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Thursday, November 18, 2004
RIP, Grandpa Uden.


The next few days are going to be interesting. I know how my dad's family mourns. When my paternal grandfather died, the family gathered in Orleans, NE. The family consisted of Dad, Mom, me, my sister, Dad's siblings and their spouses and kids, Cousin Edward and Grandpa Bennett's widow (NOT my grandmother). The night of the funeral, everyone except Mom, Virginia, Grandpa's widow and Cousin Edward gathered at the local bar. We got completely trashed, and then broke into Grandpa's house to get various memorabilia, such as senior pictures of my dad and his siblings. If Bennetts can't drink our troubles away, we get drunk enough to confront them head on.

With Udens and Finnigsmeyers, things will be different. I expect a solemn LCMS service, followed by much quiet talk in the church basement afterwards. No booze, no excitement, no nothing. A funeral is not supposed to be a joyous occasion, unless you're burying a right bastard. Of course, Grandpa Uden was not a right bastard, or a left bastard, or any bastard of the sort. You would be hard pressed to find anything to lob at either of my maternal grandparents. Hardy German stock is what they were and are. P'raps not the most emotionally demonstrative, but, not cold or hateful or anything like that. Boring would be the harshest thing to say about them.

Dan Bennett married Carolyn Uden, but he never felt like a part of the family. Bennetts are incompatible with most of humanity, I think. We're to bitter, too sarcastic, too crass and are unwilling to put up with enough bullshit. Holidays with the Udens were always awkward, at least for me. The only think I have in common with my Adams County relatives is some DNA. My cousins, Jeff and Ben, get along fine. Jeff moreso than Ben. They play sports, they watch FOOBAW, things like that. Dad and I don't. We don't fit in.

So, now that Grandpa has died, there's a bit of a quandary. I gave heads-up all around at work, saying that to people that you may need to cover for me sometime this week. I have my Friday and Saturday shifts covered. I don't know if I'll be joining the mourning party for those days or not, but, I am covered if I do. So is Dad. But, Dad doesn't want to go out to Kenesaw and be bored out his mind and ignored. We are trying to convince him that he MUST go out on Friday, if for no other reason than to be with his wife. She just lost her father, the only man in her life more important than her husband. Yes, Dad might be ignored. Yes, he will be bored. But, his presence is completely needed out there. He needs to be with his wife, and the children need to be there, too.

I learned that death was a few days away on Monday. I thought I was being selfish when I started hoping that the funeral wouldn't be on Thursday (that's Shithook night!), or fuck with a show that I want to see on Sunday (and hopefully take a girl to). But, to not go to your wife's side when her father has died... Dan is related to Dorothy and the late Elmer Uden in name only. Grant is related by blood. Dan married Carolyn, the eldest child of Elmer and Dorothy. Dan needs to be next to Carolyn for the next few days, bored and ignored or not. Dan needs to be a better man than Ron, the husband of Gloria, the youngest daughter of Dorothy and Elmer. Uncle Ron doesn't go to family things. Ever. He's a (barely) functioning alcoholic, as far as I can see. I've never had a conversation with the man, and I've known him for 27 years. I don't know anything about him. He will be at the funeral, but nothing beyond that. Dad is, and should be, a better man than that.

When bad things happen, Bennetts circle the wagons. We rally together. I'm sure that Udens do too, but, it's time to show these lousy Germans how to properly mourn the dead. Let's all get good and drunk and then break into houses! Don't linger on death -- celebrate life!

Comments by: YACCS