New Monkland and Greengairs Parish Church

Cars and Crems

I was driving along reflecting on the teaching that God showers blessings on the righteous; So where’s my multiple rollover lottery win I thought, nursing a feeling of deep grievance at the inequity of fate as I made my way to the Crematorium to conduct a committal service one day last summer. But it was, after all, to turn out to be my day. As I drove along to Daldowie, a big, black turbocharged 4x4 Audi came charging up behind me, like one of the Dark Lord’s Death-Eater’s on the move; he way too fast and way too close on a section of the motorway narrow-laned with cones for road works that day. My policy on such occasions is “steady as she goes”, and not to be intimidated into speeding up. But this guy behind me was in a very big hurry, and started nudging nearer, flashing his headlights, and blasting his horn like an absolute plonker! I judged discretion to be the better part of valour; I accelerated away and, as soon as I could, pulled over to let him pass. As he did he made a frankly “Anglo Saxon” gesture at me with his fingers (or maybe he was just telling me it was one o’clock) before he and his personalised number-plate roared into the distance (and, note this: if you are going to advertise who you are in your car then don’t drive like a witless hyena).

These sort of roadway encounters used to wind me up and I would sit fuming behind the wheel in defeat; but not so much now - perhaps it’s just my beta-blockers kicking in - but I can’t be bothered to get worked up by a poltroon in a super car. So I just let it be and got on my way to Daldowie; and then came the blessing - because as I turned into the crematorium car park guess who was there? There he was - this big, bald bruiser in his big, black 4x4 Audi - parked, and on his mobile, at least until it was time for the funeral I was taking and he was attending.

I gave him a friendly wave - as I put my collar on - and made my way into the crem, suddenly full of confidence. I was in the driving seat this time, he was now in my territory and I felt I had an opportunity in my eulogy to depart for a brief moment from the details of the life of the deceased and improvise a little on the theme of the “first being last, and the last being first”; and how we might better make our way through the world we all have to share if we sought not just our own advancement but the good of all.

But, of course, it was an abuse I didn’t indulge in, I’m way too long in the tooth for that now. Because soothing my wounded pride, and exercising a bit of tit-for-tat, seemed suddenly inconsequential in the far horizons of eternity. I did see him put twenty quid in the retiral offering though -


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