I'm Deadly Serious
Have you looked at what a funeral costs lately? It's absolutely ridiculous.
I mean to say, when it comes down to basics, all you're doing is putting something into a big wooden box and either burying it or burning it, and for the pleasure of doing that you're charged anything from £1,000 upwards.
Quite frankly, when I go I'd rather my family and friends spent the money on a whacking great feast where everyone sat round and told each other how fantastic I was and how much they're all going to miss me. I gave the matter a lot of thought as I tramped round in the mud of my smallholding. Carrying the whole thing a step further, my conclusion was, 'Well why not have the funeral meal before you pop off?'
Wouldn't it be nice to actually see all those distant - and not so distant - relatives and hear them say all the customary nice things that they only say out loud after you’re dead? As a matter of fact you could have a funeral party every time you felt a bit neglected. And think of all those nice flowers.
I mentioned my funeral plans to my sons last time they visited me. I thought it was a brilliant idea. They could hire a digger and bury me in the back field. All I'd need was two poles about 7ft long, and a canvas bag stretched between them with me neatly stitched inside. Then they could lower me into the hole, someone could say a few kind words. After they shoveled the soil back in they could plant a nice tree there. I rather fancy an elegant silver birch.
Of course, if they preferred they could load me in the back of a van, dash off to the crematorium for the big burn, then come back for the party and scatter my ashes in the wood.
"It's a wonder she doesn't want us to bung her in a bin liner and leave her out for the dustman," one son moaned gloomily. "I was only joking," he added hastily when my eyes lit up.
The sons weren't very enamoured of the canvas bag idea, but they did agree with me in principle. So we compromised. I said I'd provide a box, as long as they agreed to the method of disposal.
After they'd gone I made some enquiries. In fact no-one is obliged to dispose of the body of a relative themselves. The Council has to do it if nobody else comes forward. I rather fancied that idea. After all, they take enough off us in the way of rates and taxes of one sort or another. It would give me great satisfaction to get some of it back.
Quite seriously, the whole business of disposing of the dead seems to be a racket. People are being conned at a time when they are most vulnerable. If you don't believe me, check it out for yourself. Ask the local odd job man how much he would charge to dig a 6ftx3ftx7ft hole. Then add the hire cost of a suitable van.
If you choose cremation the cost of having the hole dug will go towards the cost of the crematorium.
Whichever method you choose, the total comes to a lot less than you'll get quoted at the undertakers.
And while I'm on the subject, I've just decided on my choice of music as I'm finally despatched to my place of rest. I fancy an enthusiastic rendition of ‘I Did It My Way’.
© Copyright Percydale Press 2006