Wednesday, March 10, 2004


Monologist Spalding Gray's death (proof of which was recently discovered) has turned some bloggers' thoughts to the various ways we take our leave of the dead.

I am hardly one to emulate on that score. When my grandfather died, my mother, sister and I had to sit apart from each other at the funeral because we kept setting each other off in gales of laughter.

My grandmother, whose English and hearing were both dicey, had chosen to wear some kind of lace doily pinned on her head. As the officiant "counseled" her before the ceremony, she frequently nodded her head in what we all knew to be utter incomprehension. At each flutter of the doily, the three of us guffawed helplessly. Our grandmother, who knew and loved us, was not offended (actually, I'm not sure how much she noticed). My mother's brother, whom my grandparents adopted late (after my mother had left home to get married), was shocked, I guess understandably. We were told not to sit together by the officiant, and so managed to appear dignified at the actual ceremony. But clearly we are not a dignified family.

(The Warrior Monk and I both attended a Spalding Gray monologue staged at the Guthrie Theater a number of years ago. He was indeed riveting and it is sad to learn he was unable to escape his demons.)


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