly what I did. I had no other choice. We toasted the man who loved a good story never expecting that he would become the star of the greatest story of all, how he was late for his own wake. AND how it was all Canada Post’s fault. Oh, the irony and drama of it all!
I could easily imagine him playing his fiddle up there in his heaven high above the Rocky Mountains, stopping for a second, and with that sparkle in his eye, looking down to admonish me “See, Lynn, I told you to never, ever trust Canada Post!”
And by the way, it is totally appropriate for you to have laughed while reading this post; so don’t be feeling badly if you did. Why? Because it is a pretty darn funny story after all and my Dad would be so happy knowing that he made people laugh one more time.
Irish wake: 1
Oh my! That was a very funny story, in a sad sort of way. I’m sure that your dad was laughing so hard and may have even had a hand in making his ashes late, just so you would have this story to share and to say “I told you so.” one last time.
You spun a really special story! I’d love to think that if he could have read this, he’d have laughed. A good sense of humor is often the only saving grace in the face of idiocy (and dumbass funeral directors!), and the ability to laugh can help heal much and deeply. To life! To remembering the good stuff! To laughter!
What an awesome story….your Dad surely did have the last laugh. I must tell this story to Sarah (Canada Post employee)she will get a great chuckle as well…once again, thanks for the daily belly laugh…well done
Inappropriate or not, laughter is wonderful when you’re feeling so awful. We did the same kind of thing after my Dad died, and it was just a continuation of how inappropriate we’d always been. I think it’s hilarious… that Irishman Murphy’s Law in fact! … that Canada Post made him late for his own wake and I bet he’d’ve been tickled about it.
thank you for another great post and a glimpse into your past. As I was reading it all, I was just like the girl in the second gif by the podium… now, you definatelly know not to trust Canada Post and another one is DELTA Airlines (D-on’t E-xpect L-uggage T-o A-rrive). Also, my condolences and sorry for your loss.
Omg.. I can’t even believe that happened! Kudos to you for going ahead with the wake. I’m sure your dad was there in “spirit.” 🙂 As for that funeral director.. Rude. And I would’ve asked for a refund on your shipping. What a jerk. – I did snicker all the way thru this tho because it is funny but being a Catholic girl we take these dying days seriously. Verrrry seriously. 😉
Omg, you are too funny and yes, I did laugh through the reading. I’m sorry for the loss of your father but I think he would be enjoying this story as much as the rest of us and proud of his daughter. Good for you and God bless your father. @sheilamgood at Cow Pasture Chronicles
I can’t believe that funeral director! And he probably charged you a small fortune too! Anyway, a great story–it can only happen in real life, that’s for sure.
First, thank you for following my blog, I’m so glad you did because it brought me here. This was a very funny story!! I can’t believe that funeral director though, what an idiot.
You are a genius, your dad can be only proud to have a such an excellent story teller. He did made me laugh and I thank him and you for it. People say wait, wait,,,, one day you will be able to laugh at it, and you said it when you were ready. Your pictures were worth a thousand words, amazing choice.
May your dad rest in peace.
Why thank you! I can’t help but think that my dad would be pleased at how I ended up being a chip off the old block. It took me a long time to appreciate the fact that I inherited all of his good qualities and I am so happy that I did. I am also happy that our paths have crossed and I look forward to following you and your blog. 🙂
Sorry for your loss. Great tribute to your dad. Funeral was perfect for the kind of man he was. Funeral director was a jerk. I hate the entire death industry which seems geared to fleece bereaved people out of their insurance money.
Thank you, Sheila, for your kind words and for stopping by the Cabbage Patch. I agree with you wholeheartedly about the death industry. It’s shameful really.
I got a great chuckle out if that. I am very sorry for your loss though.
Thank you, Lauren, for dropping by the Cabbage Patch. I am happy that you got a chuckle out of that post and my dad would be, too. 🙂
We had the inappropriate laugh fest talking to the funeral director when my mom passed away last year. I’m glad we weren’t the only ones.
I am sorry you lost your mom last year; it’s never easy losing a loved one. I do find comfort knowing that I am not the only one to have had an inappropriate laugh fest while talking to a funeral director ;). Was yours an eejit, too?
Oh, it was epic. My husband and I were choosing the casket, et all.
He’s a big man, 6’3 250 pounds. Big man. He was doing his best to be supportive, and make conversation.
He spots this concrete “urn shaped” structure in the room, and since he wants to be cremated, he’s curious and asks the funeral director if a fellow his size could fit in an urn like that, pointing to the concrete object. The director didn’t miss a beat.. Dead pan says “sir, that’s a flower pot”.
We all lost it. I felt bad for the mourners around us, they taught we had lost our minds. But I needed that laugh, it was therapeutic.
That is hilarious and sometimes it is those dead pan comments that we need most of all during times like that. I would have lost it, too. Thanks for sharing! I chuckling as I type this. 🙂
thanks for stopping by my blog so I could find you! This was a great tribute to your dad–I look forward to reading more of your posts.
Thank you very much for your kind comments. I can’t help but think that my dad would have both approved and been proud of my tribute to him. 🙂