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Observations from a queen's funeral

Wendy King has funeral fatigue and offers a few observations on a good send-off in this edition of Everything King
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Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul, passed away Aug. 16 at her home in Detroit, Mich. She was 76. Photo supplied

I love a good funeral!

Not to be morbid, but I find a lot of solace and strength from a personalized celebration of life.

A good heartfelt cry never hurts. It helps!

I certainly don’t mean I enjoy the reason for the ceremony, but if done correctly, you walk away inspired and uplifted by the stories and the music.

I came away from both of last week’s services for American Senator John McCain and the Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin feeling better.

There was an amusing meme that said ‘I survived funeralathon 2018." It was true.

My tear ducts now are just dry sockets.

Permit me to share a few tongue-in-cheek observations. 

With complete R.E.S.P.E.C.T.

I hadn’t known Aretha Franklin was an early civil-rights activist giving money to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to all sorts of Detroit churches and charities. She was still fighting for clean water for Flint, Mich., in her last days. I grew up near Detroit so always knew she was a huge booster of the Motor City. We all knew her soaring voice and its impact on the world.

However…

Can there be too much of a good thing? Too many superlatives? Too much pomp?

I have always believed whether in a speech, a performance, a phone call or a visit, it is always best to leave them wanting more. In other words, don’t overstay your welcome.

As powerful as it was. The Queen of Soul's “homegoing” was about eight hours long. I know. I sat through most of it. My mind kept drifting. Even former president Bill Clinton was yawning.

I kept thinking: “Will they serve breakfast, lunch or dinner at some point?”

“How are those women standing and dancing on those heels?”

“Doesn’t anybody have to go pee?”

And after awhile, “Is there anything left to say?”

I am in no way taking away from her talent or her importance, but I've got to be honest – the fact she had three costume changes, post-mortem, gave me the creeps. Whose job was that? They need extra pay.

As someone who loves glitz and glamour, sequins and jewels even I thought THAT was over the top. Maybe that is what true divas do. 

Perhaps I am too simple in my musical tastes. Could all of the stars who paid tribute to her sing? Oh, you bet. However, all of them did vocal runs and screams. The yelling was in tune, but it still sounded like yelling to me. I barely recognized the songs. Those musical interpretations had no clear ending. How does the choir master know when the singer is done? I was ready to applaud 10 minutes before the final verse of Amazing Grace.

I will admit – the long line of pink Cadillacs was a nice touch.

I hope the Franklin family got great comfort. I hope her fans got some closure.

I hope the celebration of life was everything Miss Aretha wanted in a tribute.

But, I've got to believe that by the end of it all, even she had kicked off her gold high heels and prayed for a little peace.




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About the Author: Wendy King

Wendy King writes about all kinds of things from nutrition to the job search from cats to clowns — anything and everything — from the ridiculous to the sublime. Watch for Wendy's column weekly.
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