Wednesday, February 01, 2017

The Hearse People

I was chewing the fat with the pest control guy one fair spring day last April when something caught his eye.

"What's going on over there?"  He was standing near the southwest corner of the privacy fence, peering at something in the distance.  I figured I knew where this was going.

"Oh, the hearse.  Yeah.  I have no idea, man."

"No, I mean, it's like pimped out.  It's got rims."

I had noticed the hearse a few weeks earlier parked in the carport of the house behind and to the south of ours.  But until now, I hadn't noticed the aftermarket rims.

In my defense, those same neighbors also have half a pickup truck sitting in the yard missing its bed and rear axle, as well as a pop-up camper which seems to house an unknown number of additional tenants.  Also, the previous resident didn't clean the garage gutters for so long there was foot-high vegetation growing in them.  Volunteer marijuana, possibly.  (Did I mention we do not, in fact, live in a gated community?)

Anyhow, in that context the hearse sort of blended in, though I now somewhat understood the allure, yea necessity, of HOA's.

It was the aftermarket rims that had me intrigued.  Who pimps out a hearse?  Was there some new reality show I didn't know about?  "The Emaciated Race?"  "Extreme Makeover: Mortician Edition?"  "Pimp My Final Ride?"  I mean, everyone I know who drives a hearse as their personal vehicle...

I had considered many possibilities for the hearse.  At first, I thought maybe they worked for a funeral home, and when the bed and rear axle had completely fallen off their truck in an extraordinary occurrence, they decided to drive the Caddy home for personal use.   However, the rims seemed to cast doubt on that theory.

Also, I met them one day in mid-December on my way home and the rear interior -- you know, where they keep the.... dearly departed -- was decorated with Christmas lights.  Maybe it was a festive funeral home?

It initially crossed my mind that maybe they were planning something big for Halloween.  Though procuring a hearse more than six months early seemed a bit odd.  (As opposed to driving a hearse home at all?)

There was also the possibility we were indeed living next door to the real-life Addams Family, though I never recalled hearing the names Gomez, Wednesday, or Fester being mentioned when they were outside.

And then, of course, there is the final and most likely scenario:

The hearse people are in the mafia.

The elongated Cadillac providing a perfect cover for transporting anyone who had recently been whacked to go sleep with the fishes.  In other words, the Addams "Family." *wink wink*

Why not just walk over and ask, you may wonder?  Uh, no thank you.  I walk over to offer some fresh garden vegetables and -- badda-bing! -- suddenly it's "Leave the gun, take the cucumbers."

Plus, I've yet to tell you about the weirdest thing of all.  One afternoon as I walked out onto the back patio I heard creepy organ music coming from the direction of the hearse people.  It sounded like the opening riff of Beethoven's 5th, slowed down.  Four notes.  And then it stopped.  It was beyond eerie, and at that point I was for sure never going anywhere near that house.

I immediately walked back inside and never spoke of it.  Thankfully, I hadn't been able to see anything over our fence.  Not that I would squeal, mind you.  I know how things work, I saw nearly all of "The Godfather."

My most recent encounter occurred a week or so ago when I was in the living room and Mrs. Bone informed me, "There's a strange man with a dog in our yard."

I looked out to see a gentlemen I did not recognize.  Since I know the neighbors on either side of us and across the street, we surmised he must be one of the hearse people, or "the family" as I now reverently address them.  He was older, gray-haired, probably not an enforcer.  At least not anymore.

He appeared to be trying to corral the dog.  Poor pup.  I could only imagine the punishment for leaving the yard without permission.  *shudder*  Or perhaps they were trying to pick up a scent of where something, or someone, had been buried.  *gulp*

I ducked out of view before he could spot me, though I did notice one final detail about the mysterious denizen:  He was wearing a Bama t-shirt.

At once I knew exactly how our initial conversation would someday go.

Me: "Roll Tide?"

Him: "Fuggedaboutit!"

"Don't let this old gold cross and this Crimson Tide t-shirt throw ya / It's cicadas making noise with a Southern voice..."


  1. I used to live in a town about 100 miles from where I do now and when going home to the farm, I used to cut across country and through a town that had a population of only a couple hundred or less. There was a house on the outskirts of that town (about the entire town was on the outskirts) that had a pimped out hearse with a vanity plate that said something appropriate like REAPER. It's been so long I can't remember exactly what it said. The owner had even gone so far as to paint flames across the back that didn't look like flames of speed but more like those of a burning pyre! Like you, I always wondered the attraction. However, since then, I've come to realize it would be the perfect vehicle for someone doing a lot of home remodeling. It can carry heavy loads and you can slide those sheets of plywood and drywall in or out with ease!

    1. I suppose it would also be the perfect vehicle to get your neighbors to leave you alone....

      Hmm... wonder how much one of those would run ya?

  2. I don't think that HOAs are all they're cracked up to be. seems they're more the gestapo about silly things and big issues they don't have any control over...and even the things they "can" do "something" about don't really get done. 13 car guy for instance has apparently been racking up grievances like unpaid parking tickets without a care in the world. We recently were invited to sign up for Nextdoor, where we are now on another form of Facebook time killer...only with just folks in our neighborhood. The good, I was able to ask my neighbor with the dogs behind me if they could allow me to sleep an extra 30 min (turns out he was planning on keeping them in anyway cuz he's scared of the coyotes eating them), the bad: all the whining about stuff we can't do anything about (school trafic) and the ugly: the moms begging for babysitting services. :p I don't see this lasting long.

    1. I bet they had an HOA in Del Boca Vista!

  3. There is an elderly couple that lived down the hill from my dad. The summer after I graduated college, I was living at home until I got a job. One day I drove down the hill, and saw a hearse in their driveway. I freaked out, sure something had happened to one of them.

    Turned out the gentleman had gotten bored in retirement and taken a part-time job with the local funeral home. If he was busy at work, he'd occasionally drive the hearse home at lunch. I thought that was weird enough, but lights in a hearse??? That takes the cake.

    1. And nothing can or will ever explain the organ music!

  4. When I lived in Utah, there was a carpenter who had a hearse and would have lunch in a local park, he would park his hearse by a church where there was shade... Everyone was wondering who'd died. But he said the used hearse was a perfect vehicle as he could haul a lot of weight without worry. Do you always greet people saying, "Roll Tide?" You don't have to answer!

    1. I don't always greet people with "Roll Tide!" (This sounds like the start of a Dos Equis commercial.) But usually if they're wearing Crimson Tide gear, I do.

  5. I don't have a hearse story but I've long suspected my neighbors are in the witness protection program. If I'm honest, I read a book about witness protection a few years back and became semi-obsessed, to the point of casually suggesting my wife produce a birth certificate. Those neighbors, though.

    1. I can't believe how many people do have a hearse story!

      Be sure to let us know how that goes if you try that on your wife. Sort of a spousal birther movement, eh?

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