Goggie and the Boat Ride (continued)

Upon reaching Buzzie’s dock, he hopped out to secure the boat. I handed him the infamous ashes before I climbed out. He glanced down at the cardboard box and then at me. “Laura, I think this printing says ‘scatter,’ not ‘Slatter.'”
Hesitantly I looked at the scrawled lettering. It did say scatter! Oh joy! I ran back to my father who was still down in the cabin. “Dad, these are Goggie’s ashes after all!” I announced ecstatically. “We made a mistake!”
Unmoved, Jack would have none of my latest discovery. “No, I have to have proof,” he answered. “We’ll go to the funeral home tomorrow for exact identification.”
“But, Dad, I know these are her ashes.” My words were like water on stone.
“I said, we’re going to prove exact identification and that’s final!”
I turned away, feeling as though I’d just been refused late curfew on prom night. Bullhead, I thought. Goggie would have agreed.
Once at Buzzie’s house, I ran to the telephone to call the funeral parlor. Leaving a message with the answering service, the girls and I waited for a return call.
“What are we waiting for?” my father kept asking. “I’m ready to leave.”
“Oh, nothing,” we lied. And even though Jack had already made it perfectly clear he would not discuss Goggie and our mix up over the phone with the mortician, we stalled. The call came from a very polite gentleman.
“Do you sometimes write things on the cardboard box that holds the ashes?” I asked after a brief hello.
“Yes,” he answered.
“Do you sometimes write instructions?” I continued, leading the witness.
“Like what?”
“Like ‘scatter.'”
Eureka! My heart was doing summersaults. “Would you please explain this to my father?” I asked. “He thinks we have the wrong ashes.”
“I am not going to talk to anyone,” Jack ranted as I led him to the phone. “Only exact identification will do.”
I have blocked out most of my father’s end of the conversation to the mortician. Basically it boiled down to his refusal to listen to anything that resembled logic. My father and I drove home in the foulest of moods. Not a word was spoken.

It is years later and Goggie’s ashes are still in the same cardboard box stashed in my great grandmother’s trunk in my bedroom. Someday we will attempt to scatter them again. When we do, we will not tell Jack. As for the trip to the mortuary to positively identify the ashes, it never happened. I refused to go. I have made a fool of myself enough times in my life. As for my father, he has a selective memory and has never mentioned the ashes again.



2 Responses to “Goggie and the Boat Ride (continued)”

  1. Rebecca Emlinger Roberts April 13, 2015 at 5:41 am #

    This is a touching, though somewhat maddening (for Jack’s intractibdility) account of a daughter’s attempt to carry out the rituals of grief with a sense of style and flare, to honor her mother. On the other hand, Jack’s trenchant refusal to scatter his wife’s ashes, even in the face of logic, suggests that it might have been his way of refusing to let go.

  2. Lorri McConnell-Brouer April 5, 2017 at 2:46 am #

    LOVE IT!!!

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