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www.lebherzinsurance.com

June 11, 2006

The Final Chapter - Goodbye, Mom!

Tom McLaughlin

Humor by Tom McLaughlin

I have only been a participant in the scattering of ashes four times. The first one happened about two or three decades ago.

This lady who was a member of a certain organization passed on. Her friends held a memorial service for her and then retired to the club for a wake. She was given the honored location in the center of the pool table. Drinks flowed and finally somebody decided it was time to head to sea to perform the ceremony.

The Captain (now deceased) also had consumed a great quantity of liquor, headed the boat out on a particularly windy day. He managed to steady the boat about three miles offshore. The person in charge took the remains and flung them over the side into the wind.

The boat and the mourner's clothes and shoes were covered with the remains and some ended up floating in the open glasses of liquor brought along for the occasion. They were still wiping her off when they returned to the drinking establishment to continue the sadness - bringing back bits and pieces of the departed with them.

The second occasion occurred when a lady died without an heir. She was also a member of the above club and was afforded the honored position atop the billiards table until the weather cleared for a more sobering burial at sea. A distant nephew appeared out of nowhere, as is the case when somebody dies, and inquired about the remains and the estate.

The will dictated that the house, worth a considerable fortune, be sold and the proceeds donated to the local Humane Society. Stocks, bonds and other valued savings were also dispersed in a similar manner to other charities around town.

The nephew, I don't know how many times removed, was clearly disappointed that his "beloved" aunt did not leave him so much as a thimble. When informed of the ashes and her desire to be buried at sea, he picked up the container, unbeknown to her friends, walked to the end of the fishing dock and poured her into the flotsam and jetsam of fish remains, soft drink bottles and other scum to be sent to sea on the next departing tide.

There is something about the nouveau riche who they have to display their newfound wealth in the most ostentatious manner. You know the type: men who wear gold chains nestled in their chest hair; ladies who have diamonds on at the beach; and the Cadillac SUV's. [I thought Nike made that SUV until somebody told me it was a Lexus].

This lady passed and her sons made a big production of the funeral. There was a wake at a fancy hotel, a caravan led to the dock and mourners could board the party boat for the ocean dispersal. They went out and a hugged the coast to sprinkle her off the street where she lived. Unfortunately, an errant wave caught the ashes and she ended up in the strand along the beach prominently displayed in the foamy line that shows where the waves had been.

I found a fishing boat, the "Foolish Pleasure," whose captain agreed to take me, my daughter, a grandchild and sister-in-law out to disperse Mom. I insisted we go out so I couldn't see land. We were seven miles when the Captain Dale shut of the motors. I babbled the "Our Father" forgetting words and then read the prayer for burial at sea.

I used a child's yellow plastic sand pail shovel to symbolize how grateful all of us were for having a place on the beach. I kissed roses with peoples names recited, "This ones' for Dean," who couldn't be there and tossed them out after Mom, who was heading northeast on a current with the flowers following.

Bye, Mom.



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