The Funeral

It was a sunny September morning in Bishops Sedgecester in Kent, and the local church was packed full of people wanting to bid a final farewell to a man who lived for 46 years in Bishops Sedgecester, despite having lived in Sussex for 30 years; Terrence Peterson.

“I see that Steve hasn’t graced us with his presence.” Jeff Peterson said to his brother Dave.

“Why would he? He doesn’t know Dad has died.” Dave said.

“Exactly, and he hasn’t bothered to check in to find out.” Jeff said.

“I think it’s time we forgot about him. He’s decided to cut ties with us completely and move to New Zealand. He’s probably forgotten about us.” Dave said. “He may even have been killed by a Sting Ray or some other animal.”

“I suppose so.” Jeff said. “Ok, I’ll try to forget about him.”

“Good,” Dave said. “Besides, the majority of his friends and relatives are here.”

“I guess so.” Jeff said.

With that, the funeral began.

After a few readings from the King James Bible and some hymns that were popular during the First World War, it was time for the eulogies.

“When I told my dad that I wasn’t going to persue the political career path he’d chosen for me and instead form a band with some mates I’d met in Liverpool, he wasn’t best pleased.” Jeff began.

The congregation laughed, most of them fans of Jeff’s band the Ants.

“Of course, the majority of people are glad that I made that decision, as that band is considered the greatest of all time, although I consider that a bit of an overstatement.”

Most of the congregation laughed, thinking that Jeff was just being modest. But Jeff’s biological family did not laugh, as they knew that Jeff turned his back on music when the band split up and has believed it was an insignificant part of his life he’s tried to forget ever since.

“But anyway, even though I spent over a decade away from them whilst being in the band, clearly my parents missed me, as they had two other sons to fill up the gap that I’d left. One of them, Dave, is here. The other, Steve, ran away to New Zealand in 1987 and was never heard from again.”

The congregation laughed again.

After Jeff and several other people had read their eulogies, the sermon, and some more hymns from the early 20th Century had been sung, the funeral was over.

Some of the congregation were disappointed that Jeff didn’t perform a song. But Jeff decided not to considering his father never really forgave him for forming the band. That plus that fact that Jeff was trying to forget his time in the band.

“Why don’t we have a look at the house?” Jeff asked after signing yet another autograph book for a member of the congregation.

“If it’s still there.” Dave said.

“It should be.” Jeff said. “It’s a grade two listed Victorian mansion.”

“I suppose it would be nice to see the old place again.” Jeff and Dave’s mother Mary said.

“I also fancy a brisk walk.” Dave’s wife Sarah said, who was also signing autographs for people who liked her Gaurdian articles.

“Ok, let’s go then.” Jeff said.

And so, Jeff, Dave, Sarah, their children Will and Eleanor, and Mary left the churchyard and went to the old house.

When they got to the house. It was exactly as it was when Jeff sold it in the late eighties. No significant outside changes had been made, but they assumed that some 20th Century improvements had been added to the inside.

“Why did you sell the house?” Dave asked Jeff.

“Because we didn’t need it anymore.” Jeff said. “Terrence and Mary had bought the house in Rye they originally wanted in the first place, and I was in Liverpool and you were in Lower Strangling.”

“Yeah, but we could have rented it out.” Dave said. “I’m sure there are some wealthy people who would like some spacious accommodation in Kent.”

“You’d only get extra money you don’t need.” Mary said. “I’m sure Noah Campbell’s giving you enough as it is.”

“Mary’s right,” Jeff said. “It was better that I sold it.”

“Then again,” Dave’s daughter Eleanor butted in, “if you did have extra Air B&B money, you’d have enough to send me to St Mildred’s.”

Dave sighed. “Please don’t bring that up again,” he said.

“I was only making a suggestion.” Eleanor said.

“Can we move on? Being back here is giving me the chills.” Mary said.

“Yes, why not?” Jeff said.

And so, the Peterson’s said one final goodbye to their former family home and walked off to somewhere new.

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