My wife and daughter returned from octogenarian Earl’s funeral with lots of stories:
How he kept a diary every day. Recorded everything. Added his own comments on life for himself: the awards earned by his grandchildren, of their friends. The odd collectables of life.
The time he sought to time entering the garage in his Honda Civic when the wooden doors were blowing in the wind. Three attempts it took, with the doors bumping on the car. No worries. He just backed up and tried again. And the bumps? “That’s what bumper bars are for.”
How he and Shirl rode a tandem bike to church when they first moved to Gymea Bay.
How he and his mates went weekly to garage sales and constructed elaborate gifts out of other people’s throw-aways.
The fact that every day he and his sons placed their tooth brushes in the number one slot in the tooth brush rack, returning the tooth brushes of Earl to the lesser slot – yet no one ever said anything about it. Not once. Not ever.
The fact that each evening Earl set out his breakfast for the next day, including placing sultanas in a glass of water to ‘plump them up’. When his family played a practical joke on him by putting absolutely everything in the cupboards on the benches, he put everything back but said nothing. This mutual silence was a mark of great respect and quiet joy.
And the night that his musical family completed an accomplished performance only for tone deaf Earl to come out at the end, aping seriousness, by himself, and nod a bow. How everyone laughed.
‘Glory be to God for dappled things”.
All of this laughter, all of this joy, was at a funeral of a man whose humour was understated and familial. The happy self-forgetfulness of a man who loved.