When the family had the funeral planning meeting on Wednesday, the pastor asked if there should be a theme to the proceedings. A number of us exclaimed, simultaneously, “Ice cream!”
My Grandpa’s sweet tooth was legendary. Dishes of candies, drawers of chocolate bars, chocolate Easter eggs bought on clearance a week after Easter and stored in the freezer… But most importantly, his greatest love: ice cream.
In a perfect world, there’d have been an endless supply of homemade, hand-cranked ice cream. However, he settled for having five or six tubs on the go at any given time. Ice cream in the front room freezer at the house, and a secret stash in the freezer out in the shed. Sometimes 20-litre restaurant-size tubs. I don’t even wanna know where he got them.
And, of course, a spoon kept in every one for convenient surreptitious snacking. From time to time, presumably when the silverware drawer was looking a little sparse, Grandma would go retrieve the spoons from the tubs, including the ones she “didn’t know about”. Of course, the tubs would always have their spoons back before long…
As luck would have it, Grandpa’s last meal was a big bowl of ice cream.
So ice cream was mentioned a number of times during the service, and was even woven into the message. And after it was over, we walked over to the grave site (the cemetery is across the road from the church) and had a brief service there. At the end, the funeral attendant offered the family flowers to be placed on the casket. I didn’t bother. Flowers… more of a Grandma thing.
I leaned over to my brother and his girlfriend (who had been one of Grandpa’s main attendants at the home), and said, “Man, wish I had a spoon, though”. And then I thought… Why don’t I have a spoon?
So when the graveside service ended and people headed back to the church for refreshments, I headed back in, too. And straight down to the kitchen, where I asked one of the women serving sandwiches for a spoon, which she quickly procured for me. Then I headed back out to the cemetery, flashing my spoon at a handful of cousins along the way, all of whom promptly grinned.
The attendants, who were just tidying up, eyed me oddly as I approached, so when I got to the casket I just said, “We forgot something”, and brandished my spoon. Having attended the service, they grinned, too. I left it nestled among the daisies. Because if there’s any kind of heaven my Grandpa would want to stick around in, it would be one where a man needs a good ice cream spoon. 🙂