Funeral Fun - A close call

    Working in the funeral industry is often rather amusing.  Yet it can also be a bit dangerous.  I remember one occasion where it was a combination of 'funny' and 'danger'.  The time someone nearly pulled another undertaker into a grave.

    We had finished up the service at the cemetery.  The coffin was lowered and they placed the petals into the grave.  Now all we needed to do was put the cover over the grave.  This is a rather easy task, but it is sometimes tricky with just two people as whoever is at the head end has to lean over the grave while holding the cover to get it into place.  Normally three people would do it just to make it easy and safe.  But in this case the conductor was busy with the family and I had to hold some flowers.  This meant just two people would be doing it.  However this was not too much of an issue really and we had done it with two people many times.

    They each took one end of the cover and walked it over to the grave.  The hearse driver arrived at the foot end of the grave while holding the cover.  He stood there at the middle of the foot of the grave while the other undertaker alined the head end of the cover.

    Here is where it got funny.  The guy at the head end stepped back to go around the head stone.  Of course he was holding the cover, with the hearse driver at the other end!  I remember thinking "oh no" as the hearse driver was suddenly and unexpectedly pulled towards the open and deep grave.  He was not expecting it, and it was quite a sudden little pull.

    He fell forward toward the grave but at the last second caught himself on his toes.  There he stood, teetering on the edge of the open grave on just his toes.  The look on his face of horror and shock was absolutely priceless as he steadied himself.  Next thing the conductor grabbed his jacket to 'steady him'. She had been standing in arms reach and saw it happening.  But had waited until he was steady before she grabbed him.  He was a big guy and she obviously did not want to go into the grave along with him.

    As I was holding a large thing of flowers and a little distance from the grave there was little I could do but laugh.  The whole sight had been so funny.  The way the undertaker had pulled back and nearly made the guy fall into a grave.  The look of pale horro on the hearse drivers face.  The way the conductor was obviously willing to let him fall so she wouldn't but then made a big deal out of 'saving' him.  And here I was, unable to do anything but watch the comedy unfold.  Being a funeral I could not exactly laugh, so I lifted the flowers a bit to hide my face and giggled quietly behind them.  Yet as anyone knows, holding in a laugh only makes you want to laugh more.

    I looked over to the other undertaker who had nearly pulled the hearse driver into a grave.  He was standing very sheepishly and red faced, embarrassed unlike he had ever been before.  They put the cover down, and the hearse driver looking a little pale walked over to where I was.  As he got closer he saw that I was laughing away quietly.  So he said "don't laugh! I'll get you later!" which of course made me laugh even more.  Then the other undertaker who had nearly pulled the hearse driver into the grave came over and said "it's not funny you know" which again only made me laugh more.

    They all saw the funny side later, after the event.  After the shock had warn off.  Things like this happen all too often during funerals.  It really is a rather amusing and interesting job!


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