Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Swing low, Sweet Chariot...
Caution; This not a serious piece

This is a picture of a persistent thought that I have had since I was at least 18 or 19...something like that.  Something happened today that unlocked it all and so I have to tell you about it.  It has been a part of my life for a long time.  The only person who really has met this part of me face to face multiple times is my spouse.  Brace yourselves, 'cause here it comes.
I have yearned and yearned to have a hearse to drive around in.  It would be so cool.  The trigger to this deep desire for such a vehicle started when I was working at the Holyoke Magazine Press.  There was an employee there who had one and the stories he told were a fascinating mix of the ribald, the lugubrious, the fantastic, the marginal and the downright incredible.  Every lunch time with this individual was almost like an "out-of-body" experience.  One would imagine that this was what got me interesting in the world of people who drove hearses for their private transportation.  But that was not it.  Anybody can make up stories to fit the occasion.  But not everybody can get down to the essence of the situation of hearse ownership.  This individual hit it on the head for me one time when during one lunch break he was asked where he lived.  The answer was simple, "On the street, in my car.  That's why I have a hearse.  I can live in it, but I could never drive a house."  So that was it.  Freedom.  No mortgage. 
I took that and embellished it in my mind.  If I had a house to live in and a hearse too, I would have the nearly perfect camping situation.  I could throw a canoe on the roof and just go.  It was (is still) a dream that does not go away.
This morning when I got to the office address, there was a hearse of the same vintage as the one on the picture.  Same model too.  It was parked in front of the gasoline station store next to our office building.  Along side it there stood two young people sipping some fresh hot coffee.  I knew right away what was going on.  I sauntered over to them and simply said, "Nice car!"  The lovely young wife (she's his wife) said "You knew.  You like it, right?"  
"Yeah, I sure do.  Looks so great.  You had it long?"
"About a year now" says the man of the family.  "It sure is comfortable.  We're just pulling in from San Francisco.  Great ride."
"Well, I envy you."
"You ought to get yourself one.  The prices are right."
"That's been tried and failed.  The Voice from the Kitchen doesn't go for it.  I'll just keep dreaming.  Enjoy yourselves.  Merry Christmas."
I walked away and went to the office because I had a lot to do.  As I was preparing my work space the thought came to me that I had better tell someone to be sure that they don't cremate me.  I have just decided that I am going to enjoy the ride of my life when the time comes.  The Voice from the Kitchen won't have anything to say about it.  I'm going to put it in my will.  So, don't cremate me because when you see me driving away to the Pearly Gates in one of these cabriolets, you'll know that I am happy as a clam.  So for sure, then, you'll not be tempted in the slightest to cry at my funeral.                               
SSSwwwinnggg lowww, SSWWeetttt Chariotttt --->>>She's here now and I am a goin' HOME!

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