• 36°

Bernhardt column: The ultimate drive-thru window?

Iím not sure how it happened, but at some point this week, I found myself in a discussion about the emerging trends in funeral homes.
I wasnít shopping, mind you. It was one of those random conversations that came out of nowhere, as many of my conversations do these days.
We were discussing a Salisbury Post article about a proposed new funeral home, and the controversy that was creating. At some point in the dialogue, someone dropped in a factoid I wasnít aware of.
ěIíve heard the new funeral home may feature a drive-thru window,î said one participant.
ěExcuse me,î I heard myself say. ěA what?î
ěA drive-thru window. Many new funeral homes have them.î
While I have trouble wrapping my mind around that thought,Iíd like to go on record to say that such a feature would be a tremendous benefit to the handicapped and the elderly who probably couldn’t visit a funeral home otherwise.
But as long as Iím still on the record, I also believe that the main benefactors will be the pampered public in our ěgotta have it now and it has to be convenientî society who will find yet another reason not to use the two legs that God gave them ó even to say goodbye to Aunt Myrtle.
The funeral home with a drive- thru is not a new idea. Theyíve been around for at least 20 years; one of the first such establishments popping up in Chicago in 1989.
The New York Times described it as ěa drive-thru service with cameras and a sound system where visitors can pay their respects, view the remains, and even sign the register all from the comfort of their own cars.î
Visitors, cautioned to drive slowly, would pull up to a speakerphone where they would push a button and talk to an attendant who would ask them which body they would like to see. After making your request, you were told to proceed to a window where lights would come on over the appropriate loved one.
After the viewing, you could sign a register, conveniently located under the speakerphone. Then, budda-bing budda-bang, youíre on your way to the next drive-thru for some supersized fries.
A man named Lafayette Gatling started that one, saying that he used to feel uncomfortable paying his respects while wearing soiled work clothes. Plus, he added, people want to see the body, but they donít want to have to wait.
No, Mr. Gatling, we donít wait anymore. For anything. It’s part of our problem.
You also don’t have to put up with any more of that pesky human contact with grieving loved ones. No more fumbling for the right words to say. And most importantly, itís convenient.
Convenience is becoming the great quest of our society. Fifty years ago, we had stores. Now, we have convenience stores. Even 10 years ago, we were perfectly willing to wait for computer web pages to display our data. Now, the material had better show up instantly, or we’ll switch to a service that can make that happen.
Thereís nothing wrong with convenience in itself. Itís making it the be-all, end-all of our existence that has us missing a lot of what life has to offer. And that includes the warm feelings we share and receive when we take the time, soiled clothes and all, to comfort a grieving family in their time of loss.
I hope Iím around for a while longer, but when the day finally comes and I find myself doing the eternal lawn limbo, I think Iíll opt out of the drive-thru option. Heaven forbid I should die on a busy weekend and wind up the second half of a double-feature.
Kent Bernhardt lives in Salisbury.

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

Political Notebook: Interim health director to talk COVID-19 at county Democrats breakfast

Local

‘Their names liveth forevermore:’ Officials dedicate Fire Station No. 6 to fallen firefighters Monroe, Isler

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged for breaking into Salisbury high, getting juvenile to help

Nation/World

With virus aid in sight, Democrats debate filibuster changes

Local

City officials differ on how, what information should be released regarding viral K-9 officer video

High School

High school basketball: Carson girls are 3A champions

Lifestyle

High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Local

With jury trials set to resume, impact of COVID-19 on process looms

Legion baseball

Book explores life of Pfeiffer baseball coach Joe Ferebee

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education to receive update on competency-based education

Business

Biz Roundup: Kannapolis expects to see economic, housing growth continue in 2021

Business

A fixture of downtown Salisbury’s shopping scene, Caniche celebrates 15th anniversary this month

Local

Slate of new officers during local GOP convention; Rev. Jenkins becomes new chair

Landis

Landis officials narrow search for new manager to five candidates; expect decision within a month

Lifestyle

Together at last: High school, college sweethearts marry nearly 50 years later

Education

Rowan-Salisbury Schools sorts out transportation logistics in preparation for full-time return to classes

High School

Photo gallery: Carson goes undefeated, wins 3A state championship

Nation/World

Europe staggers as infectious variants power virus surge

Nation/World

Biden, Democrats prevail as Senate OKs $1.9 trillion virus relief bill

Nation/World

Senate Democrats strike deal on jobless aid, move relief bill closer to approval

News

Duke Life Flight pilot may have shut down wrong engine in fatal crash

News

Two NC counties get to participate in satellite internet pilot for students

Local

PETA protesters gather in front of police department

Coronavirus

UPDATED: Eight new COVID-19 deaths, 203 positives reported in county this week