Archive for the Funeral home Category

Episode 30: The Potato Chip Mogul

Posted in Celebrities, Charity, Death, Embalming Room, Funeral, Funeral home, Funeral Service Professional, Gratitude, Legacy, Life, Mourning, Personal power, Remembrance with tags , , on January 20, 2015 by Morguie

English: A pile of potato chips. These are Utz...


When CJ was away, attending mortuary college, she had been blessed to find a position inside a rather infamous group of mortuaries in the big city. She worked in a large service center for a conglomerate— inside this service center were many, many people, all deceased, who needed preparation for burial (or cremation). Since the service center served more than a dozen facilities, it was a bustling beehive of activity, in two shifts each day. CJ attended classes in the morning and afternoons so she worked alone at night in this mid-city place.

She was just beginning her shift one evening

, which was just after ordinary close of the office, when she received a call from one of the mortuary executives. Apparently, there would be a delivery that evening of a V.I.P. and she was instructed to handle the embalming of said v.i.p. immediately upon his arrival. Now, you must understand that the rules and strict policy of this service center dictated that all paperwork, especially a signed authorization for embalming, MUST be forwarded to the service center or there would be NO prep work, period. That also happened to be the law. But mind you, the exec calling for this job was habitual in his ordering of work BEFORE the paperwork was sent. Therefore, the rest of the prep room personnel typically blew the guy off and ignored any requests he would make to do work without papers.

CJ knew he was good for his word…he ALWAYS was. But, she knew he was ‘old-school’ in that he didn’t exactly follow the rules, by the book. She also felt, that because his name was on the sign out front,  that she could rely on his word. So when he called that night, she automatically agreed to do as he asked, because she knew the papers were a formality that would be cleared by morning.

Later, as she worked on this still warm body, she secretly rejoiced that she had an opportunity to ‘knock one out of the park’ by delivering to the exec a very well-done body, perfectly preserved and looking so well for his v.i.p. funeral coming within the next few days. What she didn’t know about the v.i.p. is that he would be a particularly well-loved, highly reputed man within this huge metropolis…a special businessman of great fame and fortune. Furthermore, he was nearly considered a living saint in his inner circles; he was a prime benefactor for a nearby university. He’d spent much of his life working to champion educational causes and worthy scholarship opportunities for underprivileged but promising youths of high intellectual quality. Those students he would help would go on to do great and noble things with this higher learning opportunity, thanks to his tireless efforts.

After the v.i.p. had been laid to rest on an afternoon later that week, CJ received a special visit from the exec in charge of the potato chip magnate’s arrangements — the exec came down to the prep room to very ‘publicly’ laud CJ’s efforts in making the man look so good. The exec thanked her so much for her beautiful work to make the v.i.p. look so good for thousands of mourners to view. The rest of the staff took notice. They began to whisper and snicker, right in front of the exec, as he was well aware that they purposefully ignored his instructions all the time. He turned to tell them of the 10,000+ people who came to view this magnate, and the beautiful compliments that came afterward. He proceeded to tell the story of the v.i.p. and the very important accomplishments and contributions the man had made in this huge city. The college stadium was filled with mourners, he told the room. The snickers stopped. Looks of envy were falling across the faces of her more experienced peers. How they wished they could be the ones spoken of so highly. CJ had been the low man on the totem pole — until now. But she had worked hard to earn this praise. Earned it she had, and there was certainly no shame in that.



©C. S. Thompson, 2015.

Double Feature: Rolling Wake and A Unique Funeral Custom

Posted in Cemetery, Death, Faith, Funeral, Funeral home, Funerary Customs, Memorialization, Mourning, Music, Tradition, Video Clips on September 15, 2014 by Morguie

Today the Mouse and I are going to show you two very unique types of funeral service features — ones you won’t see everyday — not generally speaking.


The first short clip is for a Compton, California funeral home…and we won’t lie, Compton is a rough little piece of South Los Angeles.  Some folks are afraid to go into that neighborhood, due to the drive-by shootings, criminal element, and the ghetto condition of down-town areas.

So, to make folks feel a little more secure in visiting the funeral home, a very unusual feature is provided.


The next clip here, is of a ‘home-going’ service. The African-American community has a distinctly unique flavor with funerals. This clip features the ‘steppin’ the pallbearers do as they sing a spiritual and carry the casket  out of the church.

In New Orleans, this practice is accompanied by a Jazz Band ( Second Line, it’s called) in parade-style procession, as they move the casket to the grave…We’ll let you peruse the clips of those on your own, if you like. Those clips should appear after this video piece.



We sure appreciate your stopping by to see us today. We hope you enjoyed our little slice of funeral culture and custom in these clips.


CJ and Morguie




Vintage Cartoon — #2

Posted in Comedy, Fiction, Fun and Entertainment, Funeral, Funeral home, Humor, Life, Thought For Today with tags , , on September 9, 2014 by Morguie

I found this while I was looking for something else entirely…always the way, here.


Here is an old “Mother Goose and Grimm”  strip by Mike Peters , from at least 10 years ago…  Morguie made it a “colorized” version…silly mouse always getting into the stuff on my desk…this time the colored pens.

Thanks for stopping in to see us again!!

CJ and Morguie





EPISODE 28: The Father and Son’s Day

Posted in Death, Family, Funeral, Funeral home, Ghosts, Grief, Hope, Life, Losing A Parent, Loss, Love, Mortuary, Mourning, Parenting, Relationships, Special Needs, Spirits on June 13, 2014 by Morguie

christ-the-redeemer-rio-940x626                The phone rang in the middle of the night, and on the other end was Mr. Becker, CJ’s boss and owner of the funeral home. It was a first call (death call). CJ struggled to wake up and switch on the light. Quickly she grabbed paper and pencil to jot down the information. Mr. B. wanted her to pick up the deceased at a rehabilitation center, which was nearly 70 miles away. She rushed to dress and get on the road.

Boss has me everywhere at once today!!



Rehab places are nursing homes. Sometimes folks go there to get recuperative care, physical therapy, or post-op rehabilitation before they can fully qualify for release to return home. Sometimes, they are so infirm they never manage to return home.

Most of these places do not have a morgue or refrigeration available for the patients who decease, thus making it necessary to call the funeral home to promptly come pick up the bodies.       CJ was surprised to note that the man, Mr. Jennings, was just 38 years old. Apparently, he had been in the center as a  long-term care patient. As she glanced over the information on the paperwork, she saw that he had been admitted for a life-long degenerative disease, which had been at the end-stage. CJ signed for his personal effects, the paperwork, and then collected Mr. Jennings.

 The sun had begun to come up by the time she reached the mortuary. That is when I awoke to the clatter in the prep-room. I came out to greet her, scrambling up the cord of the embalming machine, on the counter beside the sink. She was washing her hands when she noticed me perched on the porcelain edge.

“You startled me! How are you, my little furry pal?”



I told her I was good and she mentioned she’d been out half the night to pick up this case. She warned me to stay out of sight, before she left to return home to dress and get ready for the work day. She was kind enough to stop at her desk to get me a cracker before she disappeared.


A couple of hours later, as she was finishing Mr. Jennings’ embalming, the intercom line rang. Mr. Becker needed her to get ready to go on a house call. She shooed me off the utility cart I’d been standing on, watching her as she embalmed.

“Hurry! Jump into my purse if you are coming with me. Hey, stay out of sight, too. Mr. B. is going out on this one with me.”      

I did as I was told and disappeared into the inner pocket of her purse. I love to go with her on calls. But, I knew I’d better behave or Mr. B. would kill me if he saw me.

As we got into the van, Mr. B. remarked that this was going to be a long day. He went on to say that the person they were going  to pick up was Mr. Jennings, Sr.

CJ looked at him with disbelief. After all, she’d been up all night dealing with a Mr. Jennings. “Are you serious?” she asked.


Apparently, when the rehab center made notification of death this morning, by telephoning the father of Mr. Jennings, he essentially died of a broken heart. Within a couple of hours, his heart gave out and he dropped dead.

He had been very close to his son, visiting several times a week. The old man was acutely aware that the end was near for his beloved only son and he tried to spend as much time as he could with him. It had grieved him to have to put his son in the care home, but he could no longer manage the complications and progressing medical complexities by himself, from their home.

He was in his late seventies and with his own infirmities.

He wanted only to ensure the best care for his son, so he did what he had to do.

It was all very sad. CJ told me later, as she was embalming the senior Mr. Jennings, that this is not very unusual. She said that it mainly happens with husbands and wives, though. People who have been married for decades. Jennings, the elder, had been a widower for several years, and his son was the center of his universe.

Osborne_Funeral_hanr_t728         As the day wore on, I pondered the whole father-son connection and bond. That was quite a strong tie they had. I imagined the poor father had struggled with many sorrows, through his son’s life. From the initial dreams for his son at his birth… then hopes for those dreams being dashed in learning of the disabling disease,  adjusting family life around this situation, caring for the multitude of medical needs and crises that came and passed over the years… no doubt the burden this father carried was one of great love and sorrow, too. It must have been terrible to know his boy might one day die, while he still remained, eventually to be tasked with burying him.


The best part of this story was the moving funeral service. There they were, at the front of the chapel, father, and son, together side-by-side in matching caskets made of dark cherry wood. It was beautiful, with the flowers all around, and matching casket floral arrangements of dark red roses. The celebrant spoke of the happy day the two must be enjoying in eternity; no longer encumbered by sickness or suffering for the young man and no more sorrow or worry for the father. A joyful day, certainly.  



Yes. Classic broken heart, it did him in. But in the end, I like to think that their spirits were joined that morning, and went together hand-in-hand, to that place souls go when they pass from this earthly existence.

I am convinced it was just in this way. One day, I shall know for sure.

©2014, C.S. Thompson.               christ-the-redeemer-rio-940x626

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