Monday, June 23, 2008

The Perils of An Intra-divisional Funeral

My brothers and I buried our last uncle today in Illinois. Uncle Emil would have turned 90 this year. Emil was a good man, but he had one controversial eccentricity. Uncle Emil was a Cubs fan AND a Packer fan.

The service went well, but the Burri family is not one to refuse an opportunity to create chaos from serenity. At the gravesite, the minister, a pastor of a local United Church of Christ, said a few words. Cousin Pat then shared a few stories about her dad. Uncle Emil was a railroad man and worked checking and keeping the track in safe order. He would travel the track on one of those small vehicles. In one certain area he would always be attacked by a suicide pheasant. Pat told us that he purposed to carry a baseball bat to shoot that kamikazant down. One pall-bearer popped up at that point and exclaimed that since Emil was a Cubs fan, he would have swung three times and missed.

And the melee was on. As Jerry, Jim, and I ducked behind a large tombstone where Jim pulled out a brandy filled hip flask, we heard someone accuse the United Church of Christ pastor of being somehow related to the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. As I peaked around the stone, I witnessed Grandpa John grab an old lady Republican and Cub fan in a head lock and perfom a few knots on her head while screaming something about 'hope and change.'

Jerry bravely raced into the mob and grabbed Cheryl, pulling her off of a Cubs fan while Jim and I got our car. Jerry and Cheryl piled in through the windows of the moving vehicle. Cheryl still had fistfuls of gray hair entangled in her fingers. We fled for the Wisconsin border just a few miles away.

Just another usual Burri family gathering.

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