Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

No weddings, yet one more funeral

Last week our former village butcher passed away. He was 83 and had been seriously ill for a while. So his death didn’t exactly come as a surprise, and yet the whole village was in shock. As I used to go to school with his daughter, I thought it fitting to attend his funeral. It was held yesterday at 11.30 a.m. at our village church.

When I arrived at the church at 11.15 the car park was already packed and I was lucky to get the last free spot. While I walked over to the church, more cars arrived and very soon the whole area around the church was completely blocked by cars and people looking for a place to park. It looked as if the whole village had turned out to pay their respects to the deceased and his family.

Since my husband’s death in 1983 and my father’s in 1997 I hate going to funerals. Especially as I have the impression that I’ve been going to more funerals than weddings … Even as a small child I had to attend the funerals of my great-great uncles and ants and my grandparents of course. In those days I didn’t realize what was going on and found it rather intriguing. Today it’s a completely different matter because it makes me realize that time is passing too quickly and that everything I used to know is slowly but surely disappearing.

And seeing my former classmate and her brother standing by their father’s coffin only enforced this feeling. I paid my respects and gave her a big hug before finding myself a seat in the church. It was a beautiful service. Some of the deceased’s grandchildren sang several beautiful English hymns (which is quite unusual) and the village priest delivered a lovely sermon. It was all very moving and there was a lot of sniffing and coughing in the assembled congregation.

I didn’t stay till the end of the service because I needed to do some urgent shopping and the shops close at 12.30. I got there just in time. Ironically, one of the shops I had to go to was the butcher’s, that – from the late fifties till mid eighties – used to belong to my classmate’s dad before he sold it to our current butcher.

I sincerely hope that the next time I have to attend a church service, it’ll be a wedding!


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