Saturday, February 7, 2015

Team Thevictorian

A funny thing happened on the way to the funeral.

My sister the ex-mayor's wife texted me Friday morning to ask if my boys were wearing jackets. I suppose she was trying to coordinate the pallbearers' outfits not to clash too much, or to match, like those lemon-yellow off-the-shoulder bridesmaid's dresses we had to wear at her wedding. Yellow is not my color. I look dead in yellow. Which is perhaps not a tasteful thing to say here, but I am what I am, and Mom knew it, and laughed at my untasteful jokes, even while admonishing me with a stern, "VAL! That's terrible!"

Of course I had to respond to Sis. Control is important to her, especially in situations where she can't control fate. Mom was fortunate to have six strapping young men to carry her out. Well. Five strapping young men, and The Pony. My nephew, my niece's husband, and Hick's two older boys are all men. Mid-twenties, early thirties. Genius just turned twenty. But The Pony is a mere sixteen. He has his chin beard and one sideburn, but no ropey muscles or broad shoulders. Going down the line looking at them, it's like that scene in One On One, the basketball movie, where you see all the football player type build guys, then an empty spot, then the camera backs up and tilts down to show Robbie Benson. Beautiful Robbie Benson. But I digress...

"Genius is wearing a suit. It was his idea. He got a new suit this summer. He's a fashionista. Never gonna let a suit-wearing opportunity go to waste." Of course I did not type that out on my smarter-than-me phone's betraying keyboard. But I did fit in the new suit, and fashionista.

"The Pony is wearing a blue dress shirt and a black tie. With slacks, of course. His pants of choice." That earned me a :) from Sis, because I explained his penchant for nerdwear during one of our hospital waits.

"The Veteran and Oberle Cheese (Hick's older boys) are not wearing jackets that I know of. Just dress shirts, I think. And slacks, probably." We are kind of relaxed down here in Backroads. Not my boys, but some others, wore jeans and boots to the viewing.

"All right. Nephew and Nephew-In-Law are wearing khakis and nice shirts." Let the record show that Sis and her family are usually more dolled up than the country bumpkin Thevictorians. After all, we don't even have a dishwasher. Or a cleaning man who comes once a week.

The Pony, who perhaps I have mentioned in passing once or twice is a nerd, elected to attend school Friday morning. The Veteran volunteered to pick him up and get him to the family dinner at the church before the funeral. We put The Pony's blue shirt and black tie in T-Hoe so he could change later when he got to the church. Of course, he wore his slacks to school like any other day.

Oberle Cheese was the first of our four boys to arrive at the church. Like The Pony, his name comes from an incident that has marked him for life. When he was about 12 years old, and The Veteran was 10, we took a little trip down to visit Hick's old boss at his country home, and catch some giant catfish in his pond. We had a truck with a camper shell at the time. The boys wanted to ride in the back. Yeah. We're kind of relaxed out here in the country. I had packed a lunch for us, which included a roll of Oberle cheese that I had sliced into about two dozen pieces. We ended up eating at a restaurant with the old boss, so our picnic lunch remained intact in the cooler. When we got home, and the food was unpacked, the cheese container was empty.

Hick asked, "What happened to this cheese?"

Oberle Cheese said, "I got hungry on the way back."

"You mean you two boys ate that whole roll of cheese?"

"No. Just me."

Yeah. At Christmas, along with his Chex Mix and Oreo cake, I also give him a roll of Oberle cheese.

So anyway, Oberle Cheese got out of his car with his family, and I saw that he was wearing a blue dress shirt, the same shade as The Pony's. We went inside to wait for the rest of the family. Nephew was wearing a white and brown and blue and red plaid western shirt. Nephew-In-Law had on a blue and red and black plaid western shirt. The Veteran arrived with The Pony. I noted that he was wearing a blue dress shirt the same shade as The Pony and Oberle Cheese. When Genius showed up fresh from his morning class at college, he was wearing his charcoal gray pinstriped suit, with a yellow-pin-striped shirt in the same blue as The Pony, Oberle Cheese, and The Veteran.


Sis gave me her teacher eye. Not the stink-eye, per se, but the raised-eyebrow, not-smiling, inquisitive eye.

"I had no idea. All I picked out was The Pony's shirt. He has two dress shirts. One white. One blue. This is a total coincidence. It's not like we all planned to wear blue." I was in a black knit top under a dark purple blazer. Hick wore a red dress shirt. He's an upstager. He would likely wear white at a wedding to upstage the bride.

The funeral home had a front pew reserved for pallbearers. Our four boys sat at one end, with Nephew and Nepew-In-Law at the other end. It looked like they were in uniform. Or part of the crew on the deck of an aircraft carrier, where each job has its own color uniform. I had kind of forgotten their uniformity, as had Sis, until an old friend of the family walked by on the way out after the service. "I really like all your dark-headed boys in their blue shirts. It's so cute!"

Yep. Team Thevictorian. That's us.


  1. Someone must have been orchestrating this color coordination. Could it be the slaw angel?

  2. Stephen,
    Something was afoot, that's for sure. Even Oberle Cheese's four year old son wore a blue shirt in that shade. And guess what? SLAW was served at the family dinner provided by the church people.

  3. Funny how that just happened. Your mom was definitely watching.

  4. Kathy,
    I believe she liked blue.