I was at Gordon Abraham’s funeral yesterday. He was born in 1948. I’ll let you do the maths. Gordon was an old guy, but despite having seven kids he never really grew up. He still liked a drink and a carry on. It was good to see so many people there. All age groups. And so many familiar faces. Dalmuir faces. None of us getting any younger. I’m sure Gordon would have got a kick out of the reason I never got allowed into his funeral. The funeral directors were just arranging who was to lift what part of the coffin and bring it into the crematorium when I arrived. I weaved my way past them.
‘Can I help you?’ said one of the suits inside the crematorium. He obviously didn’t think I was here for a funeral because I was dressed in a dirty semmit and black shorts. Rab C Nesbitt, without the hairband, without the hair. The black, in the shorts, wasn’t dirt, well, maybe a bit of it was, nor was it a concession to funeral attire, but simply because it was my working gear and I was going back to work afterwards. My thinking was I’d nip in and out, but obviously the Council official had other ideas.
Luckily I knew the other suit, Paul Harkins, I’d went to school with him. It was him I addressed and they pointed me towards the door.
‘Nah,’ I said. ‘Have you no’ got a back way and I’ll just stand at the back, pay my respects, and not blend in.’
I found a seat beside Julie McCann. She was wearing a tracksuit and I was wearing my shorts. You get that. Lots of sporty people in Dalmuir.
The Reverend, who conducted the funeral, was good in that he did the God bit, flung in a wee bit about C.S. Lewis, but he’d done his homework on old Gordon. His marriage to Anna and their honeymoon feast. A 64 bus to Partick and a fish supper out of the chippy. Panel beater. Every expense spared. I liked that. One of a family of seven, Gordon knew he didn’t have a penny to spare. And a family of seven. Well, eight, if you include Glasgow Rangers. They played a big part in his life. But at least Rangers, despite all their travails, never ended up moving back in with his and stealing the remote control and his cans as young Godge was prone to do when he got chucked. I’m sure old Gordon would have got a kick out of Rangers recently beating Celtic (grudged, but they deserved it) and Celtic being beaten, on the day of his funeral, by St Johnstone, by anybody, in fact. But that was the thing about old Gordon, he was in the Orange Order, in the Masons, went on enough Orange walks to wear out the heels of a decent pair of weejuns, but it really didn’t make a great deal of difference to him whether you were Catholic or Protestant, just as long as you weren’t mad Danny. Gordon had time for everyone, even Danny.
Some people remember Rangers in Manchester. Old Gordon had to go. A piss up and Rangers didn’t happen unless he was there. But I like to think of Accrington Stanley. The bus weaved its way home. Casualties a few. But Old Gordon made it up to the bar, ordering pints. Now he is no more. There’s a space where he should be. The old guard is changing. I’m sure he’d have been pissed that he missed the party in the pub yesterday. The spirit is willing, but the flesh weak.