The funeral I am going to today is that of an old friend's grandmother. Her name was Iva. (Of course, being from the Ozarks, "Iva" is pronounced "Ivy." My mom named me "Laura" and has always called me "Laurie," too. And while we are the subject of pronunciation, the "au" in my name is pronounced like the "a" in "car" rather than the "o" in "core.") Ivy is the grandmother of Joe Jr., who was my brother's best friend when we were growing up. Joe Jr. went to our church and to our school, so we saw a lot of him. Joe Jr.'s mom, Linda, (Ivy's daughter) taught my Sunday School class one year. This is one of those situations that comes up a lot in small, close knit communities. I was not close to Ivy. I may or may not have ever spoken to her. But our lives intersected. Even with all that, though, I probably would have just sent flowers or a card if it were just up to me.
But it is not just up to me. My brother is heading north for the funeral today and I am riding along. I will be glad that I went, because I'll see people who were once important to me. Funerals up home tend to be a cross between a family reunion and a fire-and-brimstone, scare-them-into-heaven pentecostal (or Church of Christ) church service. I don't know what flavor of religious service I am getting today, but I know that I'll run into someone I know, and I'll be glad I did.