Thursday, November 03, 2016


In honor of November, which for me is the creepiest month, I would like to share with you the reason why I find it to be so. Way back when I had a father, he was the one who would come to me during those late-night bouts of insomnia that I suffered as a youth. When he asked me what was keeping me up, I told him that there was this song about an airplane crash that was intense and scary and I didn't think I could go to sleep after hearing it. Looking back, I wish that I had the common sense to turn the radio off instead of laying there, subject to whatever evil noises might come from it. Turns out the song was DOA by Bloodrock, and it was a modest hit back in 1970. Though there plenty more horrible noises to come from that radio in the future, this one was the one I remember my father taking the time to explain that it was just a song and that there would be another one coming on in just a minute or two and the mood would change.
He didn't suggest turning off the radio or changing the station. I wonder why that was?
Twenty-five years after this episode, my father died in a plane crash. It was every bit as horrifying as the one described by Bloodrock, with the added component of a burn ward that I still have dreams about from time to time. Ah, November. As part of my father's memorial service, we drove up into the mountains where our cabin was: the place where my father once wrote that he wanted his ashes to be scattered. That was some twenty-five years before this event as well. Somehow, it fell to me to be the guy with the big bag of dad's ashes, and in turns my brothers and the assembled mourners came to me to take a handful or two to sprinkle on the ground that was still partially covered with snow. After everyone else had their moment, I was still stuck with a rather large portion of dad to disperse. I wandered by the creek and into the aspen grove and poured out the remains of the remains in the most casual yet careful way I could. I knew I was being watched, and so I couldn't just dump the bag and flee, even as the light was fading and the temperature was dropping. At last the bag was empty and we were free to go back and tell the story.
The story that I think of each November, and now even more often as I stumbled upon the story of a performance at New York's Metropolitan Opera that had to be delayed and ultimately cancelled because a patron of the arts took the opportunity presented by intermission to dispose of his wife's cremains in the orchestra pit. I suppose I can be relieved that my father wasn't more of an opera fan.

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