This piece originally appeared on The Weekly Humorist here: What to Watch for at Billy Beckham’s Long-Awaited Funeral Service
After seventy-two years of waiting, the funeral service of William C. (Billy) Beckham, the retired air conditioner repairman and Home Depot paint department attendant from Paragould, Arkansas is finally here, and it looks like it will definitely live up to the hype! Billy’s life has been a series of cliffhangers and unanswered questions, pains and sorrows, joys and celebrations—from his one year at Arkansas State University to his work as an extra in the movie Sling Blade to the time he shook Sam Walton’s hand and told him how proud he was to be an Arkansan.
Billy’s wife, Jackie, and two of his three children, Luke and Cassandra, are set to arrive at the funeral home in a matter of hours to begin welcoming visitors. The embalming’s done, the flowers placed, and the casseroles are in the oven. The wait is almost over! Now, here are a few things to watch for as we witness the stunning conclusion to Billy’s time here on this earth.
You KNOW Rebecca will probably be there!
There’s a rumor that Billy’s first wife (and the mother of his children), Rebecca, who ran off with Rich from Maintenance might just make an appearance. Everyone remembers the scene she caused at Luke’s birthday when she poured a drink on Jackie! Now, allegedly, Cassandra has invited Rebecca to the funeral and wants her to sit with the family DESPITE Jackie’s clear objections! Get ready for the fireworks, especially if Rebecca has already been in the Moscato!
Cassandra wants to speak?
We ALL remember how emotional she got two Thanksgivings ago trying to publicly thank her cousin, Terry, for frying the turkey. This is going to be a train wreck!
The minister keeps calling Jackie the wrong name!
Brother Ronnie Boatwright was Billy’s pastor for nearly 25 years at Mt. View Baptist Church, but he’s only known Jackie since she married Billy a little over four years ago. Jackie’s been patient with him, but if he calls her Rebecca one more time, she is likely to GO OFF! Today’s not the day for that, Brother Ronnie. Besides, she hasn’t been a fan since the time he said that Catholics aren’t real Christians. Jackie’s parents are as Catholic a truck load of Rosary beads! Then there was that one time he called her Chrystal. We still don’t know what that was about! Jackie wanted to get the young guy from Harvest Church who preaches in blue jeans, but Cassandra demanded Brother Ronnie!
Luke doesn’t know how to tie a tie!
Everybody knows that our favorite screw-up, Luke, is going to walk in ten minutes before service time with the same necktie that he wears to EVERY funeral and wedding draped over his shoulder expecting someone to tie it for him because he refuses to learn how. It looks like he’d have taken the time to learn, but he’s not going to. That’s just Luke!
The funeral director chose Elvis Presley’s version of “How Great Thou Art” without asking Jackie!
Billy was MORALLY OPPOSED to Elvis as a gospel singer. “My mama always says that a man who lived the way he did had no business singing gospel.” Elvis’ manner of death only furthered Billy’s beliefs on the subject. If somebody doesn’t stop this, Jackie’s going to lose it. She’ll probably demand a refund. That’s what she does!
Did anybody tell Bud?
Bud’s been Billy’s closest friend since moving to town in the fourth grade. He and Billy hit it off immediately when they found out that they both liked baseball and the same curse words, and Jackie realized only an hour ago that she NEVER called to tell him what had happened! He may not even know Billy died! It’ll kill him when he finds out.
Nobody’s heard from Jared!
They don’t know where he is OR how to get in touch with him!
Billy’s mother is in real bad shape!
Billy’s ninety-four-year-old mother, Estoyle, is not doing well, but she INSISTS on being at the funeral. Jackie’s worried she won’t make it, but what should worry her is what Estoyle knows about her and Bud!