name='description'/> the Katydid on Love, Home and Health: Let Me Tell Ya A Warm Life Story
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Let Me Tell Ya A Warm Life Story

Let Me Tell Ya A Warm Life Story

You're going to think I'm crazy...but if I can't be a real life investigator with a license, or a lawyer or a licensed naturopathic healer, or a life coach, or any of the other upteen things I'm thinking I would like to do...my OTHER dream job would be...writing obituaries.  Yup...you heard it right here...right from the horses mouth...I'd like to write obituaries...beCAUSE there is so SO much more to every single person than the fact that they were born...they got married, had kids, worked at a job for decades and then died....There was a STORY going on all during that life from beginning to end...and the very last warm and fuzzy thing you could ever do for anyBODY...is to write them a good... life story obituary.

I wrote one for a close friend of ours about 4 years ago...We were sitting in a restaurant somewhere up in Southern Illinois and he was dying of cancer and knew he didn't have long.  And as we were sitting there having lunch...he was telling us he knew his days were almost over and telling us what a great life he had had...and then he started telling stories and he was so passionate about the life he had led...and I kept thinking as we were sitting there...."He's had SUCH an awesome life...and his obit is going to read...He lived..he loved...he worked and then he died...So I just said "Paul...I would never EVER bring this up if we were not sitting here like this listening to your stories...but since you talk of your passing so openly...I just want to say...I'D like to write your obituary AND if you're up to it...you can even read it before you go."  His eyes filled with tears and he said "Katy, I'd be absolutely HONORED if you would write my obituary"

We had been taking weekly day trips with Paul and Jane...because that was what he wanted...a weekly day of fun for as long as he was able...and he always wanted to go on Wednesday...mid-week...a blah day for him he'd say....So it was a Wednesday and I didn't have time that day to get started because of church that night...but I started early next morning before daylight....I wrote it in just a couple hours and took it to them....I didn't wait around for Paul to read it ...I wanted him to be able to read it in private...But Jane called in a while and she said "Paul absolutely LOVED what you wrote and he said to tell you he could never ever thank you enough...and he said to tell you you made him sound a whole lot better...than he really was"  :-)  She said after he read it he laid down the paper and said "This is absolutely beautiful"..and he broke down...

So it was only a very few weeks and Jane called one morning and said Paul was grave and would we come over and be there with her for a while because she couldn't wake him up and hospice was on the way....I knew as soon as we got there he had only minutes to hours...because I could tell by his breathing and his feet (another story)...so by noon...Paul was gone.....
Jane took his obit to the funeral home....but when it came out in the paper it was a jibberish MESS...it was nothing like what we had turned in....SO I WAS LIVID...and I got in our car and headed to the funeral home and asked to speak to the director and asked WHAT in the WORLD had HAPPENED to that OBIT?   He said, "Well..."I" rewrote it...I thought it was just general information of what had happened in his life...and I just changed it up a bit"  I said "A BIT......AAAAAAA BIT??????"   It was a story that flowed as smoothly and warm and fuzzy as any Disney movie you've ever SEEN...AND YOU REWROTE IT INTO WHAT SOUNDS LIKE SOMETHING WRITTEN BY NED IN THE FIRST GRADE????????"   OH my GOODNESS....SO I guess I DO remember the last time I was really mad....THAT was IT!!!   And I hate it I got so SO mad...but goodness...Paul and Jane meant the world to us...and that just absolutely burned me UP.....

 Our friend JD..who just passed away this week.. desperately needed a story obit...OH my GOODNESS...one of my very VERY favorite people...in the whole wide world...He just made you feel good...just seeing the smile on his face and those rosey cheeks...but nobody asked and I didn't feel it was appropriate to offer since I really didn't know the rest of the family...

But I'd just love love LOVE to write people's obits...because a story obit...tells so much more about a person than they lived and loved and worked and died....By the time you read a STORY obit..you feel you even KNEW that person...or WISH you had known them....EVERYBODY needs a story obit....
I found the one below...on a local TV stations website yesterday and I want to share it here....It's heartwarming and funny....now THIS is an OBITUARY!!!  :-)  

Peace and love and I'll talk to you tomorrow...Lord willin' and the creek don't rise....and now for the obit...and here we go......

Obituary for Harry Stamps
Harry Weathersby Stamps, ladies’ man, foodie, natty dresser, and accomplished traveler, died on Saturday, March 9, 2013.
Harry was locally sourcing his food years before chefs in California starting using cilantro and arugula (both of which he hated). For his signature bacon and tomato sandwich, he procured 100% all white Bunny Bread from Georgia, Blue Plate mayonnaise from New Orleans, Sauer’s black pepper from Virginia, home grown tomatoes from outside Oxford, and Tennessee’s Benton bacon from his bacon-of-the-month subscription. As a point of pride, he purported to remember every meal he had eaten in his 80 years of life.
The women in his life were numerous. He particularly fancied smart women. He loved his mom Wilma Hartzog (deceased), who with the help of her sisters and cousins in New Hebron reared Harry after his father Walter’s death when Harry was 12. He worshipped his older sister Lynn Stamps Garner (deceased), a character in her own right, and her daughter Lynda Lightsey of Hattiesburg. He married his main squeeze Ann Moore, a home economics teacher, almost 50 years ago, with whom they had two girls Amanda Lewis of Dallas, and Alison of Starkville. He taught them to fish, to select a quality hammer, to love nature, and to just be thankful. He took great pride in stocking their tool boxes. One of his regrets was not seeing his girl, Hillary Clinton, elected President.
He had a life-long love affair with deviled eggs, Lane cakes, boiled peanuts, Vienna [Vi-e-na] sausages on saltines, his homemade canned fig preserves, pork chops, turnip greens, and buttermilk served in martini glasses garnished with cornbread.
He excelled at growing camellias, rebuilding houses after hurricanes, rocking, eradicating mole crickets from his front yard, composting pine needles, living within his means, outsmarting squirrels, never losing a game of competitive sickness, and reading any history book he could get his hands on. He loved to use his oversized “old man” remote control, which thankfully survived Hurricane Katrina, to flip between watching The Barefoot Contessa and anything on The History Channel. He took extreme pride in his two grandchildren Harper Lewis (8) and William Stamps Lewis (6) of Dallas for whom he would crow like a rooster on their phone calls. As a former government and sociology professor for Gulf Coast Community College, Harry was thoroughly interested in politics and religion and enjoyed watching politicians act like preachers and preachers act like politicians. He was fond of saying a phrase he coined “I am not running for political office or trying to get married” when he was “speaking the truth.” He also took pride in his service during the Korean conflict, serving the rank of corporal--just like Napolean, as he would say.
Harry took fashion cues from no one. His signature every day look was all his: a plain pocketed T-shirt designed by the fashion house Fruit of the Loom, his black-label elastic waist shorts worn above the navel and sold exclusively at the Sam’s on Highway 49, and a pair of old school Wallabees (who can even remember where he got those?) that were always paired with a grass-stained MSU baseball cap.
Harry traveled extensively. He only stayed in the finest quality AAA-rated campgrounds, his favorite being Indian Creek outside Cherokee, North Carolina. He always spent the extra money to upgrade to a creek view for his tent. Many years later he purchased a used pop-up camper for his family to travel in style, which spoiled his daughters for life.
He despised phonies, his 1969 Volvo (which he also loved), know-it-all Yankees, Southerners who used the words “veranda” and “porte cochere” to put on airs, eating grape leaves, Law and Order (all franchises), cats, and Martha Stewart. In reverse order. He particularly hated Day Light Saving Time, which he referred to as The Devil’s Time. It is not lost on his family that he died the very day that he would have had to spring his clock forward. This can only be viewed as his final protest.
Because of his irrational fear that his family would throw him a golf-themed funeral despite his hatred for the sport, his family will hold a private, family only service free of any type of “theme.” Visitation will be held at Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home, 15th Street, Gulfport on Monday, March 11, 2013 from 6-8 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College (Jeff Davis Campus) for their library. Harry retired as Dean there and was very proud of his friends and the faculty. He taught thousands and thousands of Mississippians during his life. The family would also like to thank the Gulfport Railroad Center dialysis staff who took great care of him and his caretaker Jameka Stribling.
Finally, the family asks that in honor of Harry that you write your Congressman and ask for the repeal of Day Light Saving Time. Harry wanted everyone to get back on the Lord’s Time.





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