I was thrilled when my eldest son Seth found an apartment so close to my home. Ten minutes away to be precise. Not bad considering that he was offered a job in Seattle Wahington, which would require him to relocate far, far away.
Too far in my estimation.
Being a bachelor with minimal needs the move was relatively simple.
He settled in nicely to his new quiet surroundings and enjoyed fast efficient internet service… an online workers dream come true.
The funeral home Seth lives above is settled in a small town with a population of about 2,ooo. Folks die slowly in this town requiring about one funeral every couple of months. Perfect statistics for my funeral living boy. But then you have to add family to that funeral living equation.
The first week my eldest moved into the funeral home just happened to be the week that a townsfolk decided to die. It just so happened that the family of the deceased wanted to grieve locally, and you guessed it, a funeral was birthed right under my son’s floorboards. Which wouldn’t be so bad but then you have to add family to that funeral living equation.
The day of the funeral, during calling hours, it just so happened that two of Seth’s brothers were passing through town. Missing their big brother and also hungry for food these boys made a stop at the funeral home apartment. What a pleasant surprise for them that when they climbed the front porch steps and reached for the knob of the large door, someone from the inside, kindly opened it for them, then welcomed them in.
Impressed that Seth would have his own doorman, the boys entered a room full of nicely-dressed-in-black people, who stopped for a moment to gape at my two teenagers clad in sweaty hoodies and shorts. One son who was wearing his hoody pulled awkwardly above his head covering everything but eyes, entered with basketball in hand. Once the brothers realized that they had strode right into the midst of a funeral, they headed straight up the stairs to knock on Seth’s apartment door.
“What are you guys doing here?” Seth stammered as he opened the door. “There is a funeral going on downstairs.”
“Yeah, we know that now,” the boys piped up, “Holy crap, you should have seen how the people looked at us!”
“What did you do?” Seth quipped, “Go up and knock on the front door?”
“Oh, no, we didn’t have to do that! As soon as we got up to the door, an old gray-haired fella opened the door and let us right in!”
“That would be my landlord guys…you know the one I just told that all I was looking for was a quiet lonely place to do my on-line work…and in walk you two…in the middle of my first funeral!”
“That’s okay,” Ben pipes up, “We will just stay here till the funeral is over.”
“Ah, oh no you won’t,” replies Seth, “It’s going on for a few more hours, and I have a ton of work to do.”
Unmoved by their older brother’s despair the younger siblings headed to check out the contents of the fridge. After exploring the boring empty of a bachelor’s refrigerator, they begin to discuss an escape plan. Seth had mentally checked out at this point and was pacing the floor thinking about all the work he had to do and concerned what his new landlord was gonna think of him.
Things suddenly grew quiet in Seth’s apartment which alerted Seth to danger.
He had lived with these guys long enough to equate quiet with trouble.
As long as there was banging and dribbling and arguing and laughing things were okay. But the absence of noise means red flags are flying at the Waterman’s house.
Seth, being the oldest and the wisest of his nine siblings, headed to the last place he had seen the boys then followed their clues around which led him to the back-screened-in-second-floor-balcony porch.
He pursed his lips in disapproval as he viewed his two younger brothers unscrewing the screens from the windows and heard Josiah explaining how they could jump from the porch onto the cement drive below. The younger more foolish brothers had rationed that it was only a 15-foot drop, and there was a good chance that grieving people inside would not notice.
“You are not jumping out my window.”
“Seth we can do this. It’s not that hard. We will jump out and go around the back, through the hedges, into the neighbors lawn and backtrack to our car.
No harm, no foul. The end. Over and out.”
“You are not jumping out my window.”
Seth then grabbed the screens out of his brother’s hands and led them to his door. “Go down. Walk through. Get out.”
Closing the door behind his younger siblings, Seth returned to his interrupted work, in his quiet funeral home, with his good internet. Which wouldn’t be so bad but then you have to add family to that funeral living equation.
A half hour later Seth steps outside his second-story apartment door for a moment only to find his two visiting brothers perched at the top of the dark winding stairway.
“What are you two still doing here!?”
“Ahhhh, were kinda not wanting to walk through… let’s say… a FUNERAL again!”
This dramatic climax is interrupted by the ringing of Seth’s phone.
Seth’s last words to his brothers as he reaches to answer his cell were as follows…
“Well figure it out and get out of here…just walk through and don’t make eye contact with anyone…and if anyone asks you what you were doing up here…tell them you were visiting the guy across the hall.”
“Hi, Seth it’s mama! Guess what Bekah and I just found at the Salvo? A curtain perfect for your bathroom and a living room lamp!! We are coming through now, can we stop and drop them off?”
Now my son Seth is a gentle giant. I can’t recall the last time I heard him raise his voice.
He is calm.
He is cool.
He is collected.
Even under stress.
So I was quite surprised at the edgy sound of his voice after I ceased my cheery greeting in which I had eagerly disclosed my new found discoveries for his apartment.
And I quote…..
“FOR THE LOVE OF GOD…. DO NOT…. AND I REPEAT DO NOT….. STOP AT MY APARTMENT RIGHT NOW!”
I turned to Bekah and said, “Eh, I’m pretty sure this isn’t a good time.”
Then out came the story, the whole torrid story about brothers and dead people and screens and stairways. I listened and sympathized with my biggest kid.
When we hung up the phone, I turned to his sister who was my designated chauffeur for the day and said, “Seth forgot to add family to that funeral living equation.”
Well…. we had to go through Clyde anyways.
It wouldn’t be out of the way.
His funeral home apartment was right around the corner.
I cracked a smile and glanced at Bekah.
“Drive by his house real slow,” I chuckled.
Then I sent a short little text to my son which read….
“Seth, we could see the funeral is still going on.
We will visit another time.
We dropped the lamp, curtain and toilet brush on the front porch.
It’s to the side so it shouldn’t bother anyone. Grab it when you get a chance.