I attended a funeral last week. A beautiful service for a vivacious, too young grandmother of four.
The just widowed grandfather, father of the bride, married to our great UMass friend of 34 years, planned a “beautiful send-off to Mary” and hosted the mercy meal at a golf-club hall overlooking the first snowy hole with a background water view of a Cape Cod beach.
As we entered the hall following the more frigid than usual cemetery, some folks headed directly for the bathrooms, the early morning coffee having served its purpose.
The quickest amongst us, as it goes, was the first to line up at the sink to wash his hands at the bathroom sink. He cursed the cold water. He complained that the board of health in this town should be doing their job. He grumbled that such a reputed function hall should at least have hot water in the bathrooms. “Going downhill” I think he said. I remained silent. I assumed what didn’t occur to him. I also tried to give him the benefit of doubt, and further assumed that he was upset over the death of a friend and still cold from standing outside for the past 45 minutes staring at a frozen coffin. A grump-worthy morning for certain. His buddy at the neighboring sink grumbled confirmation in likely compassion. Maybe he agreed with his friend or maybe he was just being a good fellow and he actually understood that once the cold water that had been sitting in the chilly lines overnight ran through, hot water would follow.
Being third in line, by the time I washed my hands one minute later, the water was hot. I felt bad for this gentleman’s grief and intolerance and lack of understanding of how hot water works, and also for the board of health and the beautiful function hall that took it on the chin that morning without even knowing. I even felt a little bad for me and my fellow restaurant people, who should probably remember yet another of seemingly endless details in order to be better, and run the water each winter morning in our bathrooms, for those first couple of guests each day, who may just tell others that we didn’t pay our heating bill and the end is imminent. Such is life. And death.