You Some Terrible Thrills Like A

The delightful things I see on the mental teevee screen sometimes make it to actual teevee.

The crazy things you loved as a kid may not have been greasy kid stuff.

They Think He’s Gangster Number One

Like a record, baby, right round.

My nephew Tyler is Daria’s older son. He is 12. When I plunk down on the couch at their house, Tyler plunks down next to me and tries out his comic material, continuing the family tradition of regarding anyone not actively fleeing as a captive audience. It helps if you’ve already stolen the car keys and hidden them in the guest bathroom, which trick I should probably tell him I invented and please knock it off. Anyway, Tyler is starring in his middle school’s musical this weekend. It’s a rite of passage for us. Everyone must pass through music and dance and school plays and community theater and study, study, study. So this is very exciting for the whole family. Pete and I, Anya and Corinne and three of their children have tickets for tomorrow’s show, where no one should be surprised when we do the wave. Or selections from Cole Porter.

That’s the Way It Seemed

Perhaps you’ve heard that groovy Davy Jones died. My inner seven year old is heartbreaky!

Yesterday, my mother’s father died. He was 99-1/2 years old, lived a fascinating, mysterious and sometimes tragic life often at history’s many crossroads. I will miss him for the rest of my life, of course, but about every six hours, my mother calls and makes an unexpected request. She’s lost two elderly relatives in very short order and Mom’s a trifle exhausted. This morning, I tried explaining to her renting a hearse is a pointless expense because we are NOT going all Weekend At Bernie’s: Lower Cape Boogaloo. This was an even less successful joke than it at first appears because my mother doesn’t go to the movies and detests Hawaiian shirts. This afternoon’s question was if I would write an obituary. I stuttered the truth: I would have to know more than I do to write about him, but I would try if that’s what we needed. This evening’s question: would I research Scottish funeral customs? Well, sure. That’s not tough.

Funeral procession

The funeral procession commenced at 3:00 p.m. Processions were traditionally on foot, a custom that persisted into the 20th century. The coffin was carried by eight men at a time, with all of the men of the community having the chance to help carry it. The procession was usually solemn but it could also be wild. Due to excessive drinking at the feast by the men, unexpected events occurred. Sometimes the procession would lose the coffin or even get in fights with other funeral processions which were headed toward the same churchyard.

Rest stops were at places where ‘cairns’ were built for resting the coffin. At each of these stops, for resting, switching pall bearers, or sharing whisky, the men would throw a stone at the side of the road as a tokin. Even today one sees these heaps of stones by the roadside.

Yeah, we’re not doing that. There’s this:

An old funeral rite from the Scottish Highlands is to bury the deceased with a wooden plate resting on his chest. The plate contained a small amount of earth and salt to represent the future of the deceased. The earth signified the decaying of the body to become one with the earth while the salt represented the soul, which did not decay. This rite is known as “earth laid upon a corpse”.

I’ll mention that to Mom. Cape Cod’s ecosystem is delicate and conservation is important. We’re not having Grandpa embalmed because embalming contributes toxins to groundwater that make a mess of people and critters, both of which Grandpa liked. But I guess we’re contributing Grandpa to the ecosystem, so maybe a little salt won’t hurt.

It’s really amazing what you think of when you’re trying to avoid thinking about bagpipers playing inside a confined space with good acoustics.

When the Heat Dies Down

Photo: Doug Vizthum. Used by permission.

I would like to write about food for our acquaintance again tonight, but I’m limp with exhaustion from making my own. It’s 10 p.m. and I’ve just socked away yogurt into the warming contraption and roasted brussel sprouts are cooling for tomorrow’s lunch. Yes, both of those would work within our structure. Nice of you to notice!

This sign currently adorns the front of the now-closed bar. At some point in the future, I imagine I will be able to talk about the feelings this sign inspired, but right now, I simply can’t. I’m afraid if I start, I won’t stop or I’ll remember how much anger I had or how much I miss that life or I’ll realize once I left there never was any going back. Yep, I can’t think about that now. I’ve got work to do and I’m through sleeping on the sidewalk.