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Celoron, NY, United States
And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt. ~Sylvia Plath



No answer. Travis snapped his phone closed and stuck it back in his pocket. Jarvis Shubert watched him with patient reverence; it was clear this guy was a pro. A regular death expert. He knew just when to speak, what to say, and when he should maintain respectful silence. Travis tried to picture him drinking a beer or sitting on the toilet, and found that he couldn't. Did he comb his eyebrows? Because they looked too well-groomed to be real. Gordy sat thumbing through the tasteful casket brochure.
"Do you think she'd like this here with the pink linin'? I think that's pretty." He traced his fingers over the picture. "Of course, it's pricey. Sixty-five hunnerd bucks, but her policy'd cover it. I want her to have a really nice one."
"The 'Forever Darling'," Jarvis pitched. "It's a honey maple finish on hardwood; one of our most frequently chosen models." He nodded to Travis. "Mr. Richards, do you agree with Mr. Humphrey's selection?"
Travis shrugged, "That's fine, whatever Gordy wants.What's left to do?"
Jarvis straightened his crimson pocket square before answering. "As we were discussing earlier, Mr. Richards, we will need for you to bring in the clothing that Mrs. Richards will wear." He took in Gordy's Nascar cap and Waylon Jennings t-shirt. "Of course, if she didn't have something suitable, we have some lovely dresses for sale."
Travis, feeling self-conscious in his own shirt, one that commemorated his patronage of Hooter's, shot the funeral director an angry look. "My mother had plenty of nice clothes, Mr. Shubert. Gordy and I aren't the best judges of coffin gear, but I have a friend who can help us out. I just can't get ahold of her right now. When do you need to have the stuff back here?"
"Whenever it's convenient for you, Sir, this afternoon or tomorrow morning. Now if I can ask you to choose the cover for the service program and the design for the prayer cards, we should be finished for now. The options are in this book. I'll leave you gentlemen alone so as not to rush you, and I'll return in fifteen minutes or so."
Travis was exhausted and couldn't give two shits about stationery. He watched Gordy looking carefully through the samples and felt ashamed. He knew it was important to give Yvonne a proper send-off, and he wanted to; he just wasn't big on the details. "What are you thinkin', Gordy? Have you picked something out?"
"I don't know, do you like this dove here?" he pointed. "I think that'd be nice for the cards, n' this pi'ture of the hands in prayer fer the program."
Travis patted Gordy's back. "I think both of those will look really nice." He stood and went to the display of items at the side of the room. "What about these candles with the 23rd Psalm on 'em? Should we get a few to put around the room for the service?"
"Well, I was thinkin'," Gordy joined him. "He said they could customize 'em, and I'd kinda like to have the words to 'Abide With Me' put on 'em. That 'as her favorite hymn."
Travis hadn't known that. What kind of son didn't know his mother's favorite hymn? Of course, he'd heard Yvonne listen to much different music as a kid, but guessed he couldn't put Lynn Anderson on the funeral candles. ' I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden...' His eyes stung, remembering the times  she'd danced him around the room until they were laughing and out of breath.
"Sounds good, Gordy. Do you know the words?"
"I have the sheet music. She played it on my Casio," Gordy's voice trailed off, and he rubbed his eyes.
"I know this is tough for you," Travis told him. "I hope you know I appreciate all you did for her. She loved you, Gordy."
"Not half as much as I loved her. I don't know what I'll do without 'er. I still can't believe she's gone."
"That makes two of us," Travis shook his head. "This is unreal."
Jarvis stood quietly in the doorway, his hands clasped low in front of him. "I'm sorry to intrude. Have you made your selections?"
They wrapped up the funeral plans and stepped out into the bright afternoon. Travis dropped Gordy off at home. "Do you need help getting anything ready?"
"Nope, I'll be fine. Jimmy took my suit to the cleaner's." He rubbed his beer belly. "I hope I can get into it. I can take care of the other stuff if you can get 'er clothes over there. Wait- lemme run in 'n get that music. You can take that, too."
Travis set off with the dog-eared pages. He'd gotten another idea for something he wanted to include in the service. As he headed for Von's to get started, he dialed his cell.
"Hell-o, Darlin'," he said, smiling for the first time that day. "What time do you get off? We've got a shin-dig to put together."
Shelly pulled the chain on her desk lamp and grabbed her purse. "I'll be there in ten minutes."

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