Sunday, March 6, 2011

...

SO, YESTERDAY I WAS FRANTICALLY TOSSING around my options as to who would dig this grave for me (not my grave, you know; it was a grave for my tenants. Of course, they would not be lying in this opening in the earth, either [just to reassure you, Dear Reader, in the event a severe grimace is starting to form on your face, and you are fearing for my welfare--not to mention the welfare of my tenants!] It would be the rabbit loved by my tenants laid to rest here; but that was only going to happen if I could find someone to wield the shovel!)

WHO am I going to call upon?!
I tell Mary and her husband I will find someone to dig this grave, and walk up to the parking lot, intending to knock on the door of Dave, the tenant who occasionally does landscaping jobs for me. Surely he'll be willing. But, alas, I see his vehicle is not in the lot.

What to do?! What to do?! I fish my cell phone out of my pocket as I'm mentally scanning my roster of tenants, and suddenly I recall there's a message waiting for me on this phone. Back when it rang--an hour or so ago--I was just too busy to answer. Hmm, I hate to keep the bereaved couple waiting, but... I quickly punch the numbers to retrieve my message.

It's Josh, Apartment Fifteen...."Could you call me back at your earliest convenience?" he asks.

Ah! Josh! This tenant is young and strong. As fast as I can, I ring the number, and pray he's right there behind door Fifteen. He answers the phone, and thanks me for calling. I'm hoping he gets to the point quickly. He hems and haws just a bit, but then says: "This may sound a little strange, and I'm ashamed to admit it, but the other day I got so angry I punched a hole in the wall. I'm really sorry!"
Before I could stop myself, I giggled. I just couldn't help myself--this made TWO landlording firsts on the very same Saturday morning! Quickly recovering, however, I allowed as how this was no laughing matter. We discussed the repairs, and Josh asked if I wished to view the damage. "Well," I said. "I happen to be right here in the parking lot. I guess I could come in and take a look, but...(here I paused briefly, Dear Reader, as I thought how best to word my request)...

"This may sound a little strange," I said...

Ten minutes later there are four persons in attendance as I lower the body into the ground. Josh has done an admirable job of digging the grave. "Just let me put my shoes on," he'd said. "I'll be right out!" And then, as he had shoveled up the earth, the four of us had discussed the logistics...the needed length and width, the depth. Josh was having trouble with tree roots and rocks. The soil was hard. I envisioned a black-suited man from the NFDA*, gazing at me and sadly shaking his head.

But, now...Mary has handed me the box. I stoop with it to test the opening.

"Wait," says Josh. "Maybe I can get those edges a little cleaner." He tidies up the grave and I place the box inside. Mary kneels to help me. With a little shifting around, we are able to make it fit. The grave is shallow, but we know that this obliging tenant with the shovel has already had a good workout; it will have to do.

"That should be fine," I say, standing up. And Mary stands up, too. Briefly there is a pause. I know that Yikes, now what?! would not be a proper sentiment to express, so I skip those words. I don't say, "Am I still directing?" Nor do I ask if a eulogy is planned. But, finally, I ask Mary's husband, "Would you like to cover the box?" and he takes the shovel and plunges it into the loose soil that Josh has dug up. He tosses the shovelful onto the white cardboard box. Again and again he does this, working so strenuously that now I suddenly fear for his health--oh, goodness, spare me THREE landlording firsts today! He's really exerting himself, huffing and puffing, and he's not a young man.

...
I'll just tell you quickly, Dear Reader, it all ended well. Josh helped to finish the shoveling, then tramped and tamped the dirt well. We placed a medium-sized rock atop (one he'd unearthed while digging the grave). Then heartfelt thank-you's were said, and we all left Missy to R.I.P. *

....
*But then, you see, that's what worried me--Suppose she should not be Resting In Peace when next I happened to see this grave?



I came home, Dear Reader, and gathered up one of the concrete stepping stones that lay beside the porch of The Yard Yan and me--the one with the flowers etched on the top. I hauled it to the apartments, to the evergreen tree. When I set it in place on the freshly-dug earth beneath the evergreen boughs, I could see that NFDA member again in my mind's eye...now gently nodding his approval.








......
(Yes, Dear Reader, that would be: National Funeral Directors Association)

......

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amiga, what a terrific story!

KTdid said...

¡Ah, usted estimada! gracias!