The Time of Your Life
By Corey Inscoe
There’s a white cross perched on the eastbound lane of U.S. 64, flanked mournfully by fresh spring bouquets. Large, shaky, hand-written letters sprawl across the white cross-bar: “
He was a junior at
More than three years ago, on a crisp, sunny spring afternoon, he was out with some friends shopping for tuxedos and prom dresses. An eighteen-wheeler barreled down U.S. 64 with its right-hand turn signal blinking slowly.
“It’s alright, he’s turning. You can go.”
Kassel Smit’s lanky runner’s frame slouched comfortably in the back seat of the 1994 Plymouth Acclaim as Katherine Hart took
The truck slammed into the side of the small car, sending it spinning to the side of the road.
Two days later I was standing outside of the Brown-Wynn Funeral Home in
Each room of the dimly lit funeral home showcased items from
In the largest room there was a TV playing a slideshow with pictures of
The line finally ended in a large, bright and outdated chapel. The small wooden pews with faded pink cushions formed two rows, herding the mourners into the center aisle. They were all looking at their feet as they moved to the front of the chapel, not wanting to look at the front of the chapel, understanding that only then they would know this was real.
The 16-year-old boy lay in an open casket perched at the front of the chapel and surrounded by flowers: a barrage of colors in an otherwise dull, white room. Friends and family slid past the casket, many unable to look in without bursting into tears. As I stood beside my former classmate, my strong and composed demeanor collapsed.
The rest of the Smit family – mother, father and older brother – stood side-by-side next to the casket as hundreds of people shuffled by, offering their condolences and telling stories about Kassel. His mother watched the seemingly never ending line stretch all the way out of the chapel with cloudy eyes and a shocked look on her face.
“I can’t believe it,” she stammered. “I just can’t believe it.”
I stood in front of her, searching for something to say, but nothing came. I had known
As I walked out the door at the back of the chapel, I heard the chorus of the song play again on the overhead speakers: “It’s something unpredictable, but in the end it’s right. I hope you have the time of your life.”-----