Four Friends and a Funeral

On a recent Saturday, I attended a funeral to honor the passing of a friend’s mom. All I knew driving to the funeral was that she died of cancer, and that funerals are almost always sad. This particular day proved the latter wrong.

People say, or at least I’ve heard it said, that funerals bring people and memories together. The strange thing with this funeral is that I hardly knew my friend’s mom. All I wanted to do was support my friend through what has been a tough year. I decided to carpool with four friends, all of which shared the same sentiment: support our friend during this time of loss.

If you Google mapped our journey, it began in New York City to North Jersey to a quick stop at a rest area for gas and coffee and then a straight shot down the New Jersey Turnpike toward Princeton. During our drive, the five of us caught up on life, discussed various current events, commented on the blandness of the Turnpike scenery and then before you knew it, arrived at our destination.
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This morning, I followed my normal pre-work routine.  My alarm rang at 6:45.  I climbed out of bed to turn it off.  I climbed back into bed until the snooze alarm sounded.  I turned that off too, and climbed into bed again.  Finally, after thirty minutes of this game, I was ready to truly get up and face the world.  (Why I can’t just set my alarm thirty minutes later and sleep I’ll never know.)

Next, I journeyed to the bathroom for the morning ritual:  shower, shave, brush my hair (even though I buzz my hair), brush my teeth.  I got dressed, headed to the kitchen and poured myself a bowl of cereal.  I then embarked on a ritual I’ve had in some form or fashion since I was eight - I saw down and read the paper.  

When I was eight, I would literally spend 20 minutes combing through the local paper - skimming articles, checking out the day’s news, reading the funnies.  Nowadays, I migrate back to my computer and skim through the news stories on the website of the local paper.  If I have time, I’ll pop over to a few favorite sites or blogs that are on my newsfeed.  

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Leaving a Legacy

Cory was my first crush. Given the circumstances under which we were introduced, it was somewhat inevitable. I was nine years old and just discovering that boys existed. My oldest cousin was marrying the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen and they had asked me to be a junior bridesmaid in their wedding. It was the first wedding I had ever been asked to be part of, and I met Cory, who was just months older than me, the weekend of the wedding. We were being paired to walk down the aisle together.

The women gathered in the fellowship hall to make final preparations for the wedding. Careful not to catch my curls, Mom zipped up my teal green satin bridesmaid’s dress. It had puffy sleeves, a full skirt, a heart-shaped neckline and matching satin roses on the sides of the neckline that were still being sewed on just minutes before the wedding began. At the time, it was the single most glamorous stitch of fabric ever to grace my chunky, underdeveloped adolescent body.

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