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Jerri S. Noble

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Member Since: Before 2003

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Asseemed Mistress
By Jerri S. Noble
Friday, May 31, 2002

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Asseemed Mistress

The solemn line filed quietly in. Old Bill lay in final view as his wife, only son, daughter-in-law and grandchildren sat in silent memory of their loved one. The number of attendees was such that this man was well known, though some wondered of his angelic past; in that the history of Bill was untouched. He undoubtedly was a staunch conservative Republican with old southern views. One that George Wallace and a few dead Confederate soldiers would have been proud of. And those in attendance all reflected the same. A few of us had gone in support of Darla, Bill's daughter-in-law and sat not far from our colleague. The minister spoke well of the man in state and of his legacy. How he loved his family and provided for his widower and Alvin, his only son. He would be well missed and of course, Bill loved Jesus. The room was so quiet that I surmised. this must be a warming up for the quietness of the grave. As it was, in the funerals I'd attended, people sang long sad songs, spoke highly of the dead and wept like the tears would bring the Lord himself to call them back to life. So I sat in amazement at the control and simpleness of these last rites.

Near the end of the Preacher's final say, all was silent, hushed, stilled, just the forlorn sound of the organ. I figured there were a lot of butt aching from the stiff setting, stiff lipped people. I thought gas would truly have to escape to get out in here. You couldn't even hear the shuffle of a shoe, until finally, there was a "sniff", sniff sniff, swallow, snifffff, cough, cough, and the seemingly amplified blowing of a snot-filled nose into tissue, then sniff, sniff. The widow looked up, eyebrows furrowed, the children looked around, the people in the chapel looked back, some with questionable stares and if to say, my, my, my, we knew it—Old Bill had a mistress and look who and WHAT she is. There were a lot of red faces with narrowed eyes and restricted noses as if to say, "you dare to show up, tarnish the memory of our Dear Bill, and then to shed a tear, well!" All eyes came to rest on me, the only fly in the buttermilk. The only black person to attend old Bill's final farewell, and the only one shedding a tear, or anything else for that matter. It looked as if my good friend Dee Dee, red-faced with embarrassment, was trying to console me though she was only passing me tissue in hopes of helping to stifle me. It was not that I loved Bill, or that he was a secret sugar daddy and we had an affair unbeknownst to his family, or even that I knew him at all. In all reality, it was first time laying eyes on the old gray man. The truth of the matter was, I had at that very moment a terrible attack of sinusitis, and began an unsubdued flurry of sneezing, wheezing and sniffing that the star of Harper Valley PTA would have been proud of. I thought, well Jerri, you've got their attention now, might as well let it all hang out. The only great thing is that it was the end of the last rites and I was too glad to get the hell out of there. I was so embarrassed I wouldn't even go the cemetery as I'm sure the family was all but too glad.

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