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The Errant Funeral Procession

Story ID:7468
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:Dillon Montana USA
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The Errant Funeral Procession…
By Chuck Dishno

In the mid 1970’s I had a printing shop on Belmont Avenue in Fresno, California.

Belmont Ave. was a very busy street and was a natural avenue to Fresno’s 5 or 6 cemeteries. The cemeteries were about 2 miles away and were strung out over 2 miles. They consisted of a Catholic, Odd Fellows, Chinese, Armenian and Japanese cemeteries.

The populating of Fresno at that time was about150,000 and there seemed to be several funeral processions going past my shop each day. Most of these funerals were well attended and the police would escort the procession with several motorcycle cops. One would lead and block the intersections while the others would take turns blocking the side streets. All mourners were instructed to turn on their headlights and follow the car in front.

This procedure worked well and kept the procession flowing past red lights and all. The only problem was that sometimes the procession was 10 minutes or more and cars on the side streets had no choice but to wait it out.

Several times a day I would have a job to deliver and was lots of times delayed while waiting for the procession to pass.

One day I got the bright idea to wait for a slight break in the string of cars and jump right in with my headlights on. What a good idea I had come up with.

On one occasion when I tried this, my customer was about 1 mile from my shop on a side street. I waited for my break and jumped into the procession and turned on my lights.

When I came to Tielman, Ave. where my customer had his plant, I suddenly made a quick left turn and headed down the street. I had forgotten to turn off my headlights and after a couple of blocks I saw in my rear view mirror the rest of the procession following me. I then took evasive action, shut off my lights and ducked down a side street and pulled into a driveway. As I looked out my side window I could about ¾ of the mourners continuing down Tielman Ave. I have no idea where they ended up but it was quite a while before I ventured back onto Tielman and to my customer.

Just another day in the life of a printer. My customer thought it was funny but I’m sure those people who followed me that day, didn’t share his hilarity.