A fire truck was in the parking lot at All Saints Church one day last week. I had stopped by the parish office to pick up a copy of the Bishop’s Appeal instructions that I would read aloud at Mass on Sunday. The truck was there as a tribute to a deceased parishioner. The man who died was the father of a local fire chief. His funeral was underway in the church.
As I was leaving, I spotted a friend who volunteers as a sacristan at the parish in a small room off the narthex. She and another man were the process of extinguishing the charcoal used to burn incense at the funeral. They have a can of beach sand for that purpose. A slight delay in closing the can’s lid caused the room to fill with the smoke. I helped them fan the smoke out the door, using whatever was handy. I had grabbed a file folder that was under an empty cardboard box on the counter.
As the smoke cleared, I put the file folder back under the box on the counter. I recognized the label on the box. It said East Tennessee Cremation Company.