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Will Grandma have a Dracula coffin?

Grandpa rests there, too

The Twelfth Labor of Hercules: descending into the underworld to capture Cerberus.
The Twelfth Labor of Hercules: descending into the underworld to capture Cerberus.

Post Title: Hats and the Funeral Parlor, Part 2

Post Date: July 2, 2015

I didn’t know where to sit at the luncheon, most seats having been taken. I tossed my hat onto a chair as place-saver and considered the buffet. I attempted some macaroni salad on a Styrofoam plate and my second cousin heartily laughed when one forkful had me searching for a discreet trashcan.

Ice water sufficed, and having collected my hat, I found a place outside with my cousins and in the sun. There were latticework chairs surrounding a low table and we talked. Marshall and Peter and I talked a lot about quilts and the blankets and afghans and beddings we’d received from GG over the years.

“I think my receiving blanket was washed to shreds,” Marshall said. (It was his security blanket for years.)

“Grandma made me a new quilt. Didn’t have heat in the house, so she made me something simple to use as blanket, so I wouldn’t use the good one.”

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“Grandma gave me what she felt was her best-made quilt,” I said, “and she said there was a mistake in it.” (Still haven’t found it.)

Cayde scampered about. He was munching on endless celery sticks, the only agreeable thing he could find on the buffet table.

The cousins and I were giddy, and Peter had a new beard; we grew up together. There were all these jokes and the sun was nice. At one point, I leapt up onto the latticework table. I used to walk with Grandma on the beach, and one time she found a piece of driftwood. She was wearing a floppy hat. She stepped up on the knotted log. I reproduced the moment, pointing with my hat, and standing atop the table: “I’ve come to address you, not undress you!” I threw my arms out because that’s what my grandma did, being magnanimous to this invisible audience.

Cayden asked: “Will she have a Dracula coffin?”

“What do you mean, Dude?”

“Well, she could have a Dracula coffin, or — like — that coffin with two latches and with the roof being like this — ” (and he makes a sign suggesting a dome). And, is she naked inside?”

I paused. “It’ll probably be the one with the latches, and — no — she’s got clothes on.”

The mausoleum was more ornate than I remembered. My grandpa rests there, too. There were white statues and roseate marble, reproductions of the Pieta and more stargazer lilies than the nose could want.

My grandma didn’t like the stargazer perfume. I don’t blame herb—bit smelled, truly, like a mausoleum.

The workers who shoved my grandfather’s casket into the wall wore keys during his entombment, which is a terrible jangling memory. My mom forbade keys when my grandmother was likewise buried. So, my grandma was pressed silently into a wall, as silent as can be, there always being the rough sound of concrete with workers pushing and pushing a casket to rest. Cayden cried. I held him, Jenn held him. My mom also held him and she pointed out the flower reservoirs where later Cayde could leave his offerings.

A quilt was spread over my grandma’s coffin. It was one of her first, and one that everyone remembers. It was brown, and characteristically complicated.

Cayde said simply: “I don’t want her to be gone so soon.” Faced with a coffin, he cried, things not being abstract anymore, but solidified in something that is both solid and veneer. The sudden fact of what we are dead in, and how we dress the vessels in which we’re remembered.

We were first to lay hands on the casket. I held my hat behind my back. Cayde cried.

Later: I find my kid with my cousins. Cayde asks, and in front of a statue:

“Why do we still have mythology?”

I adjust my brim, wearing a hat indoors. (Peter will tell him later all about Hercules and the 12 tasks). I say: “I dunno,” which is not my real answer.

On the ride home, I mention my grandma. I also mention, and Cayde having cried at the realness of everything: “You know we have a quilt. We have a quilt — her hands knitted it. That’s all, I guess.”

He wipes his eyes: “Okay.”

“Grandma’s still alive in our hearts,” he says again.

“Sure, Dude.” I don’t believe him, but I also do, at the same time.

Title: Daddy, Medium Well | Author: Thom Hofman | From: San Diego | Blogging since: March 2013

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The Twelfth Labor of Hercules: descending into the underworld to capture Cerberus.
The Twelfth Labor of Hercules: descending into the underworld to capture Cerberus.

Post Title: Hats and the Funeral Parlor, Part 2

Post Date: July 2, 2015

I didn’t know where to sit at the luncheon, most seats having been taken. I tossed my hat onto a chair as place-saver and considered the buffet. I attempted some macaroni salad on a Styrofoam plate and my second cousin heartily laughed when one forkful had me searching for a discreet trashcan.

Ice water sufficed, and having collected my hat, I found a place outside with my cousins and in the sun. There were latticework chairs surrounding a low table and we talked. Marshall and Peter and I talked a lot about quilts and the blankets and afghans and beddings we’d received from GG over the years.

“I think my receiving blanket was washed to shreds,” Marshall said. (It was his security blanket for years.)

“Grandma made me a new quilt. Didn’t have heat in the house, so she made me something simple to use as blanket, so I wouldn’t use the good one.”

Sponsored
Sponsored

“Grandma gave me what she felt was her best-made quilt,” I said, “and she said there was a mistake in it.” (Still haven’t found it.)

Cayde scampered about. He was munching on endless celery sticks, the only agreeable thing he could find on the buffet table.

The cousins and I were giddy, and Peter had a new beard; we grew up together. There were all these jokes and the sun was nice. At one point, I leapt up onto the latticework table. I used to walk with Grandma on the beach, and one time she found a piece of driftwood. She was wearing a floppy hat. She stepped up on the knotted log. I reproduced the moment, pointing with my hat, and standing atop the table: “I’ve come to address you, not undress you!” I threw my arms out because that’s what my grandma did, being magnanimous to this invisible audience.

Cayden asked: “Will she have a Dracula coffin?”

“What do you mean, Dude?”

“Well, she could have a Dracula coffin, or — like — that coffin with two latches and with the roof being like this — ” (and he makes a sign suggesting a dome). And, is she naked inside?”

I paused. “It’ll probably be the one with the latches, and — no — she’s got clothes on.”

The mausoleum was more ornate than I remembered. My grandpa rests there, too. There were white statues and roseate marble, reproductions of the Pieta and more stargazer lilies than the nose could want.

My grandma didn’t like the stargazer perfume. I don’t blame herb—bit smelled, truly, like a mausoleum.

The workers who shoved my grandfather’s casket into the wall wore keys during his entombment, which is a terrible jangling memory. My mom forbade keys when my grandmother was likewise buried. So, my grandma was pressed silently into a wall, as silent as can be, there always being the rough sound of concrete with workers pushing and pushing a casket to rest. Cayden cried. I held him, Jenn held him. My mom also held him and she pointed out the flower reservoirs where later Cayde could leave his offerings.

A quilt was spread over my grandma’s coffin. It was one of her first, and one that everyone remembers. It was brown, and characteristically complicated.

Cayde said simply: “I don’t want her to be gone so soon.” Faced with a coffin, he cried, things not being abstract anymore, but solidified in something that is both solid and veneer. The sudden fact of what we are dead in, and how we dress the vessels in which we’re remembered.

We were first to lay hands on the casket. I held my hat behind my back. Cayde cried.

Later: I find my kid with my cousins. Cayde asks, and in front of a statue:

“Why do we still have mythology?”

I adjust my brim, wearing a hat indoors. (Peter will tell him later all about Hercules and the 12 tasks). I say: “I dunno,” which is not my real answer.

On the ride home, I mention my grandma. I also mention, and Cayde having cried at the realness of everything: “You know we have a quilt. We have a quilt — her hands knitted it. That’s all, I guess.”

He wipes his eyes: “Okay.”

“Grandma’s still alive in our hearts,” he says again.

“Sure, Dude.” I don’t believe him, but I also do, at the same time.

Title: Daddy, Medium Well | Author: Thom Hofman | From: San Diego | Blogging since: March 2013

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