Sunday morning, on a sunny, 20-degree day on Long Island, my family said goodbye to our beloved matriarch one last time.
It was my Grandmother’s unveiling, which is a Jewish tradition wherein, within the first year after someone’s death, the family gathers together to unveil her headstone, and pay final respects.
I’ve been to several unveilings, and as a non-religious person it’s always struck me as an odd little ceremony. You are of course still sad about the loss of a loved one, but most of the emotion from the funeral has gone, everyone has moved on, and it sometimes feels like an afterthought.
This unveiling was different, though. My grandmother, as I’ve written here several times before, was an incredible woman, the best person I’ve ever met. I still think about her often, and miss her terribly.
Something so mundane as scrolling through the contacts in my cell phone and reaching the “G’s” and not seeing her name in there can make me feel sad. We used to talk all the time before Alzheimer’s robbed us of the person she once was, and our phone calls were always a highlight.
But that’s been over for a long time now, and Sunday seemed like the final moments we’d have with her. She was on a headstone next to my grandfather, and I’m glad they’re together again. We said a few prayers, hugged and kissed each other, and placed small stones on both their monuments.
It wasn’t nearly as emotional as the funeral was, but it was still a very final feeling, and it was nice to have everyone together to celebrate her one last time.
Then, we all went and had a good meal, laughing and joking and talking about Thanksgiving.
Grandma would’ve been so happy to see us all there.
**When I was a kid, one of the strangest characters I’d ever seen in sports was Barry Bremen. Bremen was a Detroit sporting goods salesmen who, thanks to some creative ingenuity and incredibly lax security, came to be known as “The Great Imposter.” He snuck onto the field at an MLB All-Star Game, shot some warm-up hoops on an NBA court, became a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, and an NFL referee.
ESPN’s “30 for 30 shorts” documentary series did a great little nine-minute video on Bremen’s life.
He was just such a bizarre character, who none of the athletes really minded (well, Tommy Lasorda, around the 6-minute mark of the video, kinda got mad).
You watch this video and realize that none of Bremen’s antics could’ve happened today, with the security in today’s stadium.
I always sort of envied Bremen; “all he ever did was bring a smile to your face,” one of his friends says in the video.
That’s a pretty good epitaph to have, if you ask me.
**Finally today, this one made me laugh out loud. The Nashville Predators hockey team have a glut of American-born players doing well this season, so they decided to make a promo video highlighting their stars, juxtaposed with photos of great American landmarks.
To the soundtrack of Hulk Hogan’s old wrestling entrance music, “I am A Real American.” Old-school wrestling fans, enjoy.
And if you don’t have this song in your head the rest of the day, I haven’t done my job here. (Can’t you just hear Gorilla Monsoon hollering “And here comes teh Hulkster!”)