NEXT ONE'S ON ME
The Osterhouts and Jennings have lived in the small Hudson Valley town of Montgomery, NY for generations. The world at large knows Montgomery as the home of the battling Teutals of reality TV Orange County Chopper fame. To us the Teutals are newcomers. Talk to me when Mikey has great grandchildren playing Little League down by the senior center and maybe we'll consider him a local. In our family proper the only ones left in Montgomery are Mupp and BaNanna. By coincidence they live down the road from Big Paul.
On Saturday we laid mom to rest in the Riverside Cemetery. There's a spot in the back of the graves that border the river where mom learned to swim in the 1930's. It was where we scattered the Old Man's ashes a couple of years ago. Since then a giant maple had fallen in the river, trapping some Wallkill detritus and churning river scum. At first there was talk of mom's ashes being trapped by the tree. Up until the last moment we were uncertain wether we would scatter mom here or over by the trimmed up, graveled, public boat ramp. Family vote. Luckily there's five of us. To my relief the spot with the fallen maple prevailed. Mom would join dad in the same waters.
Typical of this small town the man mowing the lawn was a judge and just happened to be a cousin on the Osterhout side. I asked if he could wait until we finished our goodbyes before continuing his noisy mowing? He shook my hand with his condolences and graciously shut down the machine. We dug a small hole near all the Jennings and Osterhout family plots. Placing a small amount of her ashes in a beautiful box crafted by brother Duke, we lowered the box in the hole and passed the shovel amongst all those gathered, covering her up. Beautiful words were spoken by friend and family.....then to the river.
I'm way too emotional to keep it together to eulogize my mother. In these times I can choke up reading the phone book. But for some reason I am able to sing and play guitar. Years ago I had vowed never to play around my family. I've busked in NYC Subways. They have nothing on the noise and inattention thrown at you at an Osterhout gathering. Mom's funeral could be the only time I could shut them up long enough to get through a song. It worked. Duke, Smokey and Mrs. B. waded into brown river with mom and dozens of flowers as i struggled through my song. Then all went back to a great spread of food and drink at Mupp's and BaNanna's. They put on a helluva funeral. Not to be maudlin, but being the eldest of this clan I hope I'm the next to go. (Not any time soon.) This being the case, the next one's on me. Scatter my ashes in the CLGM cemetery at sunset. Then go back to the church and eat, drink and rock the place until dawn. I just wish i could be there to keep your glasses filled.