Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Watch Out

Almost a year ago, I officiated a funeral where the funeral home in charge of arrangements drove nearly four hours from Kansas City to Little River. The funeral was for a man whose surviving wife was 100 year old.

At the graveside, I asked the funeral director, "What time is it?" He said, "You don't have a watch?" I told him, "No."

Several years ago, my Bugs Bunny watch quit working. Because I never found a fashionably suitable replacement (how can Rolex replace Bugs?), I've haven't worn a watch since. Incidentally, a friend told me that younger kids aren't wearing watches. When they need to tell time, they look at their cell phone.

For some reason, the funeral director took off his own watch and said, "Here, take mine." Stunned, I tried to decline, but the director insisted.

Afterwards, back at church, I put the watch in my desk drawer. The watch was nice, but not a Rolex, and not a Bugs either.

It's a year later and the phone rings. The (now) 101 year old surviving widow has passed away. The same funeral home would drive again to Little River for a funeral service.

"The watch!" I thought. "I can put it on my wrist and really impress that funeral director."

Years ago, I did care taking for an elderly lady in a well to do part of Dallas. She told me that whenever she gets a gift she doesn't really like, she puts it away. But whenever she knows the giver of the gift is coming to her house, she gets the gift out of her closet, and puts it back on display.

It's so Seinfeld: The gift giver sees the gift they gave and proudly assumes their gift is treasured. Meanwhile, the recipient is glad to not look at that trash year round.

So I shuffle through my desk drawer and find the watch. But it isn't working.

I call my wife and tell her the story. She says, "Put it on anyway. The funeral director will be glad to know you still have it."

"But what if he asks me for the time?"

"He won't," replied my wife.

"But what if he does," I insisted. "Why would I wear a watch that doesn't tell time?"

Oddly enough, on service day, when I fetched the watch, it was working again.

And the funeral director who originally gave me his watch didn't show up.

But I still got to say, "You tell ___ that I still have his watch."

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