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November 21, 2007 / Maleesha Kovnesky

Coffin Delivery

For the somebody that asked “what did you mean about the funeral home” let me clarify.  The house of my youth was down the block and across the street from Wayrynen-Richards funeral home in Butte, Montana.  I never thought twice about it (didn’t everyone have a funeral home in their neighborhood?) until my friend Jennipher convinced me that it was full of dead people.  I’m sure we were eight or nine when she came to my house for a sleep-over, and she suggested we go down the block to look at the funeral home.

We walked to the end of the block and hid behind the giant trees in front of the big red house, the house with the white German Shepherds in the yard.  Luckily for us they were nice dogs, unlike the one that lived three blocks away, who liked to leap over the chain-link fence and chase us.  We were looking at the lovely white-yellow brick building, and Jennipher gasped “Look, the door is opening!”  A large box-truck was pulling up to the funeral home, and at the same time the large, garage-like doors on the side of the building rumbled open.  We sat and watched as the men in the truck started unloading coffins into the building. 

“Oh my God,” Jennipher said, in a very earnest voice.  “You can see red eyes floating in there!”

I squinted to see into the dark building, past the stacks of freshly delivered coffins.  I couldn’t see any red eyes, if memory serves me right.  But when you are eight years old, you can’t admit this.  “I see them!” I said.  “Let’s get out of here!”

“We can’t get out of here,” Jennipher said.  “The eyes can sense fear!  If we run, they will chase us!”

We continued to freak ourselves out near the funeral home until we were shrieking messes, sprinting back toward the safety of my house.   

The funeral home continued to be a mystery to me for a long time.  Some days there were lots of cars parked there, with people in nice clothes walking in or out. 

The first time I went inside the funeral home, it was because the neighbor lady died.  We didn’t go to the funeral.  My mom doesn’t do funerals.  Instead, my mom took us to “sign the book” the night before.  I remember seeing our neighbor there, inside one of the coffins.  She didn’t really look like she was sleeping, like people said she would.  Rather, she looked like a plastic, life-size, toy version of herself. 

Unfortunately, once you go inside a funeral home the first time, you find yourself going there again.  And again.  Suddenly it is no longer entertaining to watch the coffins being delivered.  I don’t remember what age this transition occurs…but I will never forget sitting outside the building, watching the “red eyes” and enjoying the unknown.



Leave a Comment
  1. pikespeakdenise / Nov 21 2007 6:47 am

    Yeah, the older you get, the more funerals you go to. I need to finish my funeral plan soon!


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