Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fritz LaRue, World Traveler, Had A Very Nice Funeral

I hate funerals. I have made certain I will not have one and no one can change my arrangements. I donated my body to the University of Utah Medical School. I've told all my friends that they would do well to outlive me since I will not attend their funerals, but the truth is I will have to attend a couple of them in the not too distant future, and it's killing me. These are gloomy times for me right now.

But yesterday I went to a funeral. It was the funeral of a Chihuahua. My New York friends, Rachel and David, were in New York working. Rachel's 14 year old, world traveled Chihuahua curmudgeon, the Chihuahua who went Fashion Week in Paris, Fritz LaRue, was staying with Rachel's mother, my long time friend Esther. So it was on Esther's watch that Fritz LaRue died. He'd had a great time while Rachel was working in New York these last few months. Esther took him with her to the ranch a couple of weeks ago where he spent a last wonderful week. Then, just after returning to Salt Lake, he started breathing noisily. He was dead the next morning. His trachea had collapsed. So to my way of thinking, Fritz LaRue died a very good death. His suffering was minimal and short. He didn't spend his last hours in a hospital. I envy any creature that dies suddenly. My mother's death took an excruciating seven years from diagnosis to death. Four or five of those years she was with me. The reason I'm unclear of the length of time she was in my care was the excruciating quality of the time. It was the worst thing I've ever been through, and believe me when I tell you, I've been through some very bad times. So quick is how I want to go.

Fritz had a lovely funeral, small and nondenominational. There was no mention of god or heaven at all. He's buried in the front yard of Rachel and David's Salt Lake home, and a native plum tree has been planted on his grave. The grave is marked with sandstone and river rocks. There were tears and there was laughter. We toasted Fritz LaRue with a drink made from 2 parts fresh homemade Concord grape juice, 1 part club soda, with a jigger of St Germain. I'd never tasted St Germain before (a French liqueur made from elderflowers). As an ingredient in this drink, it was perfection. So here's to one good funeral for the old curmudgeon, Fritz LaRue.