Editor’s Note

My fiancee and I traveled to Buffalo on Wednesday for her grandmother’s funeral. With heavy hearts, we arrived at the funeral home early, bringing Sarah’s mother along with us.

From experience, I know funeral services are never easy for anyone. This goes for the family and for those arriving to pay their respects and offer their condolences.

Funerals can be emotionally draining situations. I feel it’s important to be there, but I never know exactly what to say or do. While having dozens of conversations with strangers and acquaintances, there could be an uncomfortable moment or two.

When the three of us pulled into the parking lot, we were surprised that the first awkward situation of the evening came before we even walked in the door. An older gentleman stepped in front of my car, motioning for me to roll down my window.

“Are you in the immediate family?” he asked.

“Yes,” Sarah and her mother, Nadine, replied.

Turning back to me, the man asked if I would allow him to park my car. This was the first time I had ever been offered a valet parking service. Maybe it will be the last; I wouldn’t complain.

Sarah and Nadine apparently know me very well. “No thank you,” they answered.

Looking around the man at an empty parking lot, I felt confident I could safely bring my car to rest within 15 feet of the building. But the man persisted. “Actually, I have to park your car,” he said. “It’s part of the service.” At this point, funeral home employees were opening our doors and welcoming us into the building. There was no point fighting their friendly, but persistent offer.

I’m sure it’s not every day that the gentleman opens a squeaky door welcoming him into a 2004 Chevrolet Impala. Sure, I’m thankful to have my car, but it doesn’t belong in any situation that involves a valet parking service. As we left him with my modest automobile, we enjoyed a much-needed laugh. I’m not exactly sure why it was funny, but I know it’s fine to enjoy a light, awkward moment even in a sad situation.