Monday, August 24, 2009

It's Your Funeral

I’ve noticed in big families the accuracy of secondhand communication tends to fade a bit down the line. Take, for instance, the recent news that my cousin Burke L. Slocumb, IV (“Beau”) has gone and gotten himself affianced: I heard the news via Dad, who heard it from my sister. Presumably someone told her second-hand, having heard it from the walrus himself, so to speak.

Further complicating the chain of communication is my family’s general sense that one should never let something so trivial as “the truth” get in the way of a good story; so, by the time I hear of a particularly noteworthy family event it may or may not involve unicorns and the un-dead. Alternatively, the story could have been whitewashed and marginalized to protect various sources to such a degree that it only bears the most basic semblance to actual events. Either way – you’re looking at a loose fabric of truth knit together with strands of pure fabrication.

Concerning Beau’s new relationship status I was initially told only this: that Beau had taken his lovely girlfriend, Jessica Pitts, back to the scene of their first amorous encounter – a 9th grade Christmas dance at a local school. Upon arriving at the sacred location, he got down on one knee and, very romantically, asked for her hand in marriage. After she said “yes” and they tired of the sweaty parking-lot nuzzling that I’m sure took place immediately afterwards, they got back in the truck and went out for a nice dinner together.

Based on my subsequent inquiries: these details are at least rooted in the truth. However, if all you had were the facts, you may have lost a bit of the flavor of the actual event. See, what really happened is this: Beau picked Jessica up for a date in his diesel pickup truck with 375,000 miles on it and, instead of taking her to dinner, he rumbled directly on over to the building where their school dance had been held so many years before. Upon arrival, he immediately put on “their” song, got out of the truck, put his camo hat on, took a knee in the parking lot, and crooned “Jessica, will you marry me?” in his deepest southern drawl. He noticed a somewhat quizzical look cross her face, but she (quite unaccountably) said “yes.” They danced around in the parking lot for a bit (tough to do barefoot without spilling your Natural Lite), then they got back in the truck and drove to “Pig In a Pit” where they enjoyed delicious post-engagement pork meat products…..with Reid and Tripp; his hunting buddies.

Mid-way through her plate of roast swine, Jessica leaned over and said, “That was very sweet, but why did you ask me to marry you in the parking lot of a funeral home?”

Apparently, in his excitement Beau failed to notice that the site of the dance that spawned their budding young love had been sold….and is now a fully-functioning funeral parlor.

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