Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Stop Now

These are garnet rings. They belonged to my diabetic aunt. Ever since she died, my other aunt has been saying she wanted to give them to me because garnet is my birthstone. I am the only one in the family (besides my long dead grandfather whom I'm named after) with a January birthday.
At the funeral home on Sunday, my aunt was supposed to give me the rings. My cousin told me she put the rings in her mother's purse. She begged me to wait. It was a long wait. My uncle knew lots of people. He was very involved in his community. He was in the Army and the National Guard, he was a professional sports trainer, an accountant, a coach, and he taught Sunday school. Everybody knew him. Everybody wanted to speak to my aunt, and Goddess help, she stood there and spoke to each and every person who came to the funeral home.

My mother's oldest sister has never had anything to do with me. I think the last time I saw her was when my grandfather died. She wouldn't even acknowledge my presence then.

While I was waiting for my poor aunt to catch a break, I got up twice to look for people I knew. Will stayed in the chapel. Both times, Snooty Aunt stared at me until I was close enough to speak, then snapped her head around so fast I thought her neck would break. She put every ounce of being into ignoring me.

I pointed her out to Will. "That's the one who won't have anything to do with me." Things dragged on. Finally my cousin just grabbed her mother, leading her away from the long, long line of people while frantically waving me over. We converged at the casket only to find out my aunt forgot her purse.

Not a problem, I told them. I would be attending the funeral Monday, the rings could wait. They've kept for 6 months. Every thing is chaotic right now. Don't worry about it.

Snooty Aunt chose that moment rush over. She made a HUGE production. She hugged me, told me she loved me, that she prayed for me, and she thought about me often. She started asking me questions so fast I couldn't answer anything- how I was, where I lived, if I was happy, what my hobbies were.

Hearing the last question, and hoping to save me, my cousin butted in to say I made quilts. That set Snooty off again. She started telling me how all the women in my family sew, her aunts from Texas used to quilt, and I am such an intricate part of the family because I am obviously just like everyone else.

My cousin and I were giving each other confused looks. We didn't know what to do. I began scanning the room for Will hoping he would rescue me. He was sitting at the back of the chapel laughing. Having a good laugh, too. I'm surprised tears weren't rolling down his cheeks.

As Snooty yakked on about sewing, she picked my hands and remarked I had small fingers. Which was great because she had rings to give me.

She has it in her head that it was all her idea to give me the rings. As soon as she saw them, she thought of me. I'm the only one with a January birthday. Garnets are my stone, right?

By now, we are all irritated. People are wanting to pay respects to my aunt and they can't because Snooty is in the way. My cousin and aunt are annoyed because they had to argue their case for giving the rings to me. I am embarrassed to be a public sideshow. I finally just say I will see everyone the next day. I have to go home. And I dart out, dragging a still chortling Will behind me.

The first thing I did when I got home was open a beer. Then I realized I might not have anything to wear to the funeral, so I start trying on dresses. I am looking for something appropriate for summer heat but not too short for a funeral. Every time a dress isn't suitable, I chug down beer.

My cousin calls to say her mother wants to give me the ring NOW so Snooty can't make another dramatic performance. They want to meet me at the store. They are on the way. In my rush to get ready, I put my shirt on backwards. I do not notice this until I am standing in front of my aunt, reeking of beer.

But I got my rings.

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