Thursday, December 29, 2005

Memorable for all the wrong reasons

Christmas day saw the passing of my daughter's only remaining great-grandmother. My wife's grandmother. My mother-in-law's mother.

Grandma Smith was 91.

Some impressions of our surreal Christmas holiday...

Found another home that followed my guidelines for a box of tissue in every room...a funeral home. Hmm, may have to rethink my guidelines.

My brother-in-law didn't anticipate being a pall bearer at his grandmother's funeral when he packed for his trek home for the holiday, so he had to rent a suit. $100. Custom fit. Nicely tailored for 24-hours notice. Good to know of such things.

My 2 1/2-year old finally grokked what was going down and spent most of the funeral service explaining to people what she had recently figured out. Her exact words to people were, "Gramma Smith is dead."

The funeral home wanted to charge $300 for a "family car" to take the immediate family from the church parking lot to the cemetary. Wouldn't have been such a jaw-dropping amount had it not been for the fact that the church was 100 yards away from the cemetary. The family passed on the limo.

I was astounded by the variety and scope of food that distant family, friends, and well wishers brought by. Generally speaking, bundt cakes seem the most suitable of mourning desserts to me.

I was asked to be a pallbearer for the services, and during my long walk down the aisle, escorting the body of one of the dearest, sweetest ladies I've ever met, all I could think about was the time when S took a 2 1/2-year old C to a funeral, and she blurted out "they're bringing in the box," as the coffin was wheeled into place.

In my eldest daughter's short 6 years of life, she's now buried 3 great-grandmothers.

My wife had one-hour to write up an obituary for her beloved grandmother before the local newspaper publication deadline passed. Here's what she came up with...

Rose Louise Smith, long-time resident of Yukon, died December 25, 2005 at Deaconess Hospital in Oklahoma City after a short illness. She was 91.

Funeral services have been set for 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, at Saint John Catholic Church in Yukon. Burial will follow at the Yukon Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Yanda & Son Funeral Home of Yukon.

Louise was born April 2, 1914 in Oklahoma City, to John and Mae Wedman.

She was a 1932 graduate of Yukon High School. She married Forrest “Cottie” Smith in January of 1935 and raised their three daughters on the Smith family farm north of Yukon. She had a life-long appreciation for clothing, jewelry, and cosmetics and eventually took a job away from the farm, selling women’s fashions for the Halliburton Department Store in downtown Oklahoma City.

She delighted in music and never missed an opportunity to dance or sing, whether it be square dancing, or taking part in a celebration at Saint Ann’s Nursing Home, where she lived most recently. Louise was an active participant in the Saint Ann’s Chapter of the Red Hat Society. She was an artful conversationalist, and prided herself in staying informed of current events. She also held a profound interest in the wide-ranging Oklahoma weather, and possessed an uncanny ability to predict it.

Survivors include daughter and son-in-law Jxxx and Jxxx Wxxx of Yukon; daughter Tina Harmon of Houston, Texas; sister Marie Wedman of Oklahoma City, nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

She was preceded in death by her parents, husband, Forrest, daughter and son-in-law Beverly and Thomas Long, sisters Myrtle Frances Johnson and Aleine Patton, brother Paul Wedman, and great-grandson Grant Hagg.

Peace be with you, Louise.

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