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Spanish Shilling

Some stories and experiences after a lifetime spent in Spain

The Send-off
Monday, August 8, 2022 @ 8:09 AM

I was at the Tanatorio waiting as the old friends gathered. The air-con was on (just as well, it was killer hot outside) and, as Andalucía always favours naked walls and plenty of marble, the echoes and reverberations of the various conversations were such, that even with my hearing-aids turned to Yowza!, I still couldn’t make out what anybody was saying.

Something about The Departed, I supposed, as I looked solemn and said ‘uhh’ now and again.

Eventually, we were called to the chapel (similarly accoutred, but with a wooden cross for decoration and this time, with the seats all facing the same way). We tottered in and filled up the room from the back rows first. I was seated at the front – I was going to say something apparently.

The boom-box was switched on, the coffin was brought in, someone sniffled and the show began.

The son was the first up. No one knew him, he’d flown out from Manchester. He had brought some notes which included some jocularities as one does: the time my father did this, the time he said that. We laughed dutifully (although I still couldn’t make out a word).

I was third out of five. No notes and I took my glasses off (there was someone in the audience who owed me some money from a long time ago and I didn’t want to see him).

The dead friend had run the local bar for many years, and then finally retired a couple of decades ago. Like many in the bar-world, he’d enjoyed a drink or two.

I remembered one hot evening when he had reached into the bottle cooler for a beer, found the temperature evidently to his liking, and fell asleep there, his head and shoulders slumped over the white wine.

Many of his customers are of course resting in the same cemetery which is now his new address. When the gates close each night, if you listen closely, you may hear a ghostly champagne bottle as it pops.

My point, as they played something from Frank Sinatra and we survivors staggered out into the hot afternoon’s heat, wondering who would be next, is this:

God, how old we’ve all gotten!

Like 6


vickya said:
Monday, August 8, 2022 @ 12:33 PM

Sadly we all have but it's better than the alternative, usually.

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