Thanks, We Had A Great Time

 

"Tom, you've got a voice mail from Dave."

"That's weird, Dave rarely leave messages. I'll give him a call after supper."

I spoke with Dave the last time on that Saturday night just after we had spoken to Marianne (hereafter often referred to as M). Dave, as we all know, was a bit of a Luddite when it came to technology although he did read and answer e-mail, and bought and sold sheet music on E Bay. However, although he had cell phone, he never turned it on.

Anyhow, I usually phoned him every couple weeks or so. He suffered from Lupus, a byproduct of which was a lousy short-term memory. The only advantage to me was that I could tell him the same joke over and over again and he'd laugh like hell every time. But like M would say "When the Lord closes a door, he might open a window", or something like that. The window that opened for Dave was a prodigious long-term memory. During our conversations, he'd stun me with such remarks:

"I remember one day when I was about 10 and we lived on Bacheller Street and Joe got so mad at Ma that when she left the room, he put a broom handle through the closet door in our bedroom. The door was made of plywood and shattered in such a way that splinters formed a star at angles that went off to the right. That night the Bruins beat Chicago 3-0 with Johnny Bucyk scoring the winning goal after coming out of the penalty box."

So, back to our phone conversation, Dave said that earlier in the week he'd been operated on.

"What!"

"Yeah, they put some kind of stent into my heart and I'm feeling 1000 percent better now."

"When did you get home?"

"Thursday, day before yesterday. As a matter of fact, I'm feeling so good that I'm doing some grocery shopping after we finish talking and stopping at the shop down the street to see what they've got for sheet music."

Dave started buying, selling, and collecting sheet music around the time Ma passed away. She had a lot of old sheet music under the piano bench near the Spinet piano in the living room. Rhonda would frame the most interesting and hang them in their den. Then, one night while he was cruising eBay for something, he discovered others were collecting old sheet music, which is how he got into buying, selling, and collecting.

Dave also spoke that night with Lois Carmody. Lois is the youngest sib of Frank and Bertha Carmody. Frank was Dad's closest brother. Lois lives in East Boondock, NH so we don't see her very often; the last time, was at M's when she lived in Exeter, NH and the occasion was Aunt Dolly's 90th birthday party (later we found out Dolly was really 92 at the time. She later said "What the hell, everybody missed my 90th so I didn't want to get cheated out of a party." (You had to love her!)

Lois was planning a Carmody family reunion around St. Patrick's Day up at her place so Dave was passing the news around.

Anyhow, we then bemoaned the fact that the Bruins were playing horribly this season but baseball was right around the corner.

"Well, take care."

"OK, bye"

At about 10:30 PM that same night, I was just dozing off when the phone rang in the other room and Terry brought the phone in and said that my brother Joe was on the line.

"David just passed away."

"What?!"

I called Adam on his cell phone to see what we could do and he said things were not good at the house right then and would be better if no one came over until tomorrow.

Needless to say, it was a tough sleep that night.

Evidently, Dave had gone grocery shopping and then had stopped at the music store. When he got home, he started to bring in the groceries.

He must have felt something was wrong because he put his hat on the kitchen table, laid down on the kitchen floor, and died.

Rhonda, Jill, and Preston got home later and saw that Dave's car was still open. They ran into the house, Jillsent Preston to his room, and Rhonda, started CPR, while Jill dialed 911. -- -- -- --

Terry I got there around 11 AM the next morning. Rhonda's best friend June had done Yeoman's work in consoling Rhonda and trying to keep her steady. Kids were all over the place and that was probably good thing.

Adam said that no plans would be made that day. Everything was being put off until early Monday afternoon.

The Wake -- Thursday

 

Marianne, Brad, and Ian drove in from Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

There was an amazing procession of people in and out of the funeral home from 5 to 8 PM that evening.

Even though David had retired 10 years ago, there was a schoolhouse amount of students and former colleagues who showed up. One teacher in particular, Mr. Dion, (never caught his first name) was the head of his teaching team at one point. Many may not have known this but Dave had a master's degree in Special Education. His students were mainly behavioral problems and we all thought when he started it would be a quick burnout. Were we ever wrong. Dave thrived in it and was good at it.

Dion told the story of how one day Dave ended up with a couple hundred students together with his own class that he had to handle all day long because of a crisis in financing. Dion said he'd never forget it.

It also seems like the whole hospital staff turned out especially the nurses since Rhonda was one of their own. Then, I was surprised to see Sonny Foster, now an octogenarian, and his two sons John and Bobby. Sunny was the oldest first cousin in the son of Aunt Anna, may Carmody, and Uncle Ada Foster. I send an e-mail to cousin Marty (I mean me Carmody son) with the funeral details and asked to the contact other Carmody family members. What I didn't realize was that Marty was traveling somewhere in California and probably never receive the meal until much later. The rest of the Carmody family found out from the OK in Lynn Item.

On the Dupuis (Kelantan, Stanley, liturgy or) side of the family, Diane and I do showed up at the wake and said that attend the service the next day. And, as always, Joe and Andrea with you for us.

Because I'm not a firm believer in viewings, I'm not going to describe the casket except to say the Dave probably would've liked the musical staff signature (the G. Cleff) at each corner; also liked seeing his ubiquitous hat inside but that wasn't going to be buried with him. The flower arrangements were done tastefully. I especially liked the guitar form filled with flowers that Katie, Derek's fiancee, had made.

Josh came later after working and said both Beth and the kids would be at the service and burial tomorrow.

The Service

There was a brief service next morning conducted by a deacon from the local church. It was short, sweet, and brief -- -- -- my favorite. Then came the eulogies. By the way, the place was packed, SRO.

I had agreed to read a poem that was read at maís funeral. Joe then talked about ZINZEE BUDWA -- and here we have to go out on another tangent. Dave was a Renaissance man in the sense that he had many interests. And, when he got involved with something, it was wholehearted, sometimes to the point of obsession. He once decided he was going to run the Boston Marathon. He trained. He ran. He finished. The same applied when he got interested in making maple syrup. It was the weather that dictated when to set the taps in the maples. You needed cold nights and warm days to get the sap or branch water, as itís called, flowing. Dave would set taps wherever he could find a maple, then he got Joe to do the same, and, finally, Shawn. Now, the Native American Indians called the maple sugaring process ZINZEE BUDWA, so thatís how the term worked its way through the family. Shawn is now the master mapler so Iíll leave it to him to expatiate on this story.

Joe then talked about how Christmas was so important to Dave and how he used to write Santa Claus letters to his kids (thatís right - to his kids), a rather novel approach.

Others spoke briefly including Shawn and Dion.

Finally, M sang "Only One Way" and, Iím sure, this is probably a poor word choice but it was a showstopper, not a dry eye in the house. Iíll never know how she sang that without breaking down.

The Burial

We all left the home and sat in our automobiles for about 45 minutes until the funeral folks got their act together. We rode in procession a couple miles to Holy Ghost cemetery on Gilcrest Road. It was cold and icy, especially icy. They set the casket on a catafalque in front of the cemetery. We parked cars along the road and walk to the front. We gathered around and a short service was conducted by the deacon. Everyone then went back to their cars, put the heaters on hell setting, and waited until the immediate family, including brothers and wives, sisters and husbands accompanied the casket to the burial spot. We went back to our cars to go to the Lions Club for the repast, or what Dave would've called the ĎSin Eaters Mealí. The Sin Eaters Meal is a rite whose origin goes back to medieval times, and probably even further back into Celtic paganism. Sin Eaters were professionals hired by the mourning family. It was thought that the food represented the evil done by the late lamented and that the Sin Eaters would take the evil unto themselves when the food was consumed.

At The Lion's Club

When we went through the door, there must have been 17 tables loaded with food that the nurses from the hospital had prepared. I guess it was enough food to serve 300 or 400 people. A couple hundred people had come back from the cemetery to join us including my godmother, 92-year-old Aunt Mable. After we feasted, the kids, Bailey, Jamison, and Jillian, Emme Grace, and Liam played on and off the stage and, like most kids that age, ran around constantly. I got tired just watching them.

At some point, Derek and Josh with guitars and M and Derekís buddy Miles started singing, gathered together seated in the middle of the hall after tables and most chairs had been removed. I went over join them and before long just about everyone in the family both Carmodys and Dupuisí sang just about every song we knew including Kingston Trio, Peter Paul and Mary, French songs like "Jíirai La Voir Un Jour", and of course, a couple old choir songs in resplendent harmony like "Vidi Aquam".

I suppose Dave was there in spirit since he normally would've been the one to start the singing. (by the way, see the story titled "Aunt Marie's Funeral" and, if you've read it, you now realize the allusion of the title of this story).

Back At Rhonda's

The hard-core family members went back to Rhonda's where we performed a rather neat little ritual which, I understand, began when Jody's mother passed away. They cut out pieces of construction paper in the shape of a guitar and wrote personal messages on the guitar pieces to Dave. Even all the kids were included in this. About 20 of us went outside after we had attached the messages to Helium filled balloons fitted with strings. Then, at a given signal, we released the balloons with their messages and we stayed there watching until rising, the balloons disappeared from sight.