The Gutter of the Heart

Abby smiles for her daughter Chele as she arrives in Baltimore yesterday.
Abby smiles for her daughter Chele as she arrives in Baltimore yesterday.

Yesterday I dropped my wife at the airport to fly to Baltimore for the week.

I had lunch with some of my friends who live in Norman, Oklahoma: Anna, Anne, Michael and Thea. They seemed well.

On the drive home, I called my sister, just to chat. I don’t know how we got on the subject, but she reiterated her wishes for her remains after her death: for her ashes to be placed inside a hollow Barbie doll, taken to the French Quarter during Mardi Gras, and scattered in the gutter during a parade. Her husband Tracey understood everything about it except the gutter, but I get it: the gutter is the heart of Mardi Gras.

It got me thinking about what I would want done with my remains. If Abby outlives me, her wishes are all that matter. But if I outlive her, consider scattering my ashes in a fire ring at the Gallo Campground at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico in November. The idea of warming intrepid campers in that mysterious place is quite compelling to me. Barring that, throw my ashes on the fire when you burn the brush pile by the garden. I would be happy to be part of that, too.

Fire roars as I burn my brush pile last winter. I would be very at home as part of this after I'm gone.
Fire roars as I burn my brush pile last winter. I would be very at home as part of this after I’m gone.
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4 Comments

  1. You heard it here first: I want my ashes scattered in the Wichita Mountains. The glacier rocks, to be precise. :)

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  2. IF I outlive my wife (which I doubt; I’m nine years her senior and a smoker to boot), my wishes are to be disposed of in the least expensive, most ecologically friendly way possible.

    (If she outlives me, she has already told me what she’ll do, and there’s really nothing I can do about it.)

    Personally, I think (and have always thought that) funerals are silly affairs, and egregiously expensive for what actually takes place. I’ve always especially wondered why Christians mourn their Christian dead — since they sincerely believe the other person has “gone on” to “a better place”, or will be there soon enough. (I did attend one funeral, of an aunt who insisted that the service be celebratory. I liked that.)

    …In other news: I’m glad Abby had a safe trip. I’m sure she’ll enjoy her time with her family.

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  3. My wife says I can’t be cremated because she heard the bodies curl up into a fetal position when they’re being burned. Therefore I’m writing into my will that I must be cremated and she must watch through the window in the oven if my family ever wants to see a dime of my millions!

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