Load of caskets

caskets

HEADING DOWNTOWN from out where the Hacienda sits, just before a hard curve to the right that will take you over the sewer creek and up to the Big Plaza a few blocks on, you will pass the funeral home.

Two, I’m told, side by side, but you can’t tell the difference, so I’ll treat it as one. It’s the most popular place in town to check out.

On passing, you often see wakes in there, frequently spilling out onto the sidewalk. The other day I witnessed one where they had put up a canvas roof to cover the overflow of mourners from sun or rain.

There’s another, more modern-looking, funeral home out on the ring road. It’s just been there about five years, I suppose, and I’ve never seen anything going on there. The first, by the hard curve, has been in business far longer, even before I arrived here 15 years back.

Though I have driven by it a million times and walked by maybe 10,000, I’ve never stepped inside. It appears to be just a middling room and nothing more. There are display coffins along the wall.

A big black hearse is usually parked outside.

I doubt running a funeral parlor here requires much training, perhaps none at all. I don’t know if the business is regulated by the government. I tend to doubt it. That’s one of the beauties of Mexico.

I doubt much training is required because embalming is not common, which is why funerals occur quite quickly.

Probably about all a mortician has to do is pick up the dearly departed, drop him or her in a casket, perhaps wipe off some blood or whatnot, spray some Raid, light incense and candles, and open the door.

The wake, an overnight affair, follows, and then the coffin is driven slowly to the cemetery with the mourners walking behind.

I’ve witnessed many of these processions while enjoying a nice espresso on the Big Plaza because the coffee shop sits on the shortest route between the Basilica up the hill and one of the two cemeteries.

Most are silent jaunts, but now and then there will be a mariachi band when someone’s being sent off with a little pizzazz. I like that.

I shot this photo yesterday. The truck was parked just around the hard curve. I was driving by, so I braked, got out and snapped.

I added the photo to Eyes of the Moon, but decided to share it here with you folks too because I’m a sharing sort of fellow.

24 thoughts on “Load of caskets”

  1. Speaking of which, in SAT, a body was snatched from its casket after the funeral service and pending transfer to the crematory. A young woman who died from complications of cystic fibrosis. Photos of her show a quite pleasant and normal appearing person. The funeral director is at a loss for why this happened as is the distressed family. No surveillance cameras, either. No forced entry.

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  2. I had a whole reply composed and it has disappeared (my fault, I’m sure) but I shall repeat. Speaking of caskets, in SAT over the last several days, a body was snatched from its casket at a funeral home, well-known for many years around here, after the service and pending transport to the crematory. No forced break-in, no surveillance cameras. A young woman had died of complications from cystic fibrosis. The family nor the funeral director have no idea how, why, when it disappeared, but it’s gone.

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    1. Carole: The young corpse in question perhaps is currently propped up in a chair in the middle of some pagan rite. Stranger stuff has happened, especially in your Texas.

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  3. Have seen the caskets at that corner every winter we were in Patzcuaro. Some times they are on the sidewalk as if they are having a discount sale. Life is more personal and communal in Patzcuaro then north of the border. Like the photo. Al

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    1. Hi, Al: I don’t recall ever seeing a casket out on the street above the border. Well, except momentarily, with a body in it and en route somewhere. Yes, things are quite different down here. And thanks for the feedback.

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  4. Don’t forget the sweet transvestite that runs the place. You don’t see that every day in the USA either.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where death is hushed up as much as possible.

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    1. Kim: I cannot forget something I did not know in the first place. Obviously, you know something I did not. Interesting. I imagine you know this due to that bar just down the street. It’s not there anymore, by the way.

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        1. Kim: Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. But that was a year ago — seems longer — and I have the memory span of a toothpick. I can’t even recall what I had for lunch yesterday.

          I notice from your post that the encounter took place at night. I never pass by there at night. Never seen that character. Perhaps he/she only emerges after sundown, like Dracula.

          As I mentioned, there are two mortuaries side by side. They even seem to have the same name. I never see but one name outside. However, while one has a good reputation, they other’s is considerably less so, I have heard. I imagine it’s this fellow’s place with the “less so.”

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          1. I wouldn’t be so sure about that. He was very friendly, and I could easily imagine him being very helpful in arranging an actual funeral.

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            1. The personnel of those establishments usually sit out front watching the world go by, awaiting a body, I guess. I’m thinking that the fellow in question is out there, and I have seen him, but he’s in his day persona, which is not drag. I bet he switches roles after the sun goes down. I’m usually at home in my PJs watching Netflix with a nice salad at that time.

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              1. He wasn’t in drag when I met him, but he did have long, curly hair pulled into a bun, and was wearing aggressive false eyelashes. At a distance you’d likely not notice that.

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  5. Aye, a good place for this poem:

    FIVE MINUTES AFTER I DIE
    Loved ones will weep o’er my silent face,
    Dear ones will clasp me in sad embrace
    Shadows and darkness will fill the place,
    Five minutes after I die.

    Faces that sorrow I will not see,
    Voices that murmur will not reach me;
    But where, oh where will my spirit be?
    Five minutes after I die.

    Here I have rested and roved and ravaged;
    Here I have cherished and grown estranged
    There, and then, it will be changed-
    Five minutes after I die.

    Naught to repair the good I lack-
    Fixed to the goal of my chosen track,
    No room to repent, no turning back,
    Five minutes after I die.

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  6. Like many things, dealing with death is much cheaper in Mexico.

    According to Forbes, the U.S. funeral industry accounts for about $20 billion in annual economic activity. A traditional funeral in America costs between $8,000 to $10,000. The average mark-up on a casket is 289% from wholesale to retail.

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  7. Ms. Bachelorette: I’ve long figured and requested cremation, and that is likely what will occur. But another thought has begun to appeal to me, especially since one normally is not embalmed in Mexico. I think it’s required in most, if not all, of the United States. Health issue, they say. Is there no aspect of American life the government does not meddle in these days? But I digress.

    I’m seeing myself laid out in a wooden box, perhaps pine, a corpse not filled with chemicals, a sort of birthday suit, the way people were buried for centuries in the West. I’d be decked out in the suit that now hangs in my closet, the suit that’s been there for years and has not been used since I got married in 2012 and will never be used again. It just hangs there. Well, anyhow, I’d be sporting that suit.

    The years would pass. I would disintegrate. Ashes to ashes, that sort of thing. And then one day, if I were to be dug up for whatever reason — police for a crime investigation or, even further, archaeologists — I would look like something from a Bela Lugosi film. It would be fun and old-fashioned.

    That has growing appeal, the idea. Who knows? I may speak to my wife about it.

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