So Long Bob…
“Funerals are for the living, not the dead.”
I have no idea who first said that. It seems like a lot of folks have claimed credit through the years… But, nonetheless, it’s something (as a pretty damned experienced funeral go’er) that I agree with. Bob K’s funeral might be an exception to that rule though. Or is it?
He had it all planned out – right down to what cars were parked where at the funeral home. His famous Chevy ‘vert marked the turn off into the facility and his perfect Corvette greeted folks as they walked up to the main entrance. Of course, he had reserved spots for his buddies as well. Tyler’s well traveled little pickup had a spot, Jeff’s roadster was front and center, Ryan’s pickup was nearby, etc…
Not surprisingly, Bob had planned his own little private car show to celebrate his life. And while I would normally feel pretty apprehensive about taking photos at a funeral, Bob’s attention to detail regarding the parking chart made it feel appropriate. So, I took the liberty to snap a few shots before heading into the funeral home and bracing myself for what was to come.
I think we all shed a few tears. At one point, Bob’s son Brian took the podium and proceeded to rip all of our hearts out with his earnest attempt to explain how much his old man meant to him. It was as torturous for him as it was for us and that’s when I really began to think about that quote mentioned above. Who are funerals actually for?
I honestly believe Bob thought about that as he and Maggie planned the event. Obviously, there’s gonna be a certain amount of sorrow… It’s the natural path of things and there was plenty of it at the funeral home. But afterwards, the entire procession headed down to a bowling alley for some pizza and beer. A group of us grabbed a table and it wasn’t long before I felt guilt creeping in. I was laughing, bullshitting, and just generally carrying on with a group of guys that I’ve known for years, but rarely get to hang out with. It was downright joyous and initially, that joy came uncomfortably.
You just aren’t supposed to have so much damned fun at a funeral – right?
After a couple of hours, folks started heading for the doors and we followed. But rather than head home, a group of us stayed in the parking lot and continued socializing out of a cooler. At one point, we all circled around Bob’s Chevy and tried like hell to find the trunk popper. When we finally did, the guilt vanished. I realized then that Bob would have loved the sight of his pals circled around the open deck lid of his Chevy while gripping beers and talking shit.
In life and in death, Bob got exactly what he wanted. And given the time I had with Bob, that doesn’t surprise me in the least.