Thursday, May 04, 2006

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Cemetery

My grandfather, Victor, or Petey as I knew him,* was a huge Saints fan. At his funeral, as I and several of the other menfolk were riding in the limo from the funeral parlor to the cemetery, the conversation turned to his love of the game and the team. Someone recalled how proud Petey was to have been in the stands back in 1970 when Tom Dempsey kicked the longest field goal in history. The limo driver, who had been silent up to that point, turned around and joined the conversation.

"I was the guy who measured that kick."


"Yeah, that was me... on the side lines, counting it out - sixty-three yards."

There was a tiny moment of quiet surprise, and then the conversation went into high gear, with everyone remembering what a great play it had been, remembering other great plays, and on and on until we arrived at the cemetery.**

* Though this is not unique to New Orleans, it is particularly common here: the extensive use of eccentric family nicknames, often with no apparent connection to the person's actual name. My grandfather, Victor, was Petey. My uncle, Victor, is Chip. My grandmother, Claire, was Daidy. The women are often named some combination of Marie and Elena but, in practice, are distinguished by their nicknames: Kiki, Boonie, Doucette, etc.

** I, personally, had nothing to add to this conversation, since I don't know a damn thing about football, but I enjoyed listening.

Ask, and ye shall receive.


  1. Anonymous9:13 PM

    A neat story

  2. that's funny...the nicknames, the weirdness of meeting someone like that on the way to bury s/o's family is so bad with the nicks, it took me years to figure out who the hell they were talking about...