Friday, October 23, 2009

to Cambridge

On the flight to Boston, I have the pleasure of sitting next to a very beautiful couple (in my estimation). She’s chatty and though I usually prefer quiet, especially if I have been up since before dawn, I find myself sort of enjoying her comments and questions. Eventually I reciprocate and ask what she does.

My husband and I, we’re funeral home directors.

It’s a family business – a fifth generation hand-me-down from his parents. Lucky thing she met her future husband while still in college. Realizing her fate, she quickly switched majors to funeral science.

Did you even know you can major in funeral science?

Somewhere in Oklahoma, in a small town, this 30 year old beautiful woman with her somewhat less beautiful but still cool enough guy and their four children hang around the funeral home. The kids go there after school. We have our home just down the block, but there’s also a little apartment above the business. You know, my husband lived there as a kid.


So what’s trendy in funerals these days? I guess business is steady. People die in spite of the economy,..
That’s actually not true. Data show that during the depression/recession, the death rate goes down.
We speculate why this may be so, but neither of us comes up with a plausible theory.
And the trimmings, so to speak, people buy differently during a recession.

Have you noticed a push toward cremation?
I’m getting really into this. I have never chatted with a stunningly beautiful funeral director before.
Quite the opposite. 90% of the families choose the traditional arrangement (she means plunking the old relative into a cemetery plot). Do you know it’s cheaper to ship your dead relative to us in Oklahoma than to bury him or her, say, in California, where plots cost a fortune?

I did not know that.

And this trip to Boston, is it vacation? I think everyone needs a break – from four kids, from funerals…
Well, yes and no. We’re going to a convention and we’re adding on a few days for fun.
A convention?
Yes, of funeral directors. We’re quite excited to see what’s new out there.

The flight circles a little, over coastal waters and Massachusetts colors...


It’s not raining yet when I arrive in Cambridge, but the predictions are ominous. The great Midwest storms are reaching the coast tomorrow.


I hurry toward my daughter's apartment. We have the eating venues mapped out for the week-end. The great thing about loving good food is that eating it is not weather dependent.

Let the rains come down.