Wednesday, 6 August 2014

In Loving Memory

Alex's Ma's passed. Done well, achieved her three score year and ten plus near enough twenty, from cradle to grave in the streets of Govan. 

Hope it's ok to wear a white blouse with the funeral black in today's heat? Hope so. As I turn the corner, there's a solemn band of mourners congregating on the pavement outside Cockburns, talking in hushed voices, shaking hands, drawing on cigarettes.

Cockburns, established in 1932, is the last remaining family run funeral directors in Govan. The front room is fashioned as a comfortable living room, with sofas stationed around a fireplace, over which quite an interesting picture of Glasgow hangs. 
More people arrive and we move as a body into the parlour, dim and subdued. The keyboard, with organ stops selected, is playing a medley of Abide With Me's. We nod reverently to our friend, whose frail mortal shell lies in the casket, before taking our seats and sitting in quiet reflection.
A quick read through the hymnsheet and thoughts resurge of the lives and deaths of those whose passing we have commemorated and celebrated, over which we have grieved and felt relieved.
We sing the 23rd psalm, we say a prayer, we listen with appreciation to the achievements of a woman who brought up her boys, travelled many long miles between the cooker and the kitchen sink, enjoyed family life and felt the kindness of it in her last years. 

We emerge, blinking in the sunlight and wait for the party to gather. 
Some folks forget themselves and a few boisterous conversations strike up. 
One man hails my neighbour, "Haw, May, how's you? No seen you since ye were the turnkey at Orkney St." She laughs. "Dje remember yer niece goat lifted every weekend n ye had tae . . . "
"Aye, aye," she's saying, shaking her head and trying to quieten him a bit, "That's right,"
"Whit wis the lassie's name? That wis a laugh."
"Aye, she's dead noo," and she distracts him with talk of how he's keeping till the family file out and climb into the black saloons for the journey to Craigton.

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