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aunt dorothy's funeral

I didn’t want to look in the coffin, but from where we sat in the back pew I could see the poof of her thin, curly gray hair peeking over the edge of the casket. Her hairdresser had come and done it for her one last time. I can hardly imagine the stories that hairdresser has heard from Aunt Dorothy over the years, many of them repeats, the same ones I’d hear every December. Stories that were making the room full of friends and family laugh just in the reminiscing of them. Stories like the time one of her fourteen siblings was born on her twelfth birthday, and with her hands full of toddlers she reportedly cried, “I don’t want a baby brother for my birthday! Send him back!” That baby brother was sitting just a few rows ahead of me now, elderly and growing more feeble every day, but still full of the same old jokes and smiling whenever we’d laugh and say, “Wow, good one, Grandpa.” He wasn’t smiling today though; he limped out of the room as soon as the service was over. Aunt Mona asked …

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