My father didn’t care what was done to the remains after he was through with his carcass.
“Light me up” he said mischievously, “and toss what’s left away.”
Thankfully there are professional body burners who spared us the trauma of torching old dad and they did so in a manner which likely wouldn’t have bothered him much as he was very experienced in the art of setting himself ablaze.
The old feller had a secret passion for fire and had spent months under medical care for serious, self inflicted burns even though for three decades he preached to many questionable characters about spending an eternity basting in the flames of hell.
To get a party started, dad would splash gasoline on just about anything to ensure we all heard and felt the whoompf of ignition as well as making certain no one close to him ever sported a combustible amount of upper body or head hair.
On more than one occasion the aging pyromaniac almost lit us all up like roman candles as his ill planned flammable maneuvers caught a little too much wind and tarp awnings / kid’s ears.
Yep, dude certainly had a love affair with flames and in the end they hungrily devoured his body until there was nothing left of him but a few pounds of salt and pepper ash in a gallon size brown plastic mayonnaise container lined with a thin poly bag.
At the plantation I removed the closure ring which was in place to seal the inner bag and slipped it into my pocket to give to one of dad’s kids.
Then, with two night-owl, semi-interested witnesses monitoring my 3 AM deed, I crested the small hill between the parking lot and train tracks and in the dark tumbled ash over tea kettle half way down the other side, winding up a stone’s throw away from The Last Spike.
After the commotion there was little time for words as my car was running with the driver’s door open so I dusted off my knees and elbows, picked up dad’s plastic bottle coffin and scooted like a bandit back over the hill.
It was the last mix-up for the old fella, he would blaze no more.
As for myself, I was just nicely getting started and once
underway I could already feel the heat flushing my
face. It felt different and good. Very, very good.
Thank you, friend.