Death and All That Junk

Unclutter you life…

In order to be remembered, leave nothing behind but love. Life would be less complicated if we lived by fortunes told in cookies.

            Unfortunately, when we die, we’ll leave our worldly possessions and a body. A discussion with her maiden aunts revealed to my daughter that she’d inherit their possessions when they passed.

            “You’ll also be in charge of our funerals.” Aunt Deedee said.

            “I already heard this from Mom and Dad. Why am I in charge of all the dead people?” My daughter said.

            “You’re the youngest and most likely to outlive us. Remember, your mother and I want simple cremation and the ashes spread.” Her dad said.

            I actually wanted a Viking funeral, body in a boat and flaming arrow, but there are laws.

            From my daughter’s point of view, being the youngest person had the drawback of having to deal with all the bodies. The oldest person had to deal with all the crap before the grave. As the oldest, I had to deal with my dad’s crapton of junk.

            Dad always used his kids as gofers. A recent amputation and new composite leg limited navigation of stairs. Dad now had an excuse for us to fetch things despite being grown and living independently. Every visit he sent us on a journey to find stuff in the belly of the beast or in the Hellhole a.k.a. the basement and the garage.

            This summer Dad said, “Your mother’s hot. Get the fan under the stairwell.”

            From other forays into the vast unknown, it was best to fortify with a snack. A cell phone was another good idea in case one became lost or if a mountain of junk fell on top of you.

            “Dad, why are you saving all this cardboard?” I said.

            “I was going to recycle it.”

            Was Dad waiting until he had a tractor trailer load? A grandkid could’ve built a castle on the scale of Windsor from all the cardboard. Next visit, I’d have to bring the truck.

            Oh look, I found my snack. A cluttered table held half a pack of petrified crackers from the Jurassic Era and a half a bottle of water. In the off chance that I’d unleash alien life forms mutating inside the water, I didn’t unscrew the lid. Above the table hung a muskrat pelt from the Lewis and Clark expedition. 

            When Dad became mobile with his new leg, Mom had to take up the throw carpets. The four totes of carpets I moved to get to the stairwell were spares. I knew where this many throw carpets were to be thrown, in a Goodwill collection box. I made it past two pairs of hip waders and three golf bags. One bag looked as if it may have came from the guy who invented the game. Careful not to knock any canned food from the seventies off the shelf, I hit the back of the stairwell. What was I looking for? A fan, there was no fan.

            The basement was cooler. I suggested that Mom retire there. I’d run a TV down and bring lunch.

            Thinking that I was blindfolded while searching, my sister was also asked to look for the fan. We found it months later in an upstairs closet. Mom was now cold. Please, don’t make me look for a heater.

            On five separate visits, I searched for drill bits. Reaching blindly into boxes, I hoped nothing bit me. I found empty wine bottles, a can of Raid (empty), and took a hit to the noggin from a camp toaster. I asked myself, ‘Why not buy Dad a set of drill bits? Because then you’d have to search for the drill.’ Came the answer.

            Then there was the zucchini noodler. After Dad described the gadget, I still had no idea what it looked like. In an hour of searching, I found two of every other gadget. Instead of zucchini spaghetti, I suggested that Dad slice the zucchini and make parmesan. He asked me to order another zucchini noodler. Ordering wouldn’t leave me with contusions and abrasions.

            Please let me remember these expeditions during spring cleanup. Let me leave my daughter only love and ashes.

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