Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Cremains of the Day

Over at one of my favoritest blogs, Bye Bye Pie, June posted about why she's taking the ashes of her late cat with her to Seattle and voila!  I had my blog topic o' the day.

Not that I'm going to Seattle and taking the cremated remains, or "cremains" of my dead cat with me because I haven't had a cat in well over twenty years but I DO happen to have in my possession the cremains of not only my two doggies but my dad and father-in-law as well.

My father-in-law is in the big urn.  When he died, there was no funeral or service of any kind and my mother-in-law didn't know what to do with him so since I seem to be the Family Funeral Home, I volunteered to keep him until my MIL dies at which time he'll be tossed in her casket and they'll be buried together.

The box at the top right is my late, much lamented dog Lucy, who just left us.  I had plans of scattering some of her ashes at her favorite place in the world, The Park but when I picked up her ashes, I found that she was in a sealed box and that I would have to use a saw to get that sucker open so I just took the box to The Park and the two of us went on our regular walk for the final time.  I'm sure the people there were wondering what the hell was with the wacky lady dragging a box behind her on a leash.  I'm kidding.  I didn't put Lucy's box on a leash.  That would have been just plain silly since Lucy didn't walk on a leash at the park so why would I start now.  Pssh.

The flowered box contains half of my first dog, Jamie.  The other half is with my sister and brother-in-law because Jamie decided she would rather live with them in her Golden Years because there weren't any annoying children there.

The little brown wooden box holds my Dad.  Well, some of him.  About half of him rests in All Souls Cemetery in Long Beach in a plot that seems to move to a different location every time I visit because it always takes about 15 minutes to find his grave, a bit in the wooden box and the remainder?  Well, that's a bit of a funny story.

We decided to have a little, illegal private scattering ceremony in the middle of Alamitos Bay in Long Beach because we grew up sailing in the bay and my Dad was always happy sailing his Hobie Cat.  According to some law, if you scatter ashes at sea, you're supposed to get a permit and go out a couple of miles but laws, smaws.  We didn't need no steekeeng permits.

We got in my BIL's little Boston Whaler and with some flower leis and a boom box to play some music, we shoved off from the dock and headed to the middle of the bay timing it so that the memorial would take place around sunset.  We stopped in the middle of the bay and turned off the boat.  We all told funny anecdotes, toasted Dad with wine and beer and then we took turns scattering his ashes into the water.

Sounds lovely, right?  Well, we weren't paying attention to the direction the current was flowing and when we leaned over the side of the boat and scattered the ashes, they floated on top of the water and the current washed them right on to the side of the boat and in to the motor, which we discovered when we had concluded our service and went to start the motor to head back to the dock and the motor wouldn't start and we couldn't figure out why since there was plenty of fuel and that's when we noticed the motor was clogged with the cremated remains of my Dad.

I don't remember if we finally got the engine to start or if we had to paddle back to the dock because, as I said, we had been toasting my dad but I know we were all laughing pretty darn hard.  Except maybe my BIL since it was his boat that was covered in human cremains along with a dead boat motor.  Yeah, yeah, it sounds all gross and stuff but I guess you had to have been there.  We still laugh about it to this day.

I keep everyone in my Columbarium/Curio Cabinet which is located in my office next to the guest bed so that any overnight guests sleep only inches away from a couple of dead dogs and and dads. 
And I wonder why people never want to spend the night.  Hmmm.


  1. That was a nice story. Dead on, you might say.

  2. Great Story! Over the years I think I've heard them all, but yours is just one more to add to the collection. If we can be of service, just let us know. (And yes, you do need a permit, and you have to be a certain distance offshore). I'll lift a glass to your Dads 'n Dogs!

  3. Sorry, forgot the site:



  4. That is a classic! The only way to celebrate the life of someone is to laugh. I think your father in law must have been laughing his ass off at that one. Too wonderful.

  5. Kelly, I love your stuff. I had a similar situation when we went out to dispose of my Dad's ashes, only it didn't clog the motor, thank heaven. However, Pappy just floated back on the breeze and threatened to turn us all into
    Al Jolsons in blackface singing "Mammy".
    (or I guess it should have been "Oh, My Papa"

  6. That's a nice story. Well, now I understand why you don't have any overnight guests...:)

    Have a great day!

  7. Wow, I've never known anyone to collect ashes before. How avant garde!

  8. That was such a cute story!!!

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  10. You've been quoted!


    (Sorry, I pasted in a link to your page. I'm such a numskull)