Monday, April 24, 2006


My grandpa died on Easter Sunday. He was a wonderful man, and lived a long and good life. Luckily, Steve and I saw him when we were in Utah just a few weeks ago. We had a great visit, and he seemed in good spirits - his dry sense of humor fully functioning, and his beard still as bristly as ever when he kissed me goodbye.

Before the funeral, my siblings and cousins gathered to practice some hymns we'd been asked to sing. I looked around the room, and thought about the legacy grandpa left. I thought about summers spent in our grandparents' swimming pool, and trips to Bear Lake. About that sign in their bathroom that said "We aim to please. You aim too, please." About the many times grandpa asked me why I wasn't married yet, and told me I was too picky. About how much he liked Steve. I thought about family, about eternity. I also thought his grandkids sounded pretty darn good singing those hymns.

During the funeral, I noticed too late that I'd put my violin directly under an air conditioner vent. I'd already been having problems keeping it in tune because of the California-to-Utah climate change, and the fact that it'd been resting under a cold stream of air did not bode well. I was a little nervous to begin with because I'd been asked to play a really tricky piece I hadn't played in years (I'd promised grandma I'd play it at her funeral, but she decided I should play it at his, too). Sure enough, I'd only made it halfway through when there was a loud sproinging sound, and one of the strings went completely out of tune. I think grandpa would have found the whole thing pretty entertaining.

After the funeral, the family was invited to a dinner that the Relief Society made for us. On the way there, my sister and I bet that there would be funeral potatoes and ham. My brother-in-law (who grew up in a different country) didn't know what funeral potatoes were. He found out at the dinner. They were right next to the ham.

Less than 24 hours later, I (along with my aunt, 3 cousins, sister-in-law, and sister) became violently ill. I don't think I've ever been so sick in my life. What did we all have in common? That second batch of funeral potatoes. Food poisoning at a funeral: a memory to treasure. My mom took care of us, bringing me Coke with a straw, and I was reminded of all the times she's taken such good care of me when I've been sick. As I sipped my Coke, and sang songs with my 2-year-old nephew (he does a truly amazing "Popcorn Popping"), I thought about family again, and eternity, and how incredibly grateful I am that these people I love with all my heart will be with me forever, and I with them. And how, in heaven, there won't be any need for funeral potatoes.


AzĂșcar said...

Emmie, I'm sorry to hear your grandfather has passed. I'm also sorry that the funeral potatoes near done you in.

I shall eat funeral potatoes at J's funeral because at long last, I will be able to eat a dish containing sour cream without him making swooning faces and holding his nose.

Oh yes, one day I will eat funeral potatoes and I WILL LOVE IT.

julie said...

I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather, too. Aren't we fortunate to have the knowledge of eternal families?

When my twin nephews died last year, we ate lasagna that my mom's hometeacher's wife made. We were all violently ill for a few days. I guess it's the thought that counts! :)

Emmie said...

Thanks so much, gals!

Carina - next time I'm in town, I will make you cheesecake with my special sour cream topping, and we can eat it in front of J. And make loud smacking sounds.

I also wish to report that there are more victims of the funeral potato curse. One of my cousins was in the middle of the BYU testing center when it hit him. He ran from bathroom to bathroom, but they were all closed because of some plumbing problem, so he finally stuck his head through the swinging panel of a trash can. Tragic. Oh, and 3 of my brothers got it, too.

Skanky Chris said...

The last time I ate funeral potatoes I became ill. I don't think they were bad, it was just bad timing. I haven't been able to eat that dish since. So now I have another reason to be sickened by the very thought of funeral potatoes. Thanks. I'll probably never eat them again.

~j. said...

I'm sorry for your loss.

I'm happy for your wonderful memories.

I'm sorry for your sickness.