Writer’s Corner: Why I did not make it to the funeral

Scott Hooper

Writer’s Corner: Why I did not make it to the funeral
May 30
00:20 2019

By Scott Hooper

I have a type of mental block when it comes to funerals. When I am told the details of the upcoming wake, I hear: “Funeral  … blah, blah blah, two o’clock, blah … location.” I make a mental note and file it away until I need to retrieve it. 

When I am going somewhere for the first time, I always leave 20 minutes early for what I call “getting lost time.” In 40 years of driving, I have always needed the “getting lost time” because places are never where they are supposed to be and things never look like I picture them in my head. Plus, I often get left and right confused.

So what I remembered from the message I received was “Something, something … two o’clock … something … location.” 

As it turns out, those little words in between the “somethings” was information I needed to know. Thinking I have a funeral to attend at two o’clock, at twenty minutes to eleven, at a stoplight, I pause to reread the message to make sure I have the address. That’s when I note that the funeral is not at two o’clock, but at eleven. Uh oh, I rush home, don’t have time to shower, splash on cologne, and throw on a coat and tie.

As I start my car, I quickly refer to those mental notes on how to get to the funeral home. To be on the safe side, I check the car’s GPS, which I can’t get to work. No problem, I go to my phone’s GPS and it brings up a map. This is good. I drive and drive and finally reach a point where I think I may need to turn around, but then again, maybe I don’t. So I drive some more. I get to the road I think I am supposed to be on and glance down at my phone which says “Turn right,” but my mind is saying “Turn left.” Usually I have better luck with the phone, but this time I make the left and drive … and drive.

Where is this funeral home that is supposed to be ten minutes from my house? I am now 19 miles away. That’s when the light on the dash indicating low fuel goes on. I go back to the main road and this time make the right turn. 

I find a gas station, get gas and ask about the location of the funeral home. The guy says, “It’s up the road a ways.” I glance up the road and see a large building with cars lined up out front. I figure I am now too late for the funeral, but in time for the procession to the graveyard. This is great because I can at least show up at the cemetery and maybe no one will notice that I missed the funeral.

I pull in behind the last car and wait a few minutes, but nothing happens. To be on the safe side, I decide to check with the car in front of me to make sure I am in line for the right procession. I get out of my car, walk up to the car in front of me and ask the lady, “What is this line for?”  She replies, “I’m picking my daughter up from school.” She looks at me rather suspiciously and starts to quickly roll up her car window. I ask, “Do you know where the funeral home is?”

“Yeah, it’s up the road a ways.”

I drive up the road “a ways,” but finally give up. I am now over an hour late.

As I drive along, I glance over to my left and sure enough, there is the funeral home. No one is there; the parking lot is empty.

I pull off the road and set my GPS to “home” and drive the five minutes back to my house.

And that’s why I always leave 20 minutes early to allow for “getting lost time.”

Scott Hooper is a Winston-Salem artist, photographer and poet/writer. He is a member of Associated Artists of Winston-Salem. You can view his art at

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