Service is for the Family
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Joe Varsalone died yesterday. He was only 91, but had been in the hospital for the last two weeks. He had leukemia, and had been getting a transfusion every four weeks for the last two years. Murray Smith called with the news, talking pretty fast. Murray is a contemporary of Joe, and Murray keeps telling people that he is going to live to be 100, so I think he might be a little worried. I just tell them I’m probably good for another twenty years. That way, I don’t have a fixed date to die, which takes the pressure off.
Anyhow, I used to wait tables at the Country Breakfasts with Joe, and he was an old time Kiwanian who used to do the 50-50 every week until he got too feeble to make it to the meetings. The viewing is today from 4 to 6, and the service is at six. I don’t like funerals much, but I’m going to this one for Joe’s family.
When I was at Case, I lived in a funeral home one year with two other guys. We had the third floor to ourselves, which was like a big apartment except for the missing kitchen. All we had to do was to be sure one of us was there from 6 PM until 6 AM every day and to answer the phone – correctly.
One of the funerals had a rich woman laid out for three days, and there was only one visitor. She had been 94. I learned that from the visitor, who had been her maid. When I asked her why there weren’t any other visitors, she said that all of the family and friends were dead. It reminded me of the old Classical Greek ideal – to die immediately after you crowning achievement. That always bothered me because I didn’t know when I had hit my peak, and I don’t mind retirement anyhow.
The bottom line is this; Joe needs to have some mourners to make his family feel like he is missed.