Well, you have likely seen the TV commercial . . . an elderly lady laying in a hospital bed, with her daughter sitting nearby . . .
"Mom, thank God you're going to be OK."
"Yes, I'm so relieved . . . but you should know that when my time comes, I have a final expense policy with Senior Care Insurance. It will pay for my funeral, and there may even be some extra money for you. I'm so thankful you'll be taken care of when I'm gone."
And then the announcer chimes in, "Today's funeral costs average over $10,000. You must ask yourself if your funeral will be a financial burden for your loved ones. With Senior Care, your low rate is locked in for life. There is no medical exam, and you cannot be turned down for any health reasons."
Gee, that is certainly what I want to hear each evening during the commercial break of "Happy Days," while sitting at the kitchen table, finishing my high cholesterol dessert. It's either that or Joe Namath telling me to call the Medicare Helpline "to get all I'm entitled to . . . CALL NOW . . . it's FREE!" Yes, Joe, the call is free . . . that's about it. And now, to top it off, Jimmie "J.J." Walker also does the same commercial, and he claims he receives an extra $100 added to his Medicare benefit every month. Really? Why does he get any extra money? What did he do with all of his TV show royalty money . . . blow it all? DY-NO-MITE!!!
My wife and I have discussed our "final expenses." My mother-in-law passed away last year at the age of 97, and we took care of her funeral expenses, so we are now more knowledgeable about those things. We live in the house on the farm where my wife grew up. She told me that if she kicked the bucket before me, she didn't want a funeral service with people staring at her remains. She instructed me to dig a hole behind the barn and dump her in it. "OK, dear, but I really don't think I can do that."
So what are my wishes? If I keel over at the library, I want to be stuffed and bronzed and then be placed on top of the bookshelf over in the corner next to the statue of Ben Franklin. Otherwise, there is a small cemetery on our road just a half mile away. It is a peaceful spot, and very few cars even come down our road. "All I want is peace and quiet, and I want to be buried near a tree . . . in the shade. I never did like sunny days . . . Oh, yeah . . . and try to keep those damn squirrels off my grave stone. I don't want to hear those critters munching on hickory nuts when I am trying to get some rest."
My in-laws were farmers, and their grave stone has pictures of various farm animals on it, which is very unique. So, if my wife goes before me, I will have a picture of a horse . . . her favorite animal, etched on the stone. I know that many people have an epitaph etched on their marker. I have been thinking this over, and here are my options . . .
1. "HE LIVED HIS LIFE TO THE FULLEST"
2. "BELOVED SON, HUSBAND, AND FATHER"
3. "TEACHER, POLICE OFFICER, AND LIBRARIAN"
Or . . . I think I may have this placed on it . . . "SEE, I TOLD YOU I DIDN'T FEEL GOOD!"
Now, as far as final expenses, we have four kids. If you are like us, we fed them, clothed them, took care of them when they were sick, hauled them all over the countryside and to school ten thousand times, bought them thousands of dollars in toys, bikes, motorcycles, and cars . . . AND paid for their college educations. Surely they can scrape up enough money to stick us in the ground. If not, they can sell some of the crap they will inherit.
So . . . sorry Senior Care final expense insurance. You are not getting any money from us . . . we already have a plan, and "we will be so relieved that we will be taken care of when our time comes . . ."

John "Butch" Dale is a retired teacher and County Sheriff. He has also been the librarian at Darlington the past 30 years, and is a well-known artist and author of local history. He writes a general column that appears in The Paper on Fridays and a local sports column on Tuesdays.