My Big Fat Redneck Funeral

Even though Ive told this story many times, I always get asked to tell it again. So without further ado . . .

Many many years ago when I was married to the starter husband one of his oldest friend’s brother passed away. We of course attended the funeral, and while at this point in my life I had been to a funeral or two and growing up in the South meant I’d been around rednecks my whole life, nothing and I do mean NOTHING quite prepared me for what I would see that day…and Ive seen some shit!

As we made our way into the funeral home room where the funeral was to take we were met with Elvis music. Not the many hymns he had recorded but rather “Jailhouse Rock.”

That should have been my first clue.

Then I see the wife (who the deceased had been separated from for some time) by the casket practically throwing herself into it and whaling like Ive never heard. All the while she’s doing this the man that she’d been living with since the separation was sitting in the front (family member’s) row checking his watch like he just couldn’t wait to get out of there.

The deceased was wearing pretty much the usual redneck/good ole boy attired – Budweiser ball cap, Harley t-shirt and blue jeans. In the casket and around the back edges were unopened beer bottles, packs of Camels .. you know, the usual stuff a good ole boy would need to carry him into the afterlife.

Then IT happened. . .

The decedent’s mother entered from a side room looking every inch like Dusty Rhodes in lipstick.

She took one look around, zeroed in on the “grieving” widow and took off in a run that would shame any Kentucky Derby winner. She pounced on the widow knocking her back in the chair leaving her sprawled on her back, feet in the air and no underwear. NOT a sight anyone wants to see!

Fists were flying, hair was being pulled, words were being exchanged .. and none of them were of condolences.

Being the now redneck brawl that is was, attendees that were sitting in their chairs were on their feet. Some were screaming encouragement, some were joining in on the free for all.

The poor little funeral director man was wringing his hands, muttering and trying in vain to stop the free for all. I just knew at any minute he was gonna get sucked under all of it and get the stuffing ripped out of him for his troubles.

All the while this was happening Mom and the widow were rolling around, punching air, each other and sometimes the casket. The casket was rocking on its base threatening to topple the dead out and roll him down the aisle like the meatball on top of spaghetti. And the flowers that had been so artfully arranged around the casket were now laying in tattered heaps all over the floor.

This is when it happened – I burst into uncontrollable laughter. I just couldn’t help it; watching it all play out in front of me got the better of me.

The starter husband proceeded to try to tell me how it wasn’t appropriate to laugh at at a funeral (as if what we were seeing was appropriate?)

As I left the room to retreat to our car Elvis was singing  “You Ain’t Nothing But A Hound Dog.”

I didn’t even dare attend the graveside services or the home gathering after it all.

I’m not going to lie though – sometimes I wonder if the second and third match of the day would have been better or worse than the first.

. . .  God, how I miss the South . . .

Rescued Is My Favorite Breed #AdoptDontShop #PawsUp4RescuePets

Holly Briley

Statistics show that approximately 7 million animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Approximately 2.7 million of them are euthanized.

That is 2.7 million animals who did not ask to be born, did nothing more than become unwanted, unusable,  or in some cases abused and neglected at the hands of their humans. Animals that if given the chance could be wonderful additions to the right family.

While I have always believed in adopting a pet versus shopping for a pet,and statistics aside, there is a more personal reason why I am so passionate about this issue.

A few years ago I was diagnosed with some pretty serious health issues which seemingly overnight robbed me of much of my life as I knew it. I went from being an active participant in many things, including the work which I loved to someone who at times couldn’t get out of bed because of pain, or if I did get up, had to return soon because of the pain.

To make matters worse, it was Winter. If you’ve ever experienced Winter “up North” you know the sun is rare and sitting out in it for any period of time isn’t always a possibility. So even on the days I felt good, I was pretty much stuck in the house with nothing but time to think on my hands.

To say I was in a bad place emotionally would be an understatement.

Then it happened. The little miracle I wasn’t expecting.

Sitting in the house with my husband one night during a pretty bad Winter snow storm we got a knock at the door. It was a little girl who at the time lived next door.

In her hands she had a tiny little Chihuahua dog who was shaking and covered in snow. This little dog had been tossed out by her owner .. a breeder who lived up the street from us. She was thrown out because he couldn’t use her for breeding due to her having a Luxating Patella. Since she couldn’t make him money, she was of no use to him.

After verifying all of this, the husband and I took her in. Her coat was dull and brittle, she wasnt house broken, had no idea what a toy was or how to play with one, and she was terrified of a water and food bowl.

The next several weeks were spent teaching her, hand feeding and watering her until little by little she got accustomed to eating from her food dish. She got her first toy and took to playing with it like a champ. She continued to thrive in every way and the luxating patella not withstanding, the vet gave her a clean bill of heath.

While caring for and teaching her, a funny thing happened to me. I stopped obsessing about my own health problems, started feeling hope and looking forward to the future. I still had some problems but they were no longer the first thing I thought of when I woke up or the last thing I thought of before I fell asleep at night.

I had another reason for ‘being’ and to keep on keeping on, and that reason’s name is Coco Mae Briley.

Holly Briley

Since rescuing Coco we have added to our fur family, and often joke that we’re one furbaby short of being a petting zoo.

While I love each and every one of our furbabies, and they are all spoiled rotten, Coco will always hold a very special place in my heart.

When she came to us, she needed saving. In the end though, she saved me more than she will ever know.

City Girls Should Not Go Camping

I was recently reminded of an event that happened not long after we moved to Ohio. I need to preface this by saying that my husband (who was raised in the country) has always calls me a “city girl.”

Not too long after we moved to Ohio we purchased a pop-up camper and decided to go camping.

Up until this time I only had one camping experience, when I went to sleep-away camp as a child. When we arrived there it was announced the “first years” duty was to clean the bathrooms. The bathrooms that were merely outhouses equipped for more than 2 people at a time. I took one look at that, called my dad to come get me.. and I never looked back.

Fast forward to the day the husband and I decided to go camping. Oh, the pop-up camper was nice enough, air conditioner, stove, fridge, pretty much all the amenities of home except for one important thing – no bathroom.

The husband said that was easily solved and we proceeded to pick out a very nice campsite in a state park, that was directly across the little path from the bathrooms. No problem, I thought. . .That’s what I get for thinking.

We had a very nice evening, settled in and went to sleep.

Well .. it happened. I woke up in the middle of the night and had to go to the bathroom. Any woman of a “certain age” whose ever had a child will tell you, when that urge hits, it cannot be ignored.

I was going to wake up my husband to walk with me to the bathroom, but thought – its only across that path and the path is lite.. so off I went.

When I got there the lights inside, got set down, the lights were flickering bright to dim, one light was out which only added to the overall spooky effect.

I immediately thought to myself – this is how every single horror movie starts out – a woman, in the bathroom alone .. in the middle of the night.

Then I heard it. A howling. Then another howling, then another and I swore they were coming closer and closer to me.

That did it!

I cut it off in midstream and took off back to the camper, and by took off, I mean I ran! Pants half pulled up, ass cheeks flapping in the wind and giving any other campers who happened to be awake and looking – a second full moon of the night.

As I lay in the camper the rest of the night listening to every single sound of nature outside and trying desperately not to pee the bed, one thing kept going through my mind.

. . . . . . City girls should not go camping.