Yesterday I drove to the south coast in order to collect my father and take him to a church in north London for the thanksgiving service of a family relative.
As occasionally happens, he was in a mischievous mood. Driving up through the London traffic, in terms of our schedule rather too busy for comfort at one point, he gave a running monologue upon the preponderance of buses (“The government should ban them, they keep getting in the way) and the pedestrians we passed (e.g. “Good God, what do you suppose ever attracted her to him?!”, “Well, he’s totally unemployable …” and “She shouldn’t be buying food, she should have her stomach compulsorily stapled and be put on a diet”).
Fortunately, when we reached the church – having been on the receiving end of his quips at sombre occasions before – I was well-primed for what might follow (there have been times when this was not the case).
One of his grandchildren was scheduled to give the eulogy.
Minutes before the service was to begin, presumably responding to a request, an usher walked in front of the congregation to take a small flute-shaped carafe of water and beaker to the speaker’s pew.
My father turned slightly towards me and whispered out of the corner of his mouth “Christ, it looks like he’s been asked to provide a [urine] specimen …”
Later, after the service was over, we retired to a local golf club for a glass or two of wine, tea or coffee and a variety of sandwiches and other food goodies.
At one point, the eulogy-giver popped over to our table for a chat and I congratulated him upon the content and delivery of his piece. Both had been excellent and my sentiments were genuine.
“Yes – well done, Harry …” chipped in my father, “… would you like to do mine?”