tigers, tears + tidy whities
I just returned from a funeral quite unlike any I’ve known. Overflowing was the operative word–tears and laughter, bouquets and baskets, family and friends. A plush Louisiana State University tiger mascot nestled next to the burial urn. A large, black/white photo captured the trademark smile of the man being honored; he died, unexpectedly, last weekend.
The last two friends speaking apologized in advance to the pastor, saying that, if they were to remain true to their buddy’s reality, their remembrances would likely cross the boundaries of most memorials.
How wonderful that they did.
Together, this quartet painted a detailed portrait of a generous, entertaining-to-outrageous man who “attacked life.” The stories encompassed gambling and golf in Las Vegas, amazing trout fishing in the Great Lakes and legendary football marathons at LSU. The final speaker closed with a list of at least 20 places–including his high school reunion, a bar in Glendale, a Vegas sports setting–where the dearly departed had been photographed in his infamous “tidy whities.”
I was there because of the woman he married. One of the funniest, feistiest people I have ever had the privilege of knowing. It remember meeting her for lunch at Ted’s Montana Grill, where, over pickle chips, she told me about this guy to whom she had just become engaged. That she loved him was clear, but so was the sense of surprise that this was not a relationship she had anticipated. His friends, today, said they expected he would be a perpetual bachelor.
They had six years.
But for those six years, they had it all.
Here’s to taking the chances our hearts say we must.