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My Eulogy, a Work in Progress

John W. Pinkerton


I went to a funeral today.

It was for a local lady whom I liked and respected.  It just took a few minutes  of my time to sit and listen to the minister conduct the service,  listen to a couple hymns, bow my head for a couple of prayers.  In less than forty-five minutes, I was back in my easy chair.

As a youngster, I didn't attend many funerals.  The few I did were very emotional…especially my Grandpa Barron's.  I avoided them when I could.  If you live in one place for a long time as I have, you naturally build relationships.  Perhaps not many friendships, but you get to know and, hopefully, respect a few people.  Out of respect for their survivors, I try to make myself go whether I want to or not.

If you attend my funeral, don't cry for me.  I had a good run.  I know that when you lose someone to whom you are emotionally attached---Linda, the emotions might interfere with the celebration which a funeral should be, and I don't mean “I'm Glad Your Gone, You Rascal You” kind of celebration.

Now it's probably not kosher to write your own eulogy, but being that I'm not Jewish---to my knowledge---and being that I've been told I'm Irish, well, I think I'll go for it?

The thing about most eulogies is that whoever presents them at a funeral tend to take the deceased way too seriously.  By writing my own eulogy, there is no one to blame other than the deceased who is beyond giving a flip.

First of all I want to credit Linda, my wife of fifty years, for keeping me alive up until the present circumstance.  She never poisoned me intentionally or accidentally.  She is a wonderful money manager---I won't call her tight, but she is certainly conservative.  When I'm shopping with her, I always must give her a push to purchase whatever is the apple of her eye at the moment.  Linda, just pretend that I'm standing behind you to urge your purchase on.  She's been a fine companion who shares most of her daily life with me.  She has seen me act like a total jackass but has never made a federal case out of it.  My main contribution to her life was that I have given her a long-term project on which to apply her skills.  I often told her that after I'm gone, which I presently am, her life will be much easier and it will.  Just give it time.  You truly are the better half.

Only one of my high school buddies and two college friends have left me behind.  Each was a good fellow.  Each tolerated me really well.  I guess that's what friends do…tolerate each other.  I attended only one of their funerals.  It was sometime afterwards that I learned of the deaths of the two others.

Now a little about myself.  Now don't act surprised.  After all, I'm the guest of honor on this occasion.   I was born in Pineville, Louisiana...not in a log cabin, but it didn't miss it much.  Louisiana is a good place to be from…Texas is my first place choice for a state to live in and die in.  Mission accomplished.   Mother was a good mother, but she had a bit of a temper.  Dad was Dad…and he had a bit of a temper. 

I wasn't given to temper tantrums until I became an adult.  About the time I hit fifty, I reduced my tantrums to a reasonable level.

When I was about ten or eleven, I discovered a library.  No one told me I couldn't check out and read any book I wanted to read.  It was wonderful.

A lot of people complain about how miserable they were in high school.  Not me.  It was wonderful---a little education, a little socializing, a lot of fun.  I seldom got in trouble and was pretty much a run of the mill nerd…and that was before nerds were popular.

I went on to college at Louisiana State University at Alexandria.  I was one of their first students, managed the campus newspaper, made decent grades, and learned to drink and smoke, and after two years, went on to the main campus.

I loved the main campus in Baton Rouge…especially the football games, and I graduated from there with a bachelor of arts in English.  Oh yeah, I became a pretty good bouree player while matriculating.  I graduated with a really average grade average.

Dad and Mom moved to Houston.  I moved to Houston.  Being that my draft status was 1A, I poked my draft board, and they poked back.  Off to Fort Polk, Fort Sill, and Germany.  After a year and a half of hand to hand combat with the Army, we shook hands, and I returned to America.

Mom and Dad were in Bryan, Texas, so I showed up there.  They seemed to be glad to see me, so I moved  in and was working toward a job as a pharmaceutical salesman when Dad asked me if I had ever thought of teaching.  “No.”  After a twenty minute interview with the superintendent of the school district in Somerville, Texas, I signed a contract, and thirty-five years later I retired after being a classroom teacher for 25 years and district librarian for 10.  I, for the most part, enjoyed the teaching, but that librarian gig was great.

I retired, went home, became an artist and author and creator of an online magazine serving authors and artists.  All of which have been a lot of work, but also a lot of fun.

My basic philosophy of life has been “show up and see what happens.”  Even on this occasion, I've shown up, but I suspect that I have no idea what's happening.  

The fact is that this service is not about me.  I'll soon be just a fuzzy little memory.  It's about you.  I'm gone.  Get on with your lives.  Show up and see what happens.