He's the last guy to let you down.

I guy I worked for, call him "Kelly," put himself through school by working as an undertaker in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Being in a vocation that allows one to meet everyone eventually, he had a number of interesting tales of various folks he had the enjoyment of dealing with.

According to Kelly, his first night at the funeral home set the tone for the years that followed. Part of his deal with the owner was that Kelly would live at the home. This had the advantage that someone would be on hand if a call came in during the night (a very common occurrence) and there would be someone to keep an eye on things, funeral homes being prime targets for burglaries (to some folks, all that class and glitz screams, "Steal me!"). After everyone else went home, Kelly made himself dinner and relaxed in front of the TV with a Washington Senators game (which puts it before 1972). After the game, he retired to the master bedroom on the second floor. Along about oh-dark-thirty a sound awakens him. He listens in the darkness and hears it again--a quiet little thump. He eases out of bed picking up the flashlight from the bedside stand and his softball bat (no, he didn't normally go around armed, he just played on a local church team).

At the head of the stairs, he hears the thump once more, this time from the darkness below. He oozes down the stairs staying as close to the side as he can to avoid causing the steps to creak. At he bottom, he stands listening. A thump comes from the rear of the funeral home. A backdoor leads into the kitchen. Somebody trying to quietly break-in?

As he reaches the door of the kitchen, there are a series of thumps apparently from the stairs leading down into the basement where the cold storage and preparation rooms for the dearly departed are located. He notes that the backdoor is still locked and turns to the open basement door. Could one of the folks downstairs be unhappy with the arrangements made so far and be coming up to complain to the management?

He raises the bat and flicks on the flashlight. The ginger cat at the bottom of the stairs blinks up at him and gives the tennis ball another whack, bouncing it off the bottom step. Kelly stuck the flashlight in his robe's pocket, flipped on the light switch, set down the bat, and went down and picked up the cat. After returning to the the master bedroom with flashlight, bat, and cat, he slept soundly until his alarm clock went off.

3 April 2010: Feast of St. Vulpian of Tyre. Edward the Confessor crowned 1043, Federal forces capture Richmond 1865, Lenin arrives at Finland Station in Petrograd 1917, Japanese begin assault on Bataan 1942.

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