The Old Farmer shows up at the front gate. He's an hour early and is impatient to get going. 'Are you ready ?' I ask. He nods. For the funeral he's wearing a red fleece jacket , a green check shirt, blue track suit trousers, a brown cap and sandals. As a nod to the chilly weather he's wearing orange socks with his sandals. Today, for the first time he's using a walking stick.
Everyone at the crematorium had to be masked and seated apart. This makes the smattering of neighbours and acquaintances look even sparser. Music comes from a boom box. Ave Maria is played. This must be a popular choice as the tape has stretched with use giving the music an unusual tempo. The day, which had started off bright has turned into rain. There is a chance to say something. I think of the Desmond Tutu line ' We may be surprised at the people we meet in heaven. God has a soft spot for sinners. His standards are quite low' but the sentiment might be lost in translation. 'Repose en paix, monte dans la gloire' has to suffice. Farewells don't need to be scripted affairs, simple and heartfelt is all that matters.
By five o'clock night is drawing in and the lowering skies signal it's time to head home.
So passes another day in a little village in deepest, deepest France profonde where nothing ever happens ... until it does.
A Scottish song with American accents. After Advent a change of gear towards Hogmanay and thoughts of Scotland and the excitement of a New Year :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXu1U-sTQ_w