My first lesson was to remember to put the address in the sat nav every time. They went so fast - too fast. The service didn't overrun. There was still time to get to the cemetery. I reflected on the idea that heaven can wait. If my memory serves me right, the vicar mentioned something about eternity, didn't he?
The journey was hardly part of a dignified send off. I’d never seen a hearse go at such a speed. What on earth was going on? Perhaps the funeral directors were in a hurry and had more corpses, sorry - clients, than usual. I guessed they’d have been reluctant to introduce a scheme such as die share. I certainly couldn’t imagine the Grim Reaper flogging his own unique brand of timeshare.
I was relieved to see the traffic lights change. This gave members of the party behind me a chance to catch up. Then I recall a boy racer or was it girl racer? No, it was definitely a boy.
As the lights turned green, needless to say the speedster was first off the mark. The two lanes then converged into one. I couldn’t believe it. Wow! The hearse was absolutely not having the boy racer cutting them up.
The dual carriageway prompted a race between the hearse and the hooligan driver. I was so shocked to see the hearse taking up this challenge. It became more farce than funeral. Yes, they were flashed. So who’s going to pay the fine I remember thinking. Surely not the mourners?
Next I recollect seeing a blue light approaching from behind. The police. This will be a first I thought. A layby lay ahead. Both vehicles were directed by the highway patrol to pull over. I felt I ought to as well – being determined to give whoever was behind the wheel of the hearse a piece of my mind. It was terrible. Zero respect. The deceased, for all the years I knew him never had a brush with the law. They breathalysed the hearse driver – definitely another first. Then one of the undertakers lit a cigarette. I wanted to remind him, the wake's usually after the burial.
“Hello, are you with this party sir?” said an officer.
“Yes, I'm a friend and fellow mourner. What on earth's going on?” I said.
“The person driving the hearse wants you to know something. Apparently she's the deceased’s daughter.”
“Hello, you must be Karen the daughter of the …..Whoops!” Just caught it. There you are. Too windy for ill-fitting top hats.”
“Thanks. Yes, I'm Karen,” she said.
“So why such speed? It's a bit tastel-”
“It's exactly how he wanted it.”
“What do you mean, it's exactly how he wanted it? Are you being funny?”
“Actually everything is perfect now. It was my father's last request, for the hearse to get done for speeding.”
(c) Stephen Foster-Pilkington