After the formality of the wake;
the meeting of the relatives, and the friends.
After the mourning, the tears and the eulogy;
tales of how he had inspired us, touched us all.
After the procession from the funeral parlor to the cemetery;
the interminably long procession.
After we waited 5 minutes at a red light;
a light that would not turn green.
After the honor guard performed the flag folding ceremony;
over the casket of one of the Greatest Generation.
After the folded flag was presented to the eldest surviving son;
the eldest son having died of cancer 7 years earlier.
After the caretaker spent too long giving indiscernible directions;
directions to an Italian restaurant 3 miles and two turns away.
After the crowd of mourners / celebrants waited;
too long for a glass of water on a hot and trying day.
After the orders were taken;
by one overworked and unsuspecting waitress.
After the food finally started to arrive;
a toast that was thought, but not spoken, the author too shy, too sad to speak.
We are all here to mourn the loss of my father.
He would not have cared too much for all the attention of the wake.
He would have felt uncomfortable with all the admiration, adulation.
He would not have cared for the honor guard that performed such a well earned ceremony at his grave.
This is what he would have liked.
To be surrounded by friends, family and loved ones;
at an Italian restaurant;
with good food and a bottle of Red.
So in honor of my father;
Let’s eat, very slowly, enjoy every bite, and wipe the plate clean with one last piece of bread.
Here’s to Nick!