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One last chance,,,
Old 03-03-2008, 01:16 PM   #1
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One last chance,,,

My brothers and I were given one last chance to make my father proud of us last week. And I think we passed with flying colors.

Dad was born in 1930, so he was raised in the Depression and it definitely affected the way he looked at things. He usually did the grocery shopping in our family. And I can remember him making great use of the "day-old" store for buying bread, pastries, pies, and such to feed four hungry sons plus however many foster kids we had at the time (always at least two and sometimes as many as six).

After they moved to FL Mom made Dad leave one of the freezers in NC. That didn't deter him at all. and anytime we visited you could always count on hearing Mom yell at him at least once that there wasn't room in the freezer for anything else. Dad lived for sales; buy 2 get one for half-price, buy one-get one, or anything else that made him feel like he had made a good deal. He never kept a "price book" per se, but he shopped so often he knew the prices off the top of his head. I was with him one day when he gave a store manager the dickens in front of several other customers for trying to screw seniors out of their money by jacking a price so the "sale" was nothing more than regular price with a fancy label. I saw several of them remove the "special" item from their carts.

But, I digress. We all traveled down for a viewing before the cremation. But things got screwed up and Dad got cremated that morning BEFORE we got to see him and say goodbye. Seems the funeral director's son was out sick for two days and didn't know Dad was on hold. When he got to work early that morning he decided to impress his Dad with his work ethic and got right into it. It was just bad luck that he chose Dad as the first burn of the day. Needless to say Mom was devastated and we were all pretty PO'd.

The guy came to the house to apologize to Mom and get information for the obit and such. One of my brothers demanded to know what restitution was going to be made, since this mistake could obviously not be undone. The guy stated that obviously Mom was not going to be charged for ANY of their services. That seemed to appease Tom and Kenny. Mom picked out a container and Tom was looking at engravings when he spotted a double container. He suggested that Mom might like that instead, so the two of them can be together. The guy readily agreed to provide it. It's a nice black marble double, with some extra engraving done besides their names and dates and then filled with gold paint. (Mom's dates are not engraved yet, obviously.)

It was at this point that I think I finally outdid my old man. I suggested to the director that since they had so grievously screwed up that it might be a gesture of their sincere regret to give Mom a "gift certificate" for her final services "in gratus". He readily agreed to this as well and later delivered a letter for us to use when Mom is cremated that we are not to be charged for any of their services. When all was said and done we got two cremations, a nice double urn with engravings, and two dozen certified death certificates (12 for Dad and 12 future ones for Mom) for the grand total of $0.00. The guy's regret appeared to be sincere, his apologies profuse, and by the time he left Mom later said she actually felt sorry for him. It was a family run, three generation business and he was visibly upset that they had screwed this up.

Mom started to reminisce with us about Dad's habit of searching out great bargains and always trying to get a better deal, and she said he'd have been proud of what we had done by making the best of this bad situation. I laughed and told everyone that the old man was sitting on his cloud up there, looking down with a big old grin, and nudging the next guy over saying, "That's MY boys!!"

"Iron" Mike - Semper Fi
Jack of all trades; Master of none.
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Old 03-03-2008, 01:39 PM   #2
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what a wonderful story (except for the screwup).

if your Dad runs into my Mom up there, they can both brag on how great their kids turned out. and everyone else's mom/dad can join in too.

i am sorry for your loss. the best way i ever knew to deal with a loss of a loved one is to do something they would be proud of.

and you hit a home run with bases loaded, 2 outs, bottom of the ninth, for the pennant.

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney
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Old 03-03-2008, 02:06 PM   #3
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sorry for your loss leatherneck but great story & storytelling which brought your dad's lifestyle to life.
"off with their heads"~~dr. joseph-ignace guillotin

"life should begin with age and its privileges and accumulations, and end with youth and its capacity to splendidly enjoy such advantages."~~mark twain - letter to edward kimmitt 1901
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Old 03-03-2008, 03:04 PM   #4
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Leatherneck, my sincere condolences.. but thanks for the quirky story. Your dad must have been the King of Frugaldom to manage to get his family savings from "the other side"! May he rest in peace.
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Old 03-03-2008, 03:15 PM   #5
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Sorry for your loss but your Dad would have loved his final bargain.
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Old 03-03-2008, 04:00 PM   #6
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Sorry you didn't get a chance for your final viewing -- but otherwise what a terrific story! Yes, your Dad would be so very proud of his family and I'm sure he's resting peacefully knowing that his sons were paying attention to his lessons.
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Old 03-03-2008, 04:35 PM   #7
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Your daddy would have been very proud. You did good.
There's no need to complicate, our time is short..
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Old 03-03-2008, 06:51 PM   #8
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Great story! I'm sure your dad is laughing along. I almost feel sorry for the funeral director...what a huge screw-up.
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Old 03-03-2008, 09:41 PM   #9
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I am sorry for your loss also. I loved the way that you were able to paint a picture of your father and I had a big smile on my face at the end of your story. You were right, your Dad would have been proud!
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Old 03-03-2008, 11:23 PM   #10
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Sorry for your loss, but I really enjoyed the story. You guys done good.
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
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Old 03-03-2008, 11:35 PM   #11
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Good one, thanks! You could send that bargain story verbatim to the Dollar Stretcher website...


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