Our own Coldchef
December 26, 2020 5:27 AM   Subscribe

'Humans need the ritual of saying goodbye' : the Covid life of a small-town funeral director Being a funeral home director in Zachary, Louisiana, means sometimes your neighbor calls when they see cars in the parking lot, to ask: “Who died?”
posted by infini (34 comments total) 132 users marked this as a favorite
 
Sing the man a Christmas song.
posted by adamvasco at 5:56 AM on December 26, 2020 [5 favorites]


I remember that essay; it's a good one: https://www.npr.org/2005/08/08/4785079/always-go-to-the-funeral

Thanks to you and your fellows in the business, ColdChef -- especially now, you're doing a difficult and necessary thing for so many people.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:28 AM on December 26, 2020 [11 favorites]


Stay safe ColdChef, we love you.
posted by gwint at 6:34 AM on December 26, 2020 [67 favorites]


A lovely portrait of a good bloke.

fill up the gas tank on the hearse before the local high school prom: … I can't even, though.
posted by scruss at 6:40 AM on December 26, 2020 [8 favorites]


Man, I wanted so much more from that article. I get that the focus would be on COVID, but I feel like we missed out on the real treasure that is ColdChef.

But I’m also relieved to read that he’s not overwhelmed lately - I’d been thinking of him and hoping he was ok, but there didn’t really seem like a good way for me, a perfect internet stranger, to ask. So thank you to the Guardian for that, and thank you to ColdChef for everything that you do for folks during their most difficult times.
posted by widdershins at 6:54 AM on December 26, 2020 [41 favorites]


Going to an indoor service for 75 people is hard for me to comprehend right now, but I get that families really, really want and need that kind of connection.

Man, I wanted so much more from that article. I get that the focus would be on COVID, but I feel like we missed out on the real treasure that is ColdChef.

I agree. This felt almost like a teaser piece to a much longer and deeper interview.
posted by Dip Flash at 6:59 AM on December 26, 2020 [12 favorites]


I once asked ColdChef to marry me and he said yes.

But in the end we got the JP to do it.
posted by rlk at 6:59 AM on December 26, 2020 [54 favorites]


In the difficult time of death funeral directors play such an important role. Saying goodbye is so necessary but also so damn hard. A good funeral director can really help, and thus help us to live.

I am grateful to ColdChef's contributions here over the years. I remember in particular his information, and wisdom, during hurricane Katrina.
posted by caddis at 7:31 AM on December 26, 2020 [14 favorites]


Yeah, the article was rather thin. Following him on twitter helps flesh out the story. And FPPing this got me the Xmas wish I wanted, which was for us to think back over the year's losses and take a moment to grieve for them all, as we move closer to a new year.
posted by infini at 8:19 AM on December 26, 2020 [14 favorites]


ColdChef is a treasure.
posted by 41swans at 8:21 AM on December 26, 2020 [7 favorites]


There were so many times where I had to say, “Now this is off the record, but...”
posted by ColdChef at 9:30 AM on December 26, 2020 [149 favorites]


Agreed with all the love for GJ. His Twitter feed is a bright spot on my timeline.
posted by emjaybee at 9:32 AM on December 26, 2020 [5 favorites]


I’ve lost two friends since the pandemic started. I know it’s not the same as losing family, but the hardest part was not being able to visit them before they died or gather with friends to mourn together afterwards. I doubt there’s a single person who hasn’t been affected in this way, but I don’t feel like we’ve talked about it that much. Maybe it’s too much for people to deal with right now, and there will be a massive emotional reckoning in the after times. Much love to ColdChef and others on the front lines.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:35 AM on December 26, 2020 [13 favorites]


emjaybee: Agreed with all the love for GJ. His Twitter feed is a bright spot on my timeline

Are you kidding? His Twitter feed is one of the very few things that keep me using Twitter at all!

His sanity and warmth --especially contrasted with his daily duties -- are a great example to me.
posted by wenestvedt at 10:32 AM on December 26, 2020 [4 favorites]


Cold Chef is a very old acquaintance: he and my nephew are close friends since college--about 30 years now--and I've met him a few times. I'm blessed to be allowed to follow his Twitter, which is amazeballs. This article is good but captures just a glint of the GJ experience.
posted by neuron at 10:55 AM on December 26, 2020 [6 favorites]


He is a treasure, an IRL friend as well as an internet pal. I do think the article didn't portray his awesomeness, the way he is helpful when you have a parent, or two, who die. The way he accepts people as they are to the extent that he can and tries to help them in their grieving processes. The way he is a great father and husband and brother and son. The way he helps create and maintain community, both at home and on the internet. And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention his wicked sense of humor and his appreciation for all things boob-related. Love you friend, glad you got some well-deserved attention.
posted by jessamyn at 11:11 AM on December 26, 2020 [36 favorites]


I’m a fan of the Guardian to the point that it is one of the few sites I pay money to (as is MeFi). Having said that I was kind of disappointed when I reached the end; that’s all there is? It really should have been fleshed out into a long form article. But glad to hear ColdChef is holding his own doing a difficult, but essential, job.
posted by TedW at 11:28 AM on December 26, 2020 [5 favorites]


GJ has taught me more about compassion than any human being alive.
posted by bondcliff at 12:14 PM on December 26, 2020 [14 favorites]


Is this where we talk about how wonderful G.J. is? Because he is. (I, too, am sad that the article barely scratches the surface.)
posted by ocherdraco at 1:41 PM on December 26, 2020 [7 favorites]


Sounds like some more comments on this thread could stretch out that article to the length it deserves.

Bring your encomiums right here!
posted by wenestvedt at 2:04 PM on December 26, 2020 [5 favorites]


I immediately wondered if this was Cold Chef when I saw the article. I have found so many of Cold Chef's posts and responses informative, useful, and inspiring over the years, especially when I lost my mother a couple years ago. Thank you for being such a great community resource, Cold Chef. It's good to know you're not being overwhelmed at the moment, and that you're finding a way to cope with Covid in a way that helps people maintain some kind of ritual.
posted by amusebuche at 2:30 PM on December 26, 2020 [6 favorites]


What is Cold Chef's Twitter username? Because I need all the warmth and sanity I can get.
posted by purplesludge at 3:34 PM on December 26, 2020 [3 favorites]


God bless, GJ.
posted by yhbc at 3:46 PM on December 26, 2020 [3 favorites]


I was delighted to get to meet him in person. Nice to see an article showing the world a bit of his awesomeness in a terrible time.
posted by rmd1023 at 3:56 PM on December 26, 2020 [1 favorite]


Bring your encomiums right here!

Going back to 2010--and to the period leading up to my beloved mother-in-law's death--ColdChef wrecked me with this FPP: Marching bands unite in tribute to Brandon Franklin, slain at 22. Thank you, ColdChef, and yes, I still tear up.
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:50 PM on December 26, 2020 [3 favorites]


I doubt there’s a single person who hasn’t been affected in this way, but I don’t feel like we’ve talked about it that much.

Actually I think there are an awful lot of people who haven't been affected in this way (I'm one of them--haven't even known anyone with a confirmed case, much less a death, though there have been a couple suspicious "flu" cases and some exposures). And that's sadly part of why we are failing to ever fix any of this. People are bad at understanding the abstract and this is still, for many people if not most, very abstract.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:08 PM on December 26, 2020 [4 favorites]


Really appreciate you, ColdChef.
posted by Kitchen Witch at 11:01 PM on December 26, 2020


What is Cold Chef's Twitter username?

It's in his profile.
posted by pompomtom at 2:29 AM on December 27, 2020 [1 favorite]


Article was nice (yay ColdChef), but I am very much not a fan of the anthropological hick-porn photos that accompany it. The classist condescension fairly drips: LOL, their town hall and their fire department are the same tiny building (surrounded by big red pickup trucks!) They put tacky Santa blow-ups in front of their run-down 60s ranches! Look at this janky wooden cruiser decoration in front of their police station, photographed for maximum dinginess!

One tries not to be uncharitable, but given the weird choice of subjects it's hard not to feel that the photographer wants to tell a Victorian story about missionary work among the ignorant natives (with their animal instincts to commemorate their dead-- charming, really). Thank goodness we civilized, science-minded readers of the Guardian know to avoid mass funeral gatherings, though.
posted by yersinia at 6:17 AM on December 27, 2020 [4 favorites]


So, this has been a weird 24 hours. When I called my mom to tell her about the article yesterday, she sadly informed me that my uncle--her brother--had died. Before the day was done, his wife--my aunt--had died as well. The funeral services will be held on the other side of the state. I don't know whether my mom will attend or not.

I've gotten dozens of follower requests on Twitter, which I hoped were from MeFites, but (surprise, surprise) were often Covid deniers, wanting to dox me or pick a fight. People can be awful.

If you send a twitter follower request (and I hope you do), include a DM with your MetaFilter name. At least until I find a better way to weed out the agitators. Thanks.
posted by ColdChef at 6:53 AM on December 27, 2020 [53 favorites]


Followers from Africa/African names from elsewhere are most likely coming from my 'follow him here' tweet fwiw.
posted by infini at 7:42 AM on December 27, 2020 [3 favorites]


ColdChef, I am sorry about the loss piled on the loss. I hope the good you have done for others so often is poured back out for you this week.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:00 AM on December 27, 2020 [10 favorites]


Article was nice (yay ColdChef), but I am very much not a fan of the anthropological hick-porn photos that accompany it. The classist condescension fairly drips:

Here's the photographer's Instagram if that changes how you feel about the photos. May or may not do so.
posted by ambrosen at 10:53 AM on December 27, 2020 [7 favorites]


I ❤️ you ColdChef.
posted by bendy at 1:27 PM on December 28, 2020 [1 favorite]


« Older Bill Murray Admits a Painting Saved His Life   |   The Fall of Caliphate Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments