Months To Years Winter 2019 Months To Years Winter 2019 - Page 26

Dad never speaks again. While Annie’s in town we decide to finalize the fu- neral arrangements for the open-casket memorial service Harold and Fran want. We have no idea what Dad wants. To get to the caskets we walk through a display of cremation containers for both humans and pets. First are the urns: cloisonné, engraved bronze, brass, granite, and pewter. Then the photo cubes, glass globes, carved wood boxes. Then the jewelry made from ash: rings, bracelets, necklaces. Then the garden art: birdbaths, humming bird feeders, fountains, sundials, glass flowers. Then the por- traits of your loved one painted with their ashes. Finally, in a separate room, a selection of model caskets - several cut away to demonstrate various over our shoulders. I’ve never heard a shriek like that since. Even though most of the time it was her idea, I got spanked, too. “You’re supposed to keep your little sister out of trouble!” After one episode, we were banished to our shared bedroom for a nap. Annie knelt on her bed while I was asleep, spread a hairpin and plugged it into the electrical socket above her pillow. Impressive fireworks and screaming result- ed as her bed caught fire. At least I didn’t get spanked for that one. Annie wouldn’t eat peas. She hated peas. So she layers of construction. hid them: in her pockets, behind the curtains on The one we choose is made from cherry wood. bottle, up her sleeves. She had to sit at the table Its joints are seamless, the handles bronze. The woodworking is impeccable, the kind of woodwork- ing Dad used to do. We agree that he would like the windowsill next to her chair, in the ketchup until they were all gone. “Eat your peas; the chil- dren in China are starving.” it, if he had a say in all this. Annie didn’t care. She had, and still has, an “But I don’t like the lining,” my sister says. Her far as humanly possible, like it’s doing now. lower lip starts to jut out. I recognize the begin- ning of every childhood argument we ever had. “I impressive ability to pout: her lower lip extends as The funeral home director brings out samples want to remember Daddy lying in something nice.” of casket liners, from silk to polka dot. As Annie “Okay, you pick – I don’t care.” about vaults.” Annie inherited Dad’s redheaded gene, and along “Vaults?” Annie and I look at each other. Appar- with it the famous redhead rebelliousness. As the oldest, it was my responsibility to keep her in sorts through them he says, “We also need to talk ently, a concrete liner or vault is required at the cemetery where Dad will be buried, so the ground check, like that was even possible. doesn’t collapse on top of the casket. It makes it It was her idea to paint flowers on the bathroom He shows us a brochure. “This one here is lined wall with Mom’s lipstick. It was her idea to stage a duel with Mom’s best butcher knives after watching an episode of Zorro on TV. Alerted by the clanging, Mom found us feinting and charging at close range while throwing imaginary cloaks 26 easier to mow the grass. with metal, strong enough to withstand a direct hit by a Scud missile.” My sister and I opt for the simplest and cheap- est. We buy an “air tray,” a shipping container for