Elmer’s wake

Keeping the Peace
By Tom Lessard

Many years ago, I had the good fortune of working for a window and door company on Highway 4 southeast of Centralia. At one time during my employment, I was given the task of building plastoramic picture windows. My department was very large in area because I needed room to build windows such as four 5’ by 6’ units with sliders, side-by-side. With the trim, etc., they measured close to 25’ wide by almost 8’ high. I had to do most of the assembling on the floor.
In my spare time, I ran draws and a newsletter. My boss told me that as long as I could produce 12 good units a day, I could spend the extra time selling draw tickets and finding stories for my newsletter. Every Friday, during our afternoon break, I held the draws and we usually had about 13 prizes. You had to be present to collect your prize, so very few people ever took Friday afternoon off.
One day, one of the other workers came to me holding a dead mouse in his hand.
“What in the devil are you doing with that?” I asked.
“This was found in the women’s washroom,” he replied.
I told him to leave it with me, and as a reporter (for the newsletter), I would investigate.
Well, during my search, I found out that the mouse had had a heart attack, supposedly after seeing one of our elderly female employees with her pants down in one of the stalls.
I felt that it would only be right to hold a wake and a funeral for the mouse, which we called Elmer.
Since I had extra room in my area, I set up a small table and draped it in purple cloth. I had an empty “T”-nail carton, which I filled with a block of Styrofoam. After cutting a portion out of the foam I laid Elmer to rest and placed the coffin on the table. One of the employees gave me a box of Kleenex for the mourners, which I also placed on the table. Two unlit candles appeared from someone else, and to top it off, I had a visitation book for guests to sign.
So many people came to pay their respects that the coffin was on display for three days. At lunch hour on the fourth day, I had a minister perform the service; two mourners and four pallbearers attended the coffin. We proceeded outside the building where a plot had been dug. A cameraman took pictures of the burial and the cross.
Elmer will live in infamy.

Happy 45th anniversary to my dear wife Rita!