Paying Respects

“He was so mean to Darcy,” Opal confided.  “She would clean the house so her friends could come over, vacuum, make it all nice – then while she was at school, he’d mess it up, break the winders so there’d be glass on the floor …” Her voice drifted off and she stared into the memory for a moment, then said, “But, I always figgered it was better to have a bad daddy than no daddy at all.”

When he died, their youngest daughter didn’t come home for the funeral.  She said her daddy had died a long time before and she didn’t know who that man was.  All of the other children were there, along with their children and several members of the community – mostly church acquaintances and Opal’s closest friends, not so many of his.  There was a viewing right before the service; after visitors paid their respects, they were led into the chapel so the family could privately file by the casket and bid the dearly departed farewell.

Opal looked, really looked, into her dead husband’s face and said with finality, “Goodbye, Hubert.”  Only a few people understood that she was actually telling him, “This is the last time I’ll ever see your sorry self, because you’re going to Hell and I’m not.”

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