The summer heat beat down on me as I stood amongst the crowd. The warmth was starting to make me stew in my own suit, and I could feel the sweat start to bead around my collar. I reached up to adjust my tie and try to get some airflow moving, but the lack of wind and the humidity were working together to make wearing a tie even more uncomfortable than it normally is for me.
I smiled at the family as they walked to their seats, nodding at the mother as she wiped away what could have been tears from her eyes and cheeks. Her daughter-in-law followed her, waving a fan back and forth, doing her best to make the most of this dreadful morning. As she sat, she did her best to comfort her mother-in-law. Slowly, more slowly than I would have liked, the rest filed into the chairs.
As the last of the group gathered, I stepped forward past the edge of the grave and opened the book, doing my best to maintain focus on this blisteringly hot southern August afternoon. Using my thumb and forefinger, I rub the bridge of my nose and do my best to bring some relief to the for rolling into my glasses.
Attempting to lighten the mood, I start by saying, “It’s a pretty hot one today, ain’t it folks?”
A few chuckles arose from the gathering, and as they silenced back down, one of the men in the back pipped up, “Well, at least we aren’t as hot as old Jimmy.”
And that’s when the fight broke out.