By: Ann Brown
You gotta make me a promise. It has to do with my death.
I am a daughter, a good one, one of two. Therefore, it goes to say that my mom has her own death and funeral covered. My sister and I know the drill – when Mom looks as if the Grim Reaper is nigh, we are to (in order of importance): take all funky underwear out of the dresser drawers and discard it immediately; take out the eggplant – which will be in the oven, this is a given – and turn off the oven. Don’t throw the eggplant out, however, just leave it on the counter to cool. Never mind that Karen and I live a thousand miles from Mom and by the time we get to LA the eggplant will be quite well-done, not to mention full of e-coli, we are not to throw it out because someone at the funeral may be constipated and it will be a welcome buffet offering (wait, what am I talking, someone may be constipated? We’re Jewish. Someone may not be constipated); look in all Mom’s boots and coat pockets for twenty dollar bills; and, most importantly, check that underwear drawer again. Also, if there is chicken cooling on the kitchen counter, don’t throw it away. This last item is aimed at me because my mom believes I am neurotic about throwing good food away. And it’s a lost cause to argue because my sister agrees with her.
When I pick my mom up at the airport I can find her luggage by smell. Her bags are filled with Tupperware containers of leftovers from her refrigerator that should have been dumped days before she left on her trip and they languish – untouched – in the back of my refrigerator for the week of her visit after which my sister, who has the intestines of a feral dog, tosses them in the sun-baked trunk of her car while she drives the four hours to her house. She leaves the leftovers on her kitchen counter for the afternoon and enjoys them for dinner the next three nights.
Her husband, a human, will try just a spoonful at Karen’s insistent urging and spend the night on the toilet, clutching his abdomen and crying out for mercy.
So when it comes to saving or dumping the post mortem chicken on Mom’s counter, I am outnumbered.
This, however, is not pertinent to what I am asking of you at the time of my death.
I need you to check that Robin and my sons have sent me to my Maker wearing pants. I have reason to be concerned.
When Robin’s mom passed away this was an issue. Evidently, when the burial outfit was brought to the mortuary, pants were forgotten. This wouldn’t make a particularly worrisome story but for Robin’s description of the event. He said to me, “It didn’t seem necessary. I mean, it was a really long drive back to my parents’ house to get pants for her, and anyway, the coffin was only open from the middle to the top.” Really, Robin? That seems a reasonable reason to bury a person in just a nice blouse and shoes? He was finally persuaded when the Hungarian woman who prepared the body admonished him, “You vant Mama should fly to Heaven vit no pents?”
Vit no pents, indeed. I am taking no chances. I have no daughters. I have two good sons, however, but every time I remind them to put pants on me as soon as I die, they look at me as if I am asking them to pour hot tar up their noses.
So I am counting on you now. Pants. I will probably be able to fit into the beige Jag jeans in the back of my closet after a day or two of death, so put me in those, please.
Oh, and if my mom and sister outlive me, a word to the wise: don’t eat the chicken from the buffet.