The passing of old Tom

The passing of old Tom The passing of old Tom

Status: Finished

Genre: Humor

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Status: Finished

Genre: Humor

Content

Submitted: February 02, 2016

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Content

Submitted: February 02, 2016

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As I had just taken over the run down village shop and post office in the Cornish fishing village and being a new-be there. I desperately wanted to fit in with the village folk and their way of life so I decided it would be a good idea to go to the funeral of old Tom. He was a nice old boy who I had meet a few time when he called at the post office to collect his pension, he was a bit of a character around the village, one of the last and great eccentric you might say.

As always it seems at these events the weather was not good with that sort of drizzling mizzle rain that gets everything and everybody soaked through to the skin, not that it would have bothered old Tom, now finally being laid to rest in the all Saint cemetery where he was often found mowing between the headstone, for the price of a few pints of cider down at the Dog and Duck, The pub being old Toms local and had on many occasions witnessed him rolling about flagstone floors in one of his many barroom brawls, usual with some high rate husband who hadn’t taken kindly to his advances toward his wife.

Tom was a bit like that, “get it where you can boy,” he’d say in his deep gravelly voice and then roaring with laughter would add, “and don't spare the horses.” I never really understood the bit about the horses, but it seemed to amuse him.

He was a big man in every respect ruggedly handsome and although a Cornishman through and though he had bucked the trend of the small stocky Cornishman by standing well over 6’5” in his stocking feet and weighing in at over 20 stone, apparently he was an ex rugby player or boxer or something like that in his younger days, but even in his latter years he still had that twinkle in his eyes for the ladies, and he did in return receive many secret admiring glances from them as they sipped their small sherries in the company of their husbands in the Dog and Duck.

It was said that some of the younger village girls would often leave the comfort of their beds and move stealthily through the shadowy darkness of the village to Tom’s cottage and present him with a freshly baked pie. Tom was of course not a baker and was very grateful for any assistance in the backing department he could get, although it had been said he had put a few buns of his own in the oven, and in truth some of the village kids did look striking similar.

The vicar was from the old school a kind of jobs-worth vicar you might say, you know the type, all cassocks and no trousers? He finally arriving after we had stood there for best part of 5 minute, getting well peeved and well soaked. He was a fat old man holding a large black umbrella and he didn’t appear to be too steady on his legs, he was sort of wobbling towards the grave either that or he had been at the source. I must say I wasn't sure if he had full control of his feet, as they seemed to go in opposite directions with each jelly like step.

As we watched the coffin being lowered slowly into the freshly dug grave I sort of thought to myself it looked a bit flimsy to hold such a big chap but then just as quickly dismissed the thought from my mind, you know how you do sometimes?

You could see the vicar wanted to get the service over as quickly as possible, he was rushing through the ceremony in double quick time, and had just got to the part where he said  “we therefore commit his body to the ground; earth to earth,” and was about to say "ashes to ashes" when the sides of the grave suddenly started to give way. The vicar who had passed his brolly to one of his assistant was now clutching at his prayer book and holding it aloft as he too followed the crumbling earth into the grave landing on top of old Toms box.

As I said before the vicar seemingly having no control over his feet, but he didn't seem have any control over his cassock either for as he fell into the grave it rose up well above his waist, and an old lady standing by the graveside, who thought she had forgotten what a big cock looked like suddenly remember. The sight of seeing the vicar defrocked or in his case up frocked sent the old girl into a kind of swoon, and she too fell into the grave on top of the vicar. Well, this was the last thing the vicar wanted an old lady on top of him especially in a grave, but beggars can't be choosers.

The impact on Toms box was more than it could take and the lid suddenly gave way under the pressure revelling old Tom, who still had a few surprises for us, as no one knew or expected but he had chosen to be buried in the nude. So there he lay completely starkers with just a small bouquet of poses someone had thrown into the grave to cover his modesty.

We were all very shocked I can tell you at what we had witnessed. However, I expect it wouldn't surprise you to learn there were also the sounds of muffled laughter coming from around the graveside. The embalmer who was a good friend of Toms turned to me and said. “Tom must have seen the funny side of all this,” oh why? I asked. “Well!” He said, “I don't remember giving the old bugger a smile.”

 


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