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Crow's-Feet Chronicles: Gray expectations
By Cindy Baker Burnett
May 8, 2017
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Just because I can keep up with my age doesn’t mean I know my shelf life. While several Baby Boomer girlfriends were gathered recently, Patsi announced gleefully, “My husband and I just bought our last refrigerator!” We all knew what she meant---“When the roll is called up yonder...” 

Sylvia chimed: “When the painter finished painting the outside of our house, my husband and I were standing back and looking at the finished project with the painter. He said, ‘I think this’ll take y’all on out.’” (Translation: “Your heirs can worry about the next paint job.”) 

I couldn’t help but add to the conversation. “I had my last colonoscopy last week!” When my doctor announced that to me, I considered stopping by the funeral home to get my affairs in order. But, instead, I decided it was such good news that I’d bathe in the glow of it for a while. 

Sure, I understand the theory behind the advice to not buy green bananas any more, but I’m too busy looking for a handrail to bother with it. My dad’s favorite musing means more to me now than ever: “I can’t walk past a chair without wanting to crawl in it.” Years and years ago I asked the local newspaper editor: “Why are you never without a cigar?” 

He quickly answered, “Because at my age, I’d fall down if I didn’t have something to hold onto.”

Lynne Drain of Sierra Madre said that she was discussing the subject of death recently with her 89-year-old grandfather. He said that when his father died in 1910, his mother bought a burial plot for all six family members for $125, and he still had the bill.

Drain's grandfather also had the bill for his father's burial. It was made out to Ann Hansberger for the burial of her husband, Constant Hansberger. The bill totaled $142.15 and was itemized as follows: 

Removing remains from St. John's Hospital, $2; embalming, $10; shaving, $2; candles and candelabra, $5; death notice in paper, $1; pedestals and rug, $2; underclothing, 65 cents; black casket, handles and plate, $65; outside box, $5; box taken to cemetery, $1.50; single grave, $15; low Mass, $10; hearse, $8; three coaches, $15. 

Drain's grandfather remembers that the hearse and each of the coaches was pulled by two horses, which made it a grand funeral, indeed. This bill was duly signed to acknowledge payment. 

The two items that interest me most are "shaving, $2" and "underclothing, 65 cents." Considering the reasonable cost of all the other items, $2 seems a lot to pay for a shave. Wasn't that old saying, "shave and a haircut, six bits," in vogue at about that time?

Before I dwell on itemized funeral costs that will apply to me some day, I’m enjoying the fact that I have kissed my last colonoscopy and pap smear goodbye...so to speak.  

Now, if they could figure out a way to do mammograms online… 

cindybaker@cableone.net