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Woman has "before cremation' party

Ever had a twinge of morbid curiosity about what your wake will be like? Irene "Tippy" Lathom has been to hers _ and she had a great time.

Lathom, 72, invited nearly 200 relatives and friends to a "B.C." or "before cremation" party Saturday night. The soiree was billed in a flier as the "premiere show" before the "grand finale."

Lathom, who doesn't plan on dying anytime soon, said she simply would rather be alive than dead at her wake. "I think it's hysterical," she said.

She even invited her undertaker, Rick Kellet, who seemed happy to have accepted. "I'm always up for a party, and this sounded like a good idea."

Black balloons, photos of family members alive and dead and a four-foot casket decorated the Polish Falcons Club, where partygoers ate, drank and reminisced about Lathom's life.

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