photo by Maarten van den Heuvel
Aunt Evelyn’s ashes had been in our china cupboard for a couple years, waiting for their trip to San Francisco. She wanted to be scattered under the Golden Gate Bridge, where she had scattered her husband’s ashes.
Now, it’s illegal to just chuck things off bridges and generally illegal to chuck things – especially human cremains – off of boats without special permission. The boats that give special permission cost $800 an hour, and while Aunt Evelyn was never a practical person, I certainly am one, and so I and my accomplices set off to honor her wishes.
Human cremains are more copious and heavy than one might imagine, and so three of us divided the ashes into plastic baggies, which we put in our pockets and backpacks. Walking the bridge, we surreptitiously scooped tiny handfuls to sprinkle through the holes in the sidewalk. (do NOT tell anyone)
Too many ashes to complete from the bridge, lest we get caught and locked up in Alcatraz, we found a beach upstream to scatter the leftovers.
I began by ceremoniously plopping some ashes too far away from the waves. Aunt Evelyn’s grey ash did NOT blend in with the tan San Francisco sand, but shimmered in the sun, announcing my ineptitude. My second toss made it closer and waves washed her to sea – the sun catching specks of glitter in the ash and lending some beauty to the ceremony. What is that glitter? Mica? Dental fillings?
That night we slept at the Airport Travel Lodge (NOT San Francisco’s finest) because we were catching an early morning flight to Oahu. While arranging our backpacks for the next day we discovered one more baggie of Aunt Evelyn. What to do?!?!?! TSA would not allow this powdery substance without the original documentation and box, which we no longer had. It was a hard call, but Poor Aunt Evelyn now resides in the Travel Lodge planters, along with greenery, flowers and cigarette butts. She did smoke!
I was sorry not to bring part of her to Hawaii. In our vacation condo, YouTube provided island music. I’d like to say that I googled Israel Kamakawiwoole, but you can see why it’s easier to type in “fat Hawaiian singer”. He weighed over 700 pounds, so his stature was distinctive. Aunt Evelyn liked the expression Rainbow Bridge, and our destination of Waianae, Oahu felt like a link to her. In addition to Hawaiian rainbows, this tiny place was Israel’s hometown, and housed a proud statue in his honor.
Here is his famous song, as well as a video of the voyage where nothing at all was bungled. I hope Aunt Evelyn is going along for the ride. Click the link below and watch to the very end if you have time. Aloha!
OMG, you had me laughing out loud about the forgotten baggie.
Indeed it was quite a moment!
Some of the best movies seem to be about quests & adventures like this. Thanks for posting 🙂 LOVE the photos because I might not have been able to imagine.
Hello Diane, Who is Aunt Evelyn? Your Aunt? Well, I think she would be pleased by he effort to properly scatter her ashes. For one thing she picked the right person to do it. I loved the 700 lb. singer….somehow truly appropriate for the occasion of your trip and scattering remains. Again, she would be pleased. The Hawaii trip sounded heavenly….totally relaxing and restoring. You and Mel are floating along in the same space….recreate your soul. I’m not the same without teaching and no social life. Right now I’ve just had a long shower and am drinking wine waiting to cook pasta with clams in a white wine sauce with butter and Parmesan and red pepper and garlic and shallots. Yesterday I made Borsht from an authentic Ukrainian recipe I got in Bloomington from Wendy (from her aunt in Alberta). It’s pretty tasty. The organizing and being responsible for getting things done so I can move on to more creative things keeps getting put somewhere else. Why? is the big question. I want to be alone for about a week. Maybe that would help. It’s always a treat to hear about you and Mel. Take good care of yourselves. Lots of love, Pat
Sent from my iPhone