Dear One is looking pretty snazzy these days. In an earlier post, I worried about him adjusting to life in Montreal after a lifetime of living in the country. He was having a hard time finding work. Here he is, below, in his new outfit, checking his phone for calls from his new employer. Aside from Giller night when he had to wear a tux, this is the first time I have seen him dressed up. He wore a plaid shirt and jeans to our wedding, which was a wedding in the woods with a goat in attendance.
Can you see the red feather in his hat? His new job is a freelance arrangement. One way of putting it is that he ceremonially helps ferry the souls of the dead from this world to the next. I didn’t know this work existed, except in myth and story. He is a paid mourner; a professional pallbearer and solace for the bereaved.
Today he heard heartbreaking Ukrainian chants, and observed the extravagant embroidery of the minister’s garments. He watched an old man wipe the tears of a young man, and learned how to place flaming chandeliers around a body.
I don’t know how long he will do this work. It doesn’t pay very much, and sometimes you have to drive all over the countryside. But I can’t imagine anyone more capable of lending gravity, presence, kindness and calm to the bereaved, and I love seeing him dressed up like a 50s gangster.