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A Pool Hall Tribute to Death

January 22, 2006

Dedicated to the Memory of Relatives and Friends

      Especially Classmates/Schoolmates of the Class of 1959



Hayride climbed on top of the newest table in The Pool Hall—down at east end—near the old tattered curtain that covered the window—and he sat down on a stool atop the table.  He was getting ready to talk for a few minutes as a means to pay respect.  Everyone huddled around to listen.  There were Goat Eyes, Fish Eyed Fool, Purple Passion Girl, Secret of Victoria, Thunder and Lightning, Gertie, Sweet and Sour, Louisville Slugger, William Wallace, Jazz Girl, Fly Girl, Daisy Mae, The Parson, The Prof, Harley Davidson Motorcycle Person, Beyond Basic Training—USA, Horsefly, Honey, Big D, The Tallapoosian, The Emir, The Prince, Big R, King Fish, Beak, Squeaky and others. 


Hayride began--

The Landis Funeral Home is located on Douglas Street in Malden.  Parking space was scarce as the blue foreign made SUV that has resulted in the loss of American jobs to foreign countries was piloted into a parking space with The Prof at the wheel, and the nearest spot was a fairly good distance from front door.  It was a long walk across the lot to find a spot in the line of people gathered to pay their respects.  The wind blew cold causing the hair to wave and the Joan Baez Falling Hard Rain caused the body to shiver!  Finally, relief for the shivers could be felt as entry was made into the door and the line of people waited.   Words did not come easily when ole friends and family were seen--a wave, a hug, words expressed resembling idle chatter, idle chatter, idle chatter!  The people came and went pondering the events of the past few days! 
Their standing near the foot of the casket was the Angel of Death--
The greeting of 'Hello Hayride, My Dear Friend' could be heard.
'That is a tough greeting this evening' replied Hayride.
The sign of peace was given by the Angel, and Hayride returned the gesture.  Together, they watched the mourners at the visitation.   They had come to say goodbye on this earth to a friend--some for a season, some for a lifetime!  The thought occurred that even at this moment the Angel of Death was present as we all stood in the line to make our way toward the casket to pay our respects--to say farewell--the thought kept darting through the mind as to whose shoulder will  the perch be made next in order to take the spirit of a person to complete the transfer to a power greater than ourselves!  Often sudden, without warning--sometimes expected--never relished!
Perhaps it is time to think--can an individual afford even to have one moment to fail to live with intent, can even one second of life be trivialized, must one ever abandon the perpetual effort to seize each second in order to live with the greatest intensity feasibly possible for a human being and should one ever minimize in the slightest way the personal thirst to drink gusto gulps from the trough of life?  Never ever should be the overwhelming answer to the overwhelming question?
Life is so wonderful, precious and cherished--names were signed, memories were recorded and the mass of people moved to take seats in the chapel to visit--to stoically talk with satisfaction about the past and to sometimes whimsically ponder the future in terms of the past and the present!
A kind comment was mustered forth, and a walk outside to stand beneath the barren trees to gaze up into the cold, rainy and blustering evening sky.   The intent was to pose the overwhelming question to a power greater than a human being?   Train sounds--iron on iron--could be heard from across the nearby railroad tracks--a societal demarcation line--as the engines pulled the cars toward a destination known only to the engineer.  Oh, just to hear the lonesome sound of the whistle of the locomotive--that would some way make one feel better!  The Angel of Death had departed--gone to the next rendezvous which will be a perch on a shoulder of a person without regard to age, time or life purposes of the individual and a power greater than ourselves will be heard speaking  through the Angel of Death--'My good and faithful servant--you have fought a good fight, you have finished the course, and now your spirit will abide with me forever . . . in a house filled with many mansions . . . if it were not so, I would have told you . . . if I go to prepare a place for you . . . I will come again to receive your spirit.'
The lyrics of favorite songs flashed through the thoughts--
'I will remember you
Will you remember me
Don't let your life pass by
Weep not for the Memories'  Sarah McLachlan
'Time is a wheel in constant motion always rolling us along
Tell me who wants to look back on their years
And wonder where those years have gone'  Lee Ann Womack
'Your life is now--Your life is now--Your life is now
In this undiscovered moment
Lift your head up above the crowd
We could shake this world
If you would only show us how
Your life is now'  John Mellencamp
Friends are quiet angels who lift us to our feet when we have fallen!  Unknown
Farewell--it was good to know you and to love you, and thanks for the kindness and the memories!
Horsefly and Combat Girl, the Co Owners of The Pool Hall, help Hayride down and life resumes in The Pool Hall--Gertie chalks up her cue,Fly Girl challenges her to a game of pool.  The Parson raises his head from a slumber whispering The Lord's Prayer.
The Emir treats everyone to the beverage of choice, and the wind could be heard whistling direful sounds of 'Oh, Death where is thy sting, Oh, Grave where is thy victory' around the corner of The Pool Hall.
Hayride leaves the building and spins his tires in the gravel in a youthful manner thinking about answers to the overwhelming questions of life and the hereafter?

"Funeral For A Friend"

Elton John