It took me a moment to realize this was what my kid thought I meant about dressing up for a funeral.
Gareth was a good sport when I explained about suits and neckties and churches (Formal clothes will help Uncle Zach's mom know that he was important to us, and we think he was awesome). Though Gareth is barely three feet tall, he looks great in a suit, like he's ready to join my father and sister's law firm as their very junior partner.
The funeral went well, sort of. I mean, exactly as well as a funeral for a 37-year-old leaving behind a family can possibly go. The gathering of the tribes is always a good thing, even when it happens for sad reasons.
Now, about pirate costumes. (This is not a digression. Honest.)
While I was writing the first draft of the Big Book, I used to say anything could be improved by the addition of pirates. Somalia proved me wrong, so I've stopped saying that, but there are still a lot of things that can be improved by the addition of pirates. The Indian Ocean just turns out not to be one of them.
If you ever have occasion to attend my funeral with a small child in tow, and the small child wants to wear a costume, piratical or otherwise, that is completely okay with me.
The smart alecks among you--and that may be the majority of this blog's readers--will be asking, What if I want to wear a costume? You wouldn't be the first. My aunt assures me that if she's still around, she'll wear something out of her Halloween trunk. And that would be fine with me, too.
Really, as long as everybody's attire is street legal, it's all good. (Skyclad attendance is probably not a great idea. Some of my relatives would find nudity off-putting.)
Whatever we wear to a funeral is a costume, communicating something to someone, if only to ourselves. Gareth's tiny suit, my modest black, Reverend Steve's clerical vestments, all of that is more formal than what Gareth had in mind, but not so different in intent, marking an occasion with dress in the only way he'd experienced firsthand. Dress as a pirate, or as a mourner, whatever.
When the day comes (and decades far off may it be), I'll pop up my astral periscope from the Summerlands and look on with affection, regardless.