828. The scattering

828ashes

It’s funny. After forty-eight years of marriage, Patsy and Martyn had decided upon cremation but they had never discussed what to do with the ashes. Currently, Martyn’s ashes were in a little urn sitting on the mantelpiece.

“I should really just throw them into the fire!” Patsy found herself talking to the ashes quite often. “Into the fire and be done with it!”

And then she would have a little weep and a little laugh and wondered, really, oh really! what she should do with them.

She thought of scattering them in the garden and growing plants. The thought of vegetables was disconcerting. It would be a rather round-about sort of cannibalism. Eventually she decided! She would go to the beach, wade into the water, and tip the ashes out into the ocean. That way, it was like an infinite dispersal. Free as an albatross! An eternal surge of life!

Patsy drove to the beach. She waded into the water. Just as she emptied the urn, a larger than usual wave knocked her over. The watery ashes splashed all over her dress; grey speckles clung to the fabric. She was drenched in her husband’s ashes.

Patsy drove home wet to the bone. She couldn’t stop laughing. After all these years, she thought, after all these years, the dress goes into the washing machine and the husband goes down the plughole!

41 thoughts on “828. The scattering

  1. Cynthia Jobin

    Well now, Patsy’s troubles may not be over. Though cremains are called ashes, they’re not really like those in the fireplace, but pulverized bone—more like very coarse sand. Patsy’s plumbing is going to get clogged, unless most of the “ashes” fell off her dress by the sea. Then she’ll have to call a plumber to plumb her husband out of the pipes…..

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      1. Cynthia Jobin

        LOL!! When I was six or seven, a parcel arrived by post one day–about the size to accommodate a soccer ball. I went to pick it up, out of curiosity, but my father swiftly got to it first.
        “Know what this is is?” he asked as he shook it and I could hear something rattling inside. Of course I didn’t know. “It’s instant people,” he said. And that was that.

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                1. Bruce Goodman Post author

                  Throw another cannigristle on the BBQ…- an aphorism can be used many times and remain an aphorism. A neologism (like virginity) can be used but the once before losing its appellation.

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  2. noelleg44

    Reminds me of the lady who wanted to release her husbands ashes in Puget Sound from a ferry. When told it was illegal, she just took the ashes to the bathroom and flushed him. He ended up where she wanted him to be.

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  3. Ellen Morris Prewitt

    My mother really does want her ashes to be thrown into her favorite ocean. When I’ve mentioned this, some folks say, “Well, I don’t want to be swimming in that ocean afterwards.” As if the ocean were an otherwise clean place. Now you’ve given me practical advice: time the toss.

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