The funeral

My father's coffin

If we are told as kids that we have to go through a morning like this in the distant future we wouldn’t believe it and, even if we did, we wouldn’t be able to grasp it.  Thank God, since this is the kind of thing you really don’t want to know is coming.  It was a nice graveside service at Spring Forest Cemetery.  Would you believe that the funeral director’s last name was Fisher?  (When Matthew and I first noticed this at the funeral home we almost collapsed, having been faithful fans of Six Feet Under).  The Vets did a military service and there were quite a few people, many of whom I have not seen in 30 years or never met.  No rain but it was frosty on the ground and cold – cold in a way that never makes it to the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ll tell you.  My Dad sure packed in an eclectic group of mourners.  There was the New York Telephone cum (eventually) Lucent group, with whom my father worked for years.  Then his fellow musicians, which made up the creative group.  Then a kind of bizarre group I can’t possible describe (they kept asking me to pose next to his coffin for photos), his ex-girlfriend and, of course, his closest friends.  Overall it was the personification of diversity, though leaning toward the younger end of things.  After the service there was a coffee and cookie event at The Lost Dog Cafe.  Marie M. and Nicole H., who own/run The Lost Dog, made a gift of this event to me in honor of my father.  The Lost Dog is an inviting space, and these two women are warm and  nurturing, so I felt very good at that point and enjoyed those hours chatting with people who were telling me interesting things I didn’t know about my father.  One of the Lucent bunch told me about how my Dad pissed off “the suits” by refusing to build things (things = substations and the like) if he decided that the design was faulty and might result in injury.  He would demand that the “schematics” be changed and that they be given the materials and time to “do the job right.”  The music people gave me insight into Frank’s creative side.  While I knew of his musical bent — he was almost always in a band, sang and played rock, classical and flamenco guitar — it was great to hear things from the perspective of people he had a different kind of relationship with.  The folks at Lucent also commented on my Dad’s sandals and long hair, as he was a bit hippy-ish in the mid-1970’s when he started working in Binghamton.  Showing up at work “like that” was “simply not done,” according to the old-timers, but he was good at his job no one did anything about it.  The event wound down and eventually I was back at Marie and Nicole’s place for the night.  It was so nice to be able to go home with friends who really gave a damn.  If I had to go through all this without local support I would have been pretty pathetic at this point in time.

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