I’m sitting at home indulging in my love of terrifyingly bad reality TV. Tonight’s fare? Oh God, it just keeps getting better… My sister in New Jersey just called to tell me (keep in mind it’s well after midnight on the East Coast) that I just had to turn on TLC. There’s a show on called Best Funeral Ever. Yes, best FUNERAL ever. I could not let the moment pass without a mention on this blog. I tuned in just in time to catch a casket bearing the earthly remains of Olympic gold medalist Ronnie Ray Smith. If you weren’t watching the track and field events at the 1968 Mexico City Games you might not remember him. If you happened to catch TLC tonight you’d never forget him. I’m not even going to try to offer social commentary. I just have to bring you up to speed on the final homegoing.
The funeral was held on the infield of a track at what appears to be a local high school. The casket was placed upon a bier representing a medal stand. The preacher, clad in a track suit, gave a rousing sermon about “running on Team Jesus” and scoring a perfect 10 or some crap. And then the pall bearers approached the stand, lifted old Ronnie Ray aloft, carried him over to the track, and placed him down on a plywood contraption. The plywood was, it seems, an artificial top to a go-cart that the funeral director had rigged up for this purpose. The pall bearers took their marks alongside Ronnie’s casket-cart. The cart was surrounded by a gold drape with a little hole cut out in the front (so the driver could see). Director shouted “On your marks, get set…” BANG! And they’re off. And like that the gathered “mourners” began to cheer as Ronny made his way around the track one last time. “I was just a kid when he ran in the Olympics so I never got to see him run… until now!” cried his niece. The implications if the go-cart had stalled or flipped are still dancing about in my mind.
God bless TV!
Now then, it’s Advent. My friend Sean, though not a trained theologian, has put nevertheless put together a fine article on the subject. It’s all about preparation. “Keep us alert” chimes the words of the Roman Missal in the collect for Monday of the First Week of Advent. Keep us alert, indeed, O Lord, that we might be found vigilant in His praise and watchful in prayer. Wait, you don’t know Sean? Well, what are friends for? Do me two favors, please? Stop and say a few prayers. One for Wilma (my cancer patient mother-in-law), one for me (stressed teacher approaching end of semester). Then go visit (and follow) Sean’s blog. It can’t be that bad. I know he’s laughing reading that line.
Happy prepping, folks.