before more people show up and poke my dead grandmother

For once, it looked like they were going to get through this okay. There wasn't any acid rain, Mr. Burns' lawyers had advised him that prosecuting a dead woman might be seen as slightly unreasonable, and Reverend Lovejoy didn't quite seem to understand the significance of the incense that Grandma's friends were burning and thanked them for the air freshener. By the time the coffin was being lowered into the ground, Lisa had even eased up on clenching her fists enough so that circulation started to creep back past the constricting lace of her good gloves.

But in the best tradition of Simpson occasions, the craziness was just saving itself because when Grampa stepped forward to throw a handful of dirt on the coffin, he prefaced it by saying, "I was always a pretty lousy husband, Grandma, and I never understood all your commie talk about gun control and environmental safety. But now you're gone, and I can't mess things up for you any more," and then tripped over the astroturf and fell on Chief Wiggum, who accidentally unloaded all the bullets from his service pistol into the coffin before tipping over and smashing open the crate of live doves, who promptly flew up into a bunch of telephone wires and then plummeted smoking to the ground.

"At least she went out with a little excitement," Bart offered in the shocked silence that followed. "Now I gotta revise the plans for *my* funeral." He took out a notepad and Lisa watched blankly as he flipped to a page headed, "21-Clown Accordion Orchestra" and added 'more clowns' under it.

People wandered away from the grave and Lisa hung back even though she knew her mom would probably appreciate some help corralling the mourners back to the reception at their house. She'd make it up to Marge by balancing the checkbooks later, she told herself; right now she just wanted a little time to say goodbye.

But when everybody was gone, Lisa found that she wasn't alone; her dad was still there, standing solemnly at the foot of the grave. "Dad?" she ventured, going up to him. "Are you okay?"

Homer shook himself. "Oh, hi, Lisa," he said. "I was just getting the dead birds off Grandma's coffin." Lisa tugged her collar as she realized her father was using Wiggum's gun to shoot the dove carcasses until they were charred feathery clumps.

"I...think she'd really appreciate that," she said cautiously, then sighed. "I wish I could've gotten to know Grandma better," she said. "We seemed to have so many moral convictions in common!"

"Yeah. And she knew how to make marshmallow lasagna, and wrap my knees up in Wonder Bread so it wouldn't hurt when I fell down." Homer scratched the back of his head. "I kinda wish I knew her better too."

Lisa slipped her hand into his. "There's some of her in you, Dad," she said. "She's there every time you listen to 60's songs, or stand up for what you believe in, or even when you eat classic Fig Newtons instead of that new kind with strawberry filling —"

"Strawberry Newtons, feh!" Homer exclaimed. "That's like filling Twinkies with hamburger! Or a monkey with gasoline!"

"Well, in theory, I guess." Lisa squeezed her dad's hand. "What I mean is, she'll never really be gone."

Homer smiled down at her. "No, she won't, honey," he said gently. "Because apart from the whole fugitive thing, you're pretty much just as smart and special as she was." They turned from the grave and he said, "Hey, think you can figure out how to make lasagna like Grandma did?"

Lisa let her father pick her up and when she was comfortably settled on his shoulders she said, "As long as we have enough marshmallows, I'll try!" She sounded remarkably cheerful, she thought proudly, and wiped at her tears before they ran down her chin and fell on her dad's head and ruined her whole stoic bravery bit.

Homer held her ankles when she wobbled and murmured, "I got you, honey," and trotted onward to the car.

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