“SORRY, I ‘DON’T’ WISH YOU LONG LIFE!”

keep calm and be sincere

Having said I’d never go to another funeral, I went to another funeral, and as it turned out, I definitely shouldn’t have! Uncle Sid died, and I celebrated his passing in a pub for two hours before the funeral. Apparently the Bushey Jewish Cemetery, located in Hertfordshire, remains the largest Jewish cemetery in Europe. If you happen to be unlucky enough to walk the length of the cemetery, you will eventually leave the county of Hertfordshire and enter Bedfordshire. That’s how big the place is! Anyway, other than hearing the Rabbi asking everyone to switch off the cell phones, I have no recollection of the service! Afterwards, mourners left the chapel and followed the coffin towards its final resting place. Jeez, staggering from one path to another reminded me of ‘Chairman’ Mao’s Long March across China! The only thing that sustained me was my hip flash and a pork pie I’d bought in the pub! So, having only just avoided falling into the open plot, once Uncle Sid was ‘packed tight’, everybody started off on the return journey from Bedfordshire to Hertfordshire!

Anyway, it is customary in the Jewish community to form an orderly queue in order to greet the sitting members of the deceased’s immediate family, take each one by the hand and wish them in turn, ‘long life’, and that’s what I started to do, until I got to Uncle Sid’s second son, John. He and I detest one another! I refused to take his hand, commenting, “Sorry for your loss John, but I ‘don’t’ wish you long life!” And I moved on. Taking Sid’s brother’s hand, I inadvertently staggered backwards and took a tumble. When I rose, to my horror I discovered I was still clasping Brian’s hand…his prosthetic hand! I’d like to say I wasn’t the only one who saw the funny side of it, but I can’t. Well, apart from being band from the grounds for life, it’s safe to say I’ve burnt my bridges with my family, which funnily enough is something I’ve been attempting to do for years, but at the end of the day, no one can accuse me of insincerity, can they?

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