Friday, August 31, 2012

The Dead Body In My Family Room...


First of all, just let me say, I'm sure no one is surprised to hear this.  And yes, it's kinda, sorta, technically true.  There is a dead body in my family room - in the form of my late father's ashes.

See, my mom moved a week ago - and we helped her.  She downsized from her adorable, too large house to a smaller, one story house on my side of the river.  This means she had to downsize a lot of stuff.

My mom's a bit of a hoarder - of cuteness.  She hoards beanie babies (who knew they'd go bust?), cirque de soliel weirdness and two-foot tall German nutcrackers.  She spent most of the day giving me stuff, like a creepy doll from the WPA era, a giant brass pig with wings, and yes, my father's cremains.

I've already pawned the flying pig off on my boss as a sort of travelling trophy.  The doll is behind the couch in a child's chair where no one can see her.  My father, is in a white marble urn by the fireplace. 

I was happy to take him.  The urn was way to heavy for mom and I was really close to my father.  So, I buckled him up in the front seat of my little, orange Kia Soul and away we went.

A week later, I'm out at girl scout camp running the zip line for a troop, and my daughter and her friends are at home.  Her friend...we'll call her 'Betty,' opens the urn, thinking it's a vase.  She sticks her hand in (cuz that's what you do when you come across a weird object with ashes in it, right?) and pulls it out, asking if I kept the fireplace ashes there.  Margaret didn't know, because I hadn't yet told her that Grandpa had moved in with us.

We get home and Margaret asks about the big white vase filled with ashes.  We tell her.  She calls 'Betty' to tell her she had my deceased father all over her hand.  Betty (which is, in fact, her real name) screams.  Then texts everyone to say that Margaret has a dead body in her house.

It's a bit morbid and gross.  And stretches the truth a bit.  But I have to say, if my father was still alive, he'd get a huge kick out of the whole thing.

(And no, Margaret, we aren't going to get rid of him anytime soon.)

The Assassin

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ms. Langtry, you are a joy! Thank you for the smile of the day!

TerriOsburn said...

I was so worried they'd dump out the vase before you got home. Whew! I want to be cremated and haven't decided where I should be kept. Or IF I should be kept. This scenario may play into my decision.

Leslie Langtry said...

I guess I should get a labelmaker and put, "Grandpa" on the urn. Or maybe this is just an excuse to get a labelmaker...

MsHellion said...

Sorry, but Betty totally deserved that. WHO sticks their hand in a vase before asking if it's not their vase? Do you think this is Pier 1?

I can't imagine not knowing this sort of thing, but I was dragged to funerals when I was young. I find kids who haven't been to funerals to be sorta baffling. *LOL* What sort of long-living family do they have anyway?

TerriOsburn said...

From age 5 to well into my 20s, I never attended a funeral. No one I knew well enough passed away. Then I attended 3 in 18 months.

It's always good to have a label maker.

Leslie Langtry said...

My kids have been to funerals since they were toddlers and we've always taken them up to view the remains - explaining what's going on.

I don't see any point in not doing that either, Hellie!

TerriOsburn said...

This wasn't lack of taking me. This was lack of funerals. Don't remember my parents attending any without me either. What can I say? The 80s were good for my family, I guess.

MsHellion said...

Then you belong to a baffling long living family. *LOL* No surprise there.

And I didn't know anyone at these funerals other than my own aunts, who weren't the ones dead. I found it annoying to attend funerals of old people I never met, but my parents insisted it was character building. I suppose it is. I go now without much prompting.

Leslie Langtry said...

(singing) "It's the cirrrrrrcle of lifffffe!"

Bibliovixen said...

Your posts always maked my day a bit better. This one cracked me up even more than usual!

Di R said...

What a great story! I cannot wait to tell my husband when he gets home tonight. (He'll need it after another day as 'acting manager')

I don't remember going to any funerals as a kid, but we didn't live in the same town as my extended family.

Di

P.S. I would be more weirded out by the scary doll hiding behind the couch than an urn of ashes. (Of course I wouldn't stick my hand into it.)

TerriOsburn said...

Yeah. What's up with the doll? We might need a picture of that.

P. Kirby said...

Ugh. No creepy doll pictures, please. IMO, most dolls are like clowns, creepy *ss f*cks.

I never went to many funerals when I was a kid, either, except for a viewing (so Janet Evanovich) when my bf's dad died. I remember finding the whole business bizarre; I think it cemented the idea that I want to be cremated. Set me on extra crispy and scatter my ashes somewhere nice like Kaua'i or New Zealand.

Maureen said...

I'd run with it, Leslie. Just let repurcussions echo across the blog-o-sphere.

"She's gone too far this time in her research. Now she's keeping dead people in her house! Where any unsuspecting - idiot - can touch them!"

Funerals? Well, seems to me I went to a few, but really, all I remember are a huge number of cousins and playing afterward. Was even the same sort of atmosphere at my Dad's, five years ago...

As for me, if science can use me, they can use me. Otherwise, light me up and scatter me. Donate a bench on the bluff in my name for a memorial... ;-)

irisheyes said...

Very Funny! Reminds me of the Monty Python Art Festival interview. They brought Graham Chapman's remains out on the coffee table placed it in front of all their chairs on stage. I think Terry Gilliam moved to cross his leg and kicked the urn over and spread Graham all over the stage. They all got up and started scooping him up into the urn, they had a dustpan and broom, someone went and got a portable vacuum cleaner. It was hilarious!!!

I'm Irish so I've been going to funerals since I could walk. LOL Actually, though, I don't remember going to a lot of them until I was in my teens or older. I have 6 siblings, most older than me. So, in my house, I remember my mom and dad getting dressed up for a "night out" and it was usually a funeral.

I've taken my kids since they were little, too. I knew since all of their grandparents were alive that sooner or later they were going to have to face the death of a loved one and I wanted to ease them into the process. And like Maureen said, it was usually a big party with all of their cousins.

Unfortunately, I was right and they've been to way too many funerals in their lifetime. And surprisingly, most were cremated. That was unsual when I was a kid but everyone's doing it now! In fact their grandmother sat on my father-in-law's dining room table for 2 years in a tupperware container until he passed and we put her ashes with his and buried them together. That's the thing - what do you do with the ashes!?

Leslie Langtry said...

I saw that Python interview! It was GREAT!
I have to give Betty a break here - she's a 14 year old me. Look out world!

TerriOsburn said...

I think I've seen that Monty Python scene as well, but I can't remember where.

That explains everything about Betty. Sticking her hand in the vase is no longer surprising.

Leslie Langtry said...

I know, right? I was an IDIOT when I was 14.

TerriOsburn said...

I'm sure everyone will find this totally shocking, but I was a bossy PITA when I was 14. I'll wait while you all get back in your hammocks.

MsHellion said...

Huh. Does this mean you'll turn 15 this December, Terri?

Di R said...

LOL! I love you guys-I really needed the laugh today.

Thanks!

Di

Maureen said...

I think I was 14 when I was at my uncle's and tried to figure out the naked guy in the barrel toy... Adult toy.

Lift the barrel and find his...ahem...rising to meet you...

I was soooooooooooooooooooo embarrassed!

Leslie Langtry said...

I had a few uncles like that too, Maureen...It's called being 'Irish.'

TerriOsburn said...

I'm so confused. What does Mo's uncle's adult toy have to do with this conversation? LOL! Did I miss a turn in the conversation??

Hellie, I'm ignoring you. In case you hadn't noticed. *sticks out tongue*

TerriOsburn said...

Unless her uncle's ashes were IN the adult toy. Now that might be a fun way to spend eternity.

Maureen said...

Hey, thought we were sharing terribly memories of being 14.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Leslie let me just say that you are one of my favorite writers! I think it's great that you keep loved ones remains with you - I currently have four of my beloved dogs in various boxes or urns around the house myself. I know a few folks who think keeping their ashes with me is weird, but since I haven't learned how to mummify anything yet, and taxidermy is so expensive these days, it was the most logical option. Plus, when you're in the military you try to pack light and these were big dogs!
I would have had my mother too but she went out West with my big brother - she always did like him better than me! Although cheapskate that he his, she resided in a cheap wooden box for a while before he decided to "set her free" on the bank of a mountain stream. The rat never did 'get' her - she'd have been happier if he'd released her ashes outside a Bloomingdales - nature gave her the hives... 'Course if I'd learned that mummification technique sooner, he wouldn't have been able to get her remains on the plane, although where I would have kept her would have created bigger logistical problems...she wasn't exactly a small woman! And could you just see the look on the moving guys faces when they came to pack me up for the next move?? Thanks for sharing Ms. Leslie (and I love you Mom!) BLW