Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thousands of Funeral Directors Again

Time for another year at the National Funeral Directors' Convention. This time it was in New Orleans and it is a wonder I survived and came back home again. I'm pretty sure if feather dude here had offered me and mine jobs as feather tamers or tambourine tuners, I would have not returned to the lovely Commonwealth of my birth. Thanks to this convention I could also be employed as a keg taster of NOLA craft brews, a gumbo ad campaign chairwoman, and a professional wanderer of side streets in the Garden District.

This was the best convention for incorporating local funeral customs as a jazz funeral was conducted in honor of those funeral directors and their loved ones who have died in the past year. Great music, a good homily, and everything ran smoothly as one would expect from the pros represented. Then there were the elements of the jazz funeral: from the dirge to the costumes, the horses, the band, the waving of the white hankies, the move from sorrow to jubilation, and the dancing in the street. I was very pleased that Emporia, Virginia's divine Miss Edna whom I eulogized this past summer was one of the honorees. I danced and waved a hankie in her honor.
In addition to the jazz funeral, there were classes on everything from embalming to marketing, from green cemeteries to business management. I did not include pictures of those, because the fantastic dancers from the funeral are better looking and more interesting to readers of this blog.
My son is old enough to read this blog now so I will point out that the horses did unload a pile of manure inside the convention center but funeral directors are good detail people so precautions had been taken due to the likeliness of such an event. (In other words, Little Man: there was a special carpet and a guy with a shovel who took care of the problem.)
Per request of one of the most faithful followers of Auspicious Jots, I am including some very nice urns here. Each one is handmade. The artist is a crafty and inventive woman who determined that we all aren't wooden box and ginger jar people. If my faithful reader posts a comment, I can provide the link to this gal's website to help you procure one. Prices ranged from $600-$1,000. Beauty ain't cheap but I like the symbolism of that bird one.
You know I won't lie to you. Not every minute of the convention was spent in classes, going to funerals, in cemeteries, or checking out the latest in funeral stuff. I did a lot of that. But much of a convention entails networking. In the funeral business that seems to involve a bar and good food, no matter where the convention is. With this one being in NOLA, there were just a LOT more choices for the food and beverages. Let's just say that we made the most of what the city had to offer and utilized its fine public transportation system on a daily basis.
As one of my new funeral friends likes to query, "Do you undertake what I'm saying?"
I will be posting a couple of the quirkier finds from the exhibit hall in a separate post. You know you can't help but check it out.

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