It was now eighteen years ago that Smitty’s Rose died unexpectedly from a massive stroke. She died right in front of Smitty’s eyes as the two were sitting at the kitchen table during breakfast one winter’s morning. It seemed to happen in slow motion as Smitty heard her chair’s grating screech, and watched as she fell backward and crashed to the floor. The old man panicked and scrambled to the ground desperately trying to shake Rose awake.
He kneeled before his wife’s body weeping, “Rosie, no …oh ma’ sweet girl…no, Rose…don’ go leavin’ me…please don’ go…I can’t live without ya…”
Rose’s death was a terrible shock and tragedy for the old man.
When Smitty buried Rose, it was a very small funeral. Rose’s burial fell on a pitiless winter’s day. The clouds above the cemetery attended the interment garbed in an inappropriate and unforgiving gray. These clouds boiled and they threatened.
They coveted the sunlight and they were greedy with what light they allowed the cemetery to have. These clouds withheld so much light that black disfigurement began to creep into the leaden gray cloudbank. The malignancy was ruinous to the mood of the ceremony.
The nighttime had laid down a sheet of ice that covered the funeral grounds. The ice crunched and broke apart in jagged white lines underneath the pallbearers’ feet, as they tried not to slip.
The cold blue wind cut at the cheeks of those standing around the open grave. The aching, short-tempered clouds were merciless, and half way through the burial ceremony, they arbitrarily poured down chilling rain on the mourners. No one expected rain, a light snow perhaps, even sleet, but never rain in that biting cold. And few had umbrellas.
The people shivered as heavy, ice-cold raindrops plopped, pattered, and dropped off their hats. It rained heavily and drenched their clothing. It chilled everyone to the bone. When the mourners cried, their breath was visible in the air, and as heat escaped from their shivering bodies steamed rose off the soaked clothing.
It was a terrible funeral for Smitty to recollect.