Edwin Uncle was also called sermon uncle. This is because, the moment the sermon would commence, he would disappear. Only to reappear just before communion.
Stories would abound as to where he went. The most common was that he went for a quick whisky and soda. Another was that he sneaked out to meet his girlfriend. No one knew for sure. No one cared enough to check on it.
A bachelor, working is a clerical job in Churchgate, he lived alone in a small house.
Everyone enjoyed poking fun at him, even as they went about checking who-is-wearing-what during mass.
Years went by and Edwin continued playing hooky during mass.
One day Edwin died. He was 74.
The funeral was at 5.30 p.m. regular mass. How could there be a special mass for someone so simple.
A small notice was put up on the notice boards in the village.
The parish priest was wondering who would take care of the funeral arrangements and expenses.
However, the undertaker got a call from someone almost at the same time as an envelope filled with money reached his doorstep.
The coffin, hearse and the funeral arrangements were all paid for.
The church bell rang. The coffin, carried by funeral entered church.
There was no place to sit. The church was crowded. Most of the people were of other faiths. In fact almost all of them were.
The burial ceremony took much longer due to the line of people waiting to pay their last respects.
It was only after the wreaths were placed on the covered grave that people knew the truth.
Every Sunday, Edwin would walk down to the orphanage next to the church. This orphanage that held unwanted children of the poorest laborers’, rape victims and other such unfortunate souls was always in need of two things, money and time.
Edwin gave them both. Almost every penny from his meager salary was given to these children. Every Sunday he gave his time to clean the sick and diseased children.
Over the years, he had tended, cared for and fed hundreds of children, many of whom went on to study, find jobs and have families of their own.
These children had come to pay their last respects.
Edwin lived on through his deeds, no fanfare, no trumpeting his donations.
So must we.
This is entirely a work of fiction. Any resemblance to people living or dead is co-incidental.