Having just attained the age of 70, I have long shared the views of Jackie Ashley about the importance of celebrating the lives of family and friends while they are still alive and able to enjoy the warm embrace of love and affection, because we never know what’s round the corner (Never mind the funeral – I want one hell of a party while I’m still around, 16 March). In that spirit, having delivered eulogies at a distressing number of funerals, I like to quote from a poignant lament recorded in November 1941 by the much-loved African American blues singer Peetie Wheatstraw whenever I’m invited to speak at friends’ birthdays or weddings. Known as the Devil’s Son-in-Law, he sang: “Don’t bring me flowers after I’m dead / A dead man sure can’t smell / And if I don’t got to heaven, ooh, well, well / I don’t sure need no flowers in hell.” Tragically, less than a month later, Peetie was killed in a car crash.Giles OakleyLondon • For years at nearly all the funerals I’ve attended I’ve imagined the deceased leaning on a wall somewhere at the back smiling contentedly at the warmth of the lovely things being said… Read full this story
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Why funerals give me and Peetie the blues have 350 words, post on www.theguardian.com at March 16, 2016. This is cached page on USA Breaking News. If you want remove this page, please contact us.