Actually just the phone rang.
Which is odd. Because I have my phone set to silence unknown callers, and the caller ID read Grandview Memorial Park.
Which meant it must have been in my contacts list.
“Is this the Troutman residence?” asked the woman’s voice on the phone.
“Yes,” I answered cautiously.
“Who am I speaking to?”
Ignoring the common grammatical error, I returned with “Why don’t you tell me who you are first?”
“Oh, of course. I’m calling from Grandview Memorial Park—” which I already knew, and suddenly I recall why it’s in my contacts list “—and we have the remains of Arthur and Arlene Troutman and we need authorization from the next of kin in order to bury them.”
“Well, I’m their son.”
“You are—” checking the paperwork, I assume “—James?”
Things are partially clearing up now. A long time ago, I want to say in the 60s (“Yes, 1968” confirmed the woman on the phone), my parents made arrangements for their burial plots.
Times changed and my parents had moved and were no longer living in Richland when my father died in 2010, and most of their friends and relatives had died or moved to ridiculous locales (like Arizona), so his remains were cremated and placed in an urn. When my mother died in 2018, I had already made all the arrangements for her cremation, as well as arranging for both her and my father’s ashes to be shipped to Grandview in Annville. To the best of my knowledge everything had been done; all the fees had been paid, etc.
Hell, I had even found an entry for my mother on the Find a Grave site, which indicated that she (or her ashes) were buried at Grandview.
The nice woman on the phone had no explanation for why it had taken this long for them to reach out to me.
Anyway, Grandview will send me the paperwork, I’ll sign it, and that should lay this chapter to rest once and for all.
Oh, and there are two coffins that have been bought and paid for that won’t be needed because my parents were cremated. So is anybody in the market for a couple of coffins?
Of course, this reminds me of that famous episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show where the two sets of in-laws were fighting over where Rob and Laura would be buried, The Plots Thicken.