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Ashes to Anchovies

The following tale is true. I have spoken with two of the five participants and the stories jibe. The cast of the Dramatis personae include Guy, Wife, His Sister, two water retriever dogs and Mom, whose cremated remains are in a small box. Obviously, anonymity will prevail in this tale.

Guy and his sister never had a close relationship with Mom, in fact it was more the opposite. In Mom’s final days she told them she wished to be cremated and her ashes taken to a favorite beach in Oregon and there thrown to the winds. Out of respect, the siblings promised they would heed her wishes.

So, on a bright day sometime after Mom’s demise, they arranged a small commemorative ceremony on the beach. Guy, Sis, Wife, dogs and Mom-in-her-box went to the favored beach, enjoying the weather, the salt air and watching the dogs retrieve pieces of driftwood thrown into the waves for them.

Finally, Guy decided it was time to at least momentarily cease the frivolity and do what they had come to do. He called a halt to the canine capers and had the dogs held on the beach by the wife and sister. He carefully wended his way out to the edge of a large rock in the surf, and climbed up. He was thinking of what he would say in farewell and stood for a few moments contemplating. Satisfied with his coming, albeit brief, oration, he opened the box.

In so doing he began to lose his balance and as he struggled, he fell off the rock into the ocean, the box flew out of his grasp and landed in the briny. The ashes (the only component of the drama that kept to the script) went flying to the winds.

On the beach, Wife and Sis were laughing hysterically, literally rolling in the sand as Guy floundered and swam toward the beach, yelling at them for making no attempt to save his life. All this commotion set the young dogs into a primal state and they did what their breeding had set in their DNA: they broke free, jumped into the surf and swam out to retrieve the bobbing box, both proudly depositing it back on the beach, waiting for it to be thrown again into the water for them.

It took a while before the laughter subsided. To this day the guy swears he could have drowned (he is a very strong swimmer) and utters grinning accusations at his wife and sister. He is, however, very proud of the dogs’ capabilities.

I have told a few people that if convenient I’d like my ashes dumped into the Tongue River, near Miles City, Montana. If you happen to be driving I-94 Eastbound, maybe you could do it. Just be sure to stay well back from the water, the banks can be quite slippery.


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