TOM UTRIAINEN FROM FINlAND AND HOW TO BUY A HEARSE IN FINLAND

In 1994 I went for 3 month to a computer school, next to me was sitting a funny man and we joked a lot in this time. Once I asked him what his is doing for living. Ilpo told me he has a little funeral bureau in the country side.

So I asked him what kind of car you use, I got some feeling it could be something special. "Well we have the same old Dodge since 20 years". To my own surprise I could hear me say: "Sell it to me". The answer was a polite No! "We use the car so little it will be good for several years in the future". Three years I phoned from time to time to Ilpo and in the end said always to him: "You remember I buy the Dodge anytime, you call me first if the time comes".

One day in early winter Ilpo calls me and after a while he asked me almost ashamed: "Tom do you want to buy the hearse? Yes, yes how much money I take with me? Come to have a look first you even havenít seen the car. I donít need to I know the model. But the engine stopps permanently and they couldnít fix it in the garage, seems to be a problem with the carburator. Never mind I come at once, good bye"! In a hurry to the bank checking how much money I can spend, of course wonders donít happen and there are only five thousand marks.

The car was as new, only the back bumper was rusty. We go to have a drive, the engine stopps at every chance. Next we are speaking about the price, I donít want to make my friend angry but Iam really short with money. "How much you want for it? Donít know offer me something". Nobody in Finland buys an american car in the winter, especially not a broken hearse ( only an idiot like me). "Five thousand". Now it gets quiet for some moments. "Well my wife had an idea that she need more for it. Sorry I am short with money, but think about and call me later, bye, bye". Again I went to the bank, there are still the five thousand. Thatís it I thought.

The phone is ringing later in the evening. Ilpoís wive Lea is at the phone, she tell me how good the car is. Itís true but I have only the five thousand. Something told me the deal is really near. Suddenly I remember Ilpo is a gun freak! "Hey I have a almost new Smith&Wesson 357 Magnum would you take in exchange, and you can borrow the hearse if the new one should be in repair". Whispering at the other end. "Okay you got a deal, come in the morning with the money and the gun, bye". My wife: "whatís it now, what did you buy again? HEARSE. You should go to see a doctor, we have no money and what the man does, he buy a hearse, etc., etc.". To make it shure she said: "Donít even think about to bring it in our yard". My sons three and five years old, was fond of that we get a new car. The daughter was on motherís side.

Early in the morning I am up to fetch the car home. It wont start any more (my wife is glad). So I have to borrow a trailer and a Landcruiser to get the hearse home. 27 degrees below zero, itís snowing and winding and outside I take the carburator off. A dragster driver could fix it for a resonable price. Now I took it back under the hood where it belongs and start the engine. Look it runs (now I am glad).

Next to do is the registration, everything goes smoothly. Three weeks later the technikal control, everything is okay. The officer is just about to give me a new sticker as he looks the registration closer. "You have a privat registration for a hearse!? Of course, I am not an undertaker. Thatís not possible. Why not??? Privat persons may not own a hearse by finnish law! Three weeks ago it was possible just around the corner!!! (Iam about to get angry). You have to put a backseat in the car and make a civil registration. But I want to have the car in the historic register when it is 25 years old and then it is a passenger car and not a hearse anymore. What we do when the time comes? Nothing, because you cannot get it any more in the historic class because itís no more hearse. You are crazy, you cannot force me to something like that (I am quit loud now). Of course we can, two weeks time or we go to take your plates off. Must the owner be a undertaker or is it possible for any firm to own a hearse? There are no orders about but you are privat person and may not own it, bye"!!! He, he I am owner of a taxi business, so I went to registration office and put the car in the employments name. Five minutes later I am back at the technikal control, and I am smiling. " Donít tell me you have a backseat mounted in five minutes!! No but I am not the owner anymore would you kindly give us the sticker now"? The officer was not happy but the law was happy and there was nothing he could do about.

Now we are happy owners of a hearse, even my wife is and I think we donít sell it any more.

Tom und Anne

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