Random Thoughts

Thoughts while shaving

by Jim Tierney

I remember my first “wake” was when my father died and I was only 17. It was
held in our house for TWO nights with my father in a casket in our parlour,
i.e. living room. I don’t know how they got the casket up the narrow staircase
to our 2nd floor “apartment” in a 16 family block, but they did, angling it
with my father probably twisting and turning inside. People came to the house
to pay their respects, staying late into the night drinking whiskey and smoking
the cigarettes made available to them, socializing and reminiscing about my
father, the men in the kitchen and the women in the parlour. Many of the people
I never saw before, some probably didn’t even know my father. It was a typical
Irish wake, more a party than a wake. It was difficult for me and my siblings
trying to sleep in the next rooms. Irish wakes now are pretty much a thing
of the past except, maybe, in Ireland. No more 2 night wakes, with the trend
now moving to a “day” wake for 2 or 3 hours prior to the service. I went to
one of these recently with a collation afterwards that included an Irish band.
I always thought that wakes are like high school reunions. You see people every
few years, get reacquainted, and talk about getting together sometime. Sometime
is usually the next wake where you get reacquainted, talk about getting together
sometime, until the next wake.        

August 5, 2016

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