Redneck Review

Friday, April 22, 2005

The Lay-Out

I teach at a secondary school in rural Missouri, about 5 miles
from the town where I grew up. So you would think I would
be well-versed in all the local lingo. Think again.

Around this time in April, several years ago, I overheard my
8th graders talking about the "lay-out." Hmm...were they
going to work on their tans? It was mainly the girls that were
carrying on about it. Well, I have to do such-and-such before
the lay-out. Oh, I have to go home and change to get ready
for the lay-out. Hey, you can come home with me until it's
time for the lay-out. No, I can't do that, but I'll see you at
the lay-out. My mom's picking me up, and then we're going
to the lay-out.

I couldn't stand it anymore, so I asked, "What do you guys
mean, lay-out?"

"You know, the lay-out. At the funeral home."

Ahaaa...a former student had died in a car accident, and they
were talking about the visitation. I guess that's what other
people call it. Or maybe the viewing.

Which reminds me of another time, when 3 of my teaching
buddies and I took a trip to South St. Louis. While we were
visiting with our friend's parents, her mother discussed a
recent trip down south to Redneckland for a funeral.

Mama was wound up about the hillbilly customs down in
Washington County. She could not believe the behavior
and attire of the mourners. Here she was, pacing around
in her South St. Louis finest: polyester pantsuit, beehive
helmet hair, and blue eyeshadow. She gestured dramatically,
waving around handfuls of rings, while we sat raptly on the
couch, a captive audience. Then she stopped, leaned over,
and whispered "...and the corpse's husband was wearing
a windbreaker and tennis shoes!"

At least she didn't say she had attended the lay-out.


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