Leave it to my dear state of New Hampshire to once again, reach new heights in eccentricity. Last year, it was discovered that the Charles Peavey family of Concord, had been harboring a unique family heirloom. A mummified baby, known lovingly as "Baby John", was kept on the family bureau and had been handed down for generations. The discovery was made after a niece of the family mentioned at a daycare center that her family kept a "dead baby" at home. Don't ask me why that would raise any eyebrows, but it did. Officials confiscated the conversation piece and conducted DNA tests to try and determine if "Baby John" was indeed a Peavey relation. Last week, those tests turned up negative and a judge ordered the family to have the baby properly buried.
The decision left Charles saddened, but he agreed to abide by it. "It's one of the few things from our family that we have left", said Peavey, in a statement far more revealing than he probably realizes. Listen, I'm not pointing fingers. We had an Aunt stuffed at one time and she still hangs over the fireplace aside our other prized trophies. Her presence helps break the ice at parties and keeps conversation from dwindling to the mundane. The Peavey family topped us however, in that we never bought birthday cards for my aunt, as they did for Baby John, nor did we buy her a pet dried fish, as they did. I suppose a live, moist and pliable fish doesn't make much sense for a mummy-child, but the dried fish seemed like kind of a slap in the face. On the other hand, the birthday cards are exceptionally thoughtful, so I guess it kind of balances out.
The idea of mummifying relatives has an additional allure, unintended as it may be, that being the notion of relatives I would like to wrap in gauze and leave out in the sun to dry. Stories like this have a way of breeding copy-cats and, further still, envelope-pushing copy-cats who will try to take this to new levels. Expect Mummy Porn and probably a Hallmark movie soon. If this family had any sense at all, they would have tazed this mummy on You-Tube and probably crashed the site. For years they have done an exquisite job of keeping this thing under wraps (sorry), but really dropped the ball in terms of maximizing the commercial potential. Then again, to listen to Charles Peavey, especially during the first few reports, you almost felt bad for the guy, like the courts were confiscating his only child. He railed on and on about the depth of feelings he had for his mummy, and even I felt a twinge of remorse at the outcome.
My remorse, thankfully, was short-lived when a few more details were released on Friday. Prosecutor Richard Head, (again, sorry, that's his real name) raised concerns about the family's treatment of the mummy, were it to be returned. He pointed out that the Peavey's MySpace page opens with "The Addams Family" theme song and is littered with humorous references to Baby John. There is even a photo of a small crypt with the taunting suggestion that it may hold Baby John's sister. Peavey maintains that the site was created as a joke by his niece and he was going to ask her to take it down. "I do not think this is a joke, I've never treated him like a joke. There was no weirdness going on." Whew! That's a relief, because when I first read this story, brought to my attention by one of our esteemed forum members, my first impression was that it reeked of weirdeness, and probably just plain reeked, too. Now we know, there's nothing weird about it and we also know how it is that so many among us may as well be living on Jupiter when it comes to having any sense of normalcy or propriety. This is the lasting moral of the Peavey's, the mummy, if you will, that they have given the rest of us. Don't rule out anything.