I was reading a novel, and came across a couple of sentences which I couldn't really get the meaning of. The particular sentences are marked in bold, and I've added some background, for the context.
“Elle, are you all right?”
“You’re not acting fine.”
I turned my face to let water splash on it. “My father just died, Dan,and I went on a bender. How fine do you think I am?”
He rubbed my back. “Okay, I get it. Ask a stupid question—”
“Exactly.” I wasn’t up to verbal sparring.
There was to be a funeral, of course, and a gathering at the house, after. The perfect theater for my drama-queen mother to parade her grief in front of friends and family. I didn’t begrudge her, really. She’d never been a perfect mother or wife, and I had my issues with her, but she had been married to the man, after all. She’d chosen to stay with him. She’d earned her martyr’s crown.
Considering my father’s body had enough alcohol in it to keep him pickled for a year, she nonetheless wasted no time in setting it all up. If she couldn’t wait to get him into the ground, I don’t suppose I can blame her. I understood that urgency, that sense of having to always get the worst out of the way so as to move on to something else. I’d learned it from her.
So, the sentences in question are-
Considering my father’s body had enough alcohol in it to keep him pickled for a year, she nonetheless wasted no time in setting it all up. If she couldn’t wait to get him into the ground, I don’t suppose I can blame her.
Now, I found the most accurate definition of "pickled" in this context from this Merriam-Webster link which says-
preserved with salt water or vinegar
very drunk or intoxicated
There are some related sentences where "pickled" is used in this conext-
Examples of PICKLED
He got pickled at the office party.
I must have been rather pickled when I agreed to your stupid scheme.
From the above description, it is clear that "pickled" in the sentence in question is intended to mean "drunk". Am I correct in this assessment?
If yes, my question is the next part of the sentence, which says-
she nonetheless wasted no time in setting it all up
Considering that her father had enough alcohol in him to keep him pickled(read: drunk) for a year, what was set up? My first thought was the setting-up of a casket, and/or other funeral setting, but this doesn't sit well with the first part of the sentence.
My last question is the first part of the next sentence-
If she couldn’t wait to get him into the ground
What does this mean? Is it supposed to mean something on the lines of- she wanted to be over with the funeral as soon as possible?