“Oh, Lord, we’ve lost Joyce.”
That was all Momma could say after the airline lost the ashes of her aunt at O’Hare Airport in Chicago.
I’m getting ahead of myself, so I’ll back up.
Monday morning, I logged a marathon three-way call with Momma and my sister, Deana. It was Memorial Day, and this was one of the few holidays I was unable to spend with my family. We made up for it on the phone discussing Sexton family happenings.
During the course of the call, the three of us got tickled over Momma’s trip to Oregon to retrieve the ashes of her aunt.
You see, to get to Grants Pass, Ore., from Memphis International Airport, one has to fly to Chicago, then to Seattle, then to Eugene. Last, a little crop duster plane travels from Eugene to Grants Pass. Needless to say, Momma and my Aunt Pat were near delireus when they finally arrived in Chicago on the return trip.
After shuttling across the terminal to meet their connection, they discovered the plane had been long gone – with the Aunt Joyce’s ashes on board.
A hysterical Momma called home with the news expecting some support, advice and even sympathy. Instead, Daddy asked the same question most people would ask.
“You checked Joyce?”
Momma let loose on a tirade about the airline charging them for an additional seat to carry the ashes and about this happening all the time – one family lost their father whose body was shipped in the casket. (Casket, hanging bag. Hanging bag, casket. I can see how that could happen.)
Still, Daddy was completely perplexed at the reasoning – “You checked Joyce?”
It took several weeks before urn was finally found. Happily, it was and a proper burial was given.
It is a trait in our family to get tickled at the most inappropriate times. More than once, Momma and I have gotten tickled in the middle of the Sunday sermon or special music, and we made enough of a spectacle that we received Daddy’s signature raised eyebrow glare.
Momma said as soon as she and Aunt Pat discovered they had lost Aunt Joyce’s ashes, they broke into hysterical laughing. I am sure it was at that point they thought, “What part of this did we think was a good idea.”