“Have you packed your lace veil?” I ask Barb. “ummm, I’m not sure they still wear…” “Well, you can do as you like, but I for one will not disrespect Micki’s father by waltzing into the Cathedral bareheaded to his funeral!” I hang up the phone and lovingly finger the beautiful antique black lace veil I have been saving for just such an occasion. For someone slap dash in so many areas of her life I am more than prepared, attire-wise, for events such as Catholic funerals or celebrity weddings in St. Tropez. In fact, I could go to up to three celebrity weddings in St. Tropez and not wear the same outfit twice. It is the Back-To-School Night apparel where I run into trouble. As for Micki’s father’s funeral, not that I was excited per se, but I knew my beautiful antique black lace veil would be just perfect…subtle, elegant and Catholic. Micki’s father had been nothing if not super Catholic. I couldn’t wait…I mean I was looking forward to paying my respects to such a generous and accomplished man.
The phone ringing brings me out of my reverie. It is Barb again asking if I am bringing a bathing suit. “It will be warm in Pasadena, right?” I love Barb and everything, but sometimes she does not fully comprehend the gravity of a situation. “I think we may be busy with a little thing called Micki’s father’s funeral!” I snappishly respond. “Well, ye-e-e-s, but the funeral’s not going to take all day is it?” I conjure up the image I have carefully cultivated ever since we told Micki we would be attending her father’s funeral. A very long Mass (in Latin of course) with incense, a choir chanting that scary song from The Exorcist and me (though not quite related) being front and center, maybe even acknowledged by the priest as a “special friend of the family,” dramatic in my beautiful antique black lace veil quietly crying into my hand monogrammed linen handkerchief (I have a drawer full). “Oh I think you will be surprised Barb. This is not a vacation you know.” Just then, Beloved comes in asking if the hotel in Pasadena has a tennis pro. “I’d like to get a game or two in while we’re there.”
We set off for Pasadena in inappropriately high spirits as everyone seems to have confused the funeral with a mini-holiday. Looking at Beloved and Barb, I sincerely hope we don’t run into any of Micki’s relatives. Beloved is carrying a tennis bag and Barb is wearing a huge straw hat. They stopped just short of bringing a beach ball.
I am astounded when we finally arrive at the funeral. Micki’s father had been a remarkable man, tall and imposing with a booming voice and a kind word for everyone. An old-school Los Angeles litigator he was the archetype of a bleeding heart (his description) liberal who followed his conscience even when it wasn’t convenient. We had all looked up to him and knew how respected he was, but the number of people that had gathered for him was astonishing.
We stumble and grope our way through the crowd, and not just because it is difficult for me to see through my black lace veil. I finally catch sight of Micki’s beautiful and gracious mother and run to embrace her. She doesn’t seem as happy to see me as I would have hoped, and I’m not sure I approve of her decision to wear red. Beloved grabs my arm and hisses, “Can you take that stupid veil off?! You’re accosting the altar boy and everybody is staring at us!” Frankly, I’m a little shocked at how far the Catholic Church’s standards have dropped as, besides me, there is nary a veil in the place!
Later, whilst drinking Mai Tai’s by the pool, we agree we have quite a bit of work to do if we are going to have funeral attendees anywhere near the number of Micki’s father. Beloved peevishly points out it’s all very well for Micki’s father, being a native Californian, but what about those of us from the other coast?? It’s not really fair to compare funeral attendance records when one's friends have to fly all over creation to get there! Barb gently reminds him it’s not really a competition, but she does see his point. Beloved concedes and orders us all another Mai Tai in honor of Micki’s father.
Micki's father was a wonderful man and his funeral was hugely inspirational. Thank you to Jeanne and Micki for indulging me. The events depicted above are 100% true.