Dearly beloved and others, it is with heavy hearts we gather today to mourn my passing. Mine, perhaps, is heaviest of all. I know the current fashion is to celebrate the life of the departed, but in life I was not fashionable and on milestone occasions, my familiars will tell you, I favored sad songs and theatrical postures. Mourning is ancient, dramatic and healthy, and the sooner we get started the better. We have each of us suffered a devastating loss, each a different loss, for I was father, husband, brother, son (this is not saying much), cousin, grandson, nephew (we could go on, I guess), a felon, an adulterer, an unnamed co-conspirator, the boss from hell and the author of a will that will infuriate everyone it names—it’s tiresome, really. A complete list would take all night and require depositions. What made the dead man indispensable were not the roles he played, I played, but the intensity—call it passion if you will, no—the veiled ruthlessness he brought to personal encounters, whether with family or creditors or other men’s wives, including every female member of the choir that will sing here tonight. I loved you all, I can tell you now, and not just for your voices. But oh, how those glorious voices complemented mine. Between man and woman an urgent something comes to be which must be fed and petted or it will flee and leave behind oblivion. For me and each of you that thing sang harmony. Whether I was more to you or less than you now know, to me you were indispensably soprano, second soprano, alto, contralto. I may not long be mourned, but today my voice, unheard, by arrangement, will now be briefly missed. On four. One, two . . .

Copyright © December 26, 2006 David Hodges

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