Comic relief

On Saturday, the Carpenter and I got up early and put on our best Sunday clothes. It was a special day for two very important reasons. We were attending a funeral and going on a date. Two birds, one stone; same outfit.

Ours is a union where conventional romance doesn’t happen. 

We headed out early for Huron County, to the Carpenter’s hometown. The Carpenter was quiet as we drove through the countryside. Pensive. He was feeling the weight of the day, in part because this trip to his hometown cemetery had become all too familiar.

On this day, we were burying the ashes of a woman who married into his family when he was still a boy. Neither of us were close to Darlene. She was a woman we saw sparingly over the years, but will remember fondly for being sweet, innocent, kind and generous with her love. Her life left no harm in its wake. 

With the ceremony as sweet as she was, we said our goodbyes and headed out for what was supposed to be our day together, but it was evident that wasn’t going to happen. While I had visions of travelling the back roads, touring little towns and enjoying a nice lunch somewhere nobody knew us, everything in my husband’s face told me he needed to get home.

Standing in a cemetery surrounded by the memories of loved ones lost made him keen to put his hometown behind him, and some of those memories too – not because it’s all bad, but because he is not one to dwell in nostalgia. Past is passed. But to clear his head of it all, he needed to get to his happy place. Home.

The Carpenter is a Wellington County boy now, happiest in his own backyard, working in his garage and spending time with our wacky family. Weekdays are for driving distances to the big city. Weekends are for home. It’s that simple. It’s where his heart is.

To love him is to understand that, and respect it. And because he loves me, he knew French fries at the Freeze King drive-in restaurant would make me happy enough. Besides, all I really wanted was his attention, uninterrupted. So, at a picnic table under the shade of a big tree beneath the summer sun, we ate our French fries and caught up on time. Darlene would have loved that.

On the drive home, reflection on the day prompted comic relief on the least funny subject of all: death (we’re funny like that). I insisted that, upon my demise, I did not want a headstone or a casket. I want to be cremated. 

“I want my ashes scattered in the wind so I could fly like a bird,” I declared. “Besides, the last thing I want is to be buried beside you. I mean, surely a lifetime together is enough, right? ‘Til death do us part?’ Check. See ya around.”

And there on his face was the smile I know better than my own.

“You mean we can finally be on our own? Awesome.” High fives were exchanged. Because we do that. We laugh at the hard stuff to keep it light.

Of course, I fully plan to haunt him forever, but we’ll save that discussion for the next romantic road trip. Bet he can’t wait.

Bet he just folded this newspaper, put it down and walked away, shaking his head. Boo.


Kelly Waterhouse