Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Etc. etc. etc. In 10 minutes I leave for the First Annual Gloucester County Vulture Festival, so do you think my mind is on this post?
With all this extolling of the virtues of vultures, I completely forgot about the "human vultures" among us. And boy, do they ever give buzzards a bad name!
You've seen this a dozen times. Grandma passes away, and the mourners gather. Among them are the devoted children and grandchildren who watched her suffer and helped her lead a normal life as long as possible. The folks, in other words, who did the old thick-and-thin number without complaint.
Then comes the funeral. Out of the blue, here come the slacker children and grandchildren, second cousins twice removed, and yard sale freaks. All of a sudden they've remembered how much they loved ol' Granny. Even though they haven't laid eyes on her since Mick Jagger was young.
And now to the important part: Where's that will, and how much does second cousin twice removed get for all that Granny love?
And by the way, Cousin Gladys says Granny promised her that oil painting in the front room. The one by Van Gogh, she thinks that's the name on the portrait.
(Anne's been the victim of this, folks. Seriously. Only it was a Stradivarius violin, not a Van Gogh.)
And Cousin Earl says Granny told him he could have her Mercedes. Where are the keys?
And the daughter who never lifted a finger to help Granny gets into a yelling match because all the good jewelry is gone, and she wants her fair share.
And the yard sale freaks knock boldly on the door and say, "Do you have any old tools? Any costume jewelry? Figurines? Sports stuff?" Their eyes comb the joint, looking for treasures.
These loathsome creatures are often called "vultures" because they gather to squabble over a corpse.
But for those of you who are considering becoming members of the First Church of Buzzards Universal, please be assured that your feathered vulture would never even pick at a piece of costume jewelry. Real buzzards would disdain such ignorance. They reserve their greed solely for dinnertime and get along famously at all other hours.
So rest assured that if you worship buzzards, you won't become like Cousin Gladys and alienate your entire family when Granny passes on.
Our operators are standing by to take your call.
Addendum: Anne lost the Stradivarius violin to a greedy rich aunt who promptly gave the violin to a local museum, taking a huge tax write-off. There that poor instrument sits, silent as a grave, on display in a museum no one visits. Instead of singing brightly in the hands of some concert musician, which is the plan Anne had for it.
THE MERLIN OF BERKELEY SPRINGS