Samuel Donavan Terpinski, Gwen had never heard her great grandfathers full name, ever. Most of the eyes were dry at the ceremony, as no one really had cause to be upset that the crusty caterpillar was seeking refuge in another realm. He was downright ornery and never had a nice thing to say to anyone, ever… except Gwen. Gwen knew her grandfather was despised by the entire town of Plickrickton, and all for the same reason. A hell of a feat in these days of celebrated separation.
Gwen was the only one to drop a rose into the now occupied rectangular hole. Old Jimmy “Moth slapper” Jones let out a nostril snort that most folks agreed with. Others thought that even the crusty caterpillar should be given a bit of respect as he went to pay the ferryman. Gwen turned to the crowd and flattened out a scrolled piece of parchment. Gwen thought that folding and creasing paper was disrespectful to the trees that once held it in their bosom. “Would you want someone to crease your baby?” She once asked her second grade teacher.
Gwen wanted to hire a trumpeter for this part, and she could have, but there was simply not a soul that possessed such a talent within the city limits of Plickrickton. Gwen felt that clearing her throat would be too Hollywood and an M-80 would disturb the dead, so she lit 17 sparklers with a fiery cigar, the same cigar Sam was smoking when he was shot.
Sam’s favorite number was 17, based solely on the fact that he once went 17 days without a shot of Wild Turkey. It was actually in those limited days of sobriety that Sam would become the most hated man… human, in Plickrickton. Let’s get back to Gwen, I don’t want to miss her speech.
“Hello, and thank you for coming to my great grandfather’s funeral. I know most of you are here to piss on his grave after the ceremony. He told me that it was most likely the only way anyone would show up and welcomes all of you, pee or not. He requested plastic flowers anyway.” Gwen’s words caught some folks off-guard and tidbits of laughter rolled through the audience. “He wanted me to share some of his knowledge of you all that most likely you did not know he knew.” Now there was a silence among the attendees, a startled silence that was shattered by a crow calling to her friends.
“Davis Jerome, I know for a fact that you took all your winnings from the town poker game in 1977 and purchased all the new uniforms for the children of Saint Anne’s of Charitable Contributions.” This stunned sister Agatha, who arrived in 1979 and called Davis the devil for never donating anything to the orphanage. Sister Agatha was often vocal and verbally abusive to Davis in public, claiming she knew how God would judge him. Many of the folks stared at sister Agatha, who obviously now could not piss on Sam’s grave.
“Valerie Polbaree, in 1984 you gave a ride to a stranger on the outskirts of Plickrickton. You thought she was a wayfarer and gave her twenty dollars for food. That woman was a billionaire on ayahuasca, and was the anonymous donor that rebuilt our city after the great flood.” Valerie had no idea, but was all of a sudden a town hero. People at the funeral started hugging her and crying as they recalled the emotional hell the town suffered from the flood. Sam had people crying at his funeral!
One by one, each person that attended the funeral had their name read out loud and they were exposed for a stunning feat of generosity they had performed that no one else knew about in Plickrickton. By the time Gwen had finished, tears had been shed, laughter rolled through the crowd, and the earth had witnessed the happiest and most joyous of funerals ever, as stated by the earth itself.
All the attendees gathered around the hole and started clapping and singing “For he’s a jolly good fellow, for he’s a jelly good fellow, for he’s a jolly good fellow… which nobody could deny!”
The damning deed that Sam inflicted upon that town was was so enormously outweighed by the joy and happiness that he had released, about other decent folks, that the town forgot all about it. They only remembered him for his kindness and compassion, which actually only existed within the confines of that parchment — the parchment that took years for Gwen to investigate and assemble.
Gwen stood alone as the sunset and before she walked away from her great grandfather she said only 3 words… Love You too.