My First Funeral
My Father's hand was ice
and his stance militarily rigid.
Somehow that seemed appropriate.
A tear clung to an eye
but there was nothing there
to hold on to and it fell.
Somehow lapses in character
like this became acceptable.
The priest wore an ancient expression
and held a trilby.
That did not seem so right.
Looking round I kept coming on the same face
like a cliché‚ or an awkward question.
27 January 1980
This is a complete fabrication. I only remember that there was a first funeral and I would’ve been about nine (so circa 1968). I remember who it was and he wasn’t a Catholic so there was no priest. My dad, however, did wear trilbies all his life. I still have one which sits atop a bookcase in my office. I wore it the day I returned home following his own funeral even though it’s a little small for me but I’ve never tried it on since nor bought one of my own. I’ve always loved the shape of a trilby but regarded it as an old man’s hat and I kept waiting on getting old enough to be able to carry one off. Not quite there yet I’m afraid.
My wife was always trying to get me to buy new hats. I say “was” because she’s pretty much admitted defeat. When we visited Sacramento Carrie tried to talk me into buying a Stetson and when we were in Oban she encouraged me to buy a waxed stockman’s riding coat with appropriate headwear and when we went to Lomond Shores she was at me to buy what she describes as a “Terry Pratchett hat” (so that would be a wide-brimmed fedora) which I apparently swithered over for some time (I have no memory of the event) before coming away with a rather nondescript and safe flat cap. Oh, and there was also the time down Dowanside Lane in the west end of Glasgow in Starry Starry Night, a vintage clothing store, where we found two bowlers but neither was my size. Even so I seriously considered buying one or both just to hang on my hat stand. Well, I would’ve had to buy a hat stand too,