Mattie Greaves sat across from Mr. Sawyer Day, the owner of a small and all but forgotten funeral home in Seattle, Washington and together they were quietly discussing a suitable coffin for Mattie’s husband Tabor.
” My husband is a practical man ” Mattie told Mr. Day ” and he wouldn’t like anything with those fancy gold handles and he certainly wouldn’t approve of things like this ” Mattie was pointing at a catalog opened to a glossy page of coffins painted blue and gold and even black with ducks and eagles flying around their edges.
” I understand ” Mr. Day said ” and I have several models for you to consider that are more traditional. I’m sure we can find one here that your husband would approve of. “
Mr. Day is almost 65 and he had taken over Morning Ridge Funeral Home from his Mother’s family right after he had turned 30. He had started working there right after he turned 16 so that means that for over 50 years Mr. Sawyer Day had heard and seen it all.
So when Mattie Greaves asked if the traditional model she was looking at came with a comfortable pillow Mr. Day didn’t even look up. ” From what I understand it does, however in the past some of our families have brought in their own blankets and pillows. “
” My husband is very fond of candy as well. ” Mattie whispered. ” Now his doctor told him he needs to give up sweets but you know, he’s along in years and he’s been through so much. I ask you Mr. Day how could I take away his salt water taffy?”
” My Mother was the same way, she was fond of her Cuban Cigars. Not only did she refuse to give them up we could never figure out how she got her hands on them to begin with. In the end, we just let it go.”
” So of course I can…”
” Of course you can Mrs. Greaves, whatever you think would have made your husband happy.”
After going through a few more books Mattie decided on a solid oak model with bronze handles and a lovely cream colored liner. She passed on the flowers.
” He’s allergic ” she told Mr. Day.
Mr. Day and Mattie went through numbers and she was about to pull out her check book when Mr. Day said, ” We’re almost finished Mrs. Greaves all we have to do is discuss your choice of a grave liners..
Mattie dropped her checkbook on the table and looked at Mr. Day for almost two minutes before her face turned a little red and tears welled up in her eyes., ” Oh my, that sounds so final.”
” Mrs. Greaves, I’m very sorry. I don’t mean to rush you. If you need more time to go over…”
” No Mr Day…you’ve been very kind and patient with me. It’s my fault. I’m the one who has been doing the rushing. I should have explained…my husband just needs a coffin until the one he normally uses arrives from back home.”