A year or two ago, my mother decided to throw nearly everything out. A blessing in some ways except that the kept all of the junk and gave away all the good stuff. This included my possessions. She picked through my boxes in the basement, took what she wanted and threw out anything she didn’t understand. It’s important and not important, I guess. I’m still kind of pissed off about it, oddly.
Anway, I, of all people, ended up with several generations of family photos. Yep, the one person in the family who’s not going to be having kids. My family tree has has fruit, but on other limbs. Back tracking a but, my Dad had an older and younger brother. This side of the family is busy reproducing.
My mother had one sister. Neither I, nor my sister are having kids and my aunt is a spinster. Their dad was an undiagnosed mentally ill alcoholic, and their mother — if being passive-aggressive was an Olympic sport — could have been the country’s team captain. So, it’s no surprise that my family tree’s got some dead branches in it. So, what to do with the kilograms of family photo albums? As it happens, I’ve a pal in the same state. He’s the one member of his family not having kids and one corner of his flat had boxes of family photos. I mentioned to him that I was going to fill up my vehicle with my photo albums and spend a day driving to my nearest relative.
His nearest family members were in the same location so I offered to deliver his albums. Fortunately, he has the same sense of humour and we agreed to play a joke on the next generation by swapping family albums. Have find sorting it , posterity!
This one is disturbingly true. It reminds me of my own bi-polar mother’s trophy collection. Of course, this cartoon is a bit of an inkblot test as we look at it with horror reminding of ourselves of the time they painted the kitchen orange, decided to clean the house which meant unrecoverable losses, or the time it was decided to start a puppet theatre. They however, would look upon this cartoon, laugh, and talk about ‘all the fun we had.’
The fine folk at the policy journal known as Cracked Magazine have collected five tips for writing a funeral oration for someone you dislike. Someday in the future, everything you love and cherish will stop existing and you will die. Heavy, I know, but there is a silver lining to that oblivion cloud: The same thing will happen to your enemies, and with any luck, it will happen to them first. No one ever wins in life, but as long as you strive to be the very last loser, you may have the luxury of watching awful people fall around you.
I already know what I’m going to say at the funeral of my bi-polar parent. It’d be vulgar to use the event to get in the last word so I’ll be brief and stick to what she believes her greatest traits were, et cetera, and then dive into glorious generalities like observing she faced a variety of health issues over her life. A eulogy (from εὐλογία, eulogia, Classical Greek for “good words”) is a speech to say goodbye the recently deceased, not to quote the ending of Casino Royale, however tempting.
I’m selling the house in which I grew up and am in the process of emptying it. This includes my bi-polar mother’s trophy cabinet.
She took up the piano again about a decade ago when my dad retired and has had a slowly growing cabinet full of awards she would always point out to guests who’d come over for dinner. It was a ritual she’d go through ever time we had any kind of gathering where she’d pretend not to want to draw attention to the glittering rows of statuettes and cups. Oh, how I remember well the cold winter day we bought it. We had to shoehorn the cabinet (she needed one that could have light installed) into the back seat of the car when the collection was too big to fit on the mantle. I remember because there were three of us, it was winter and I had to get left behind in the gloom and cold because the six-foot tall cabinet left no room in the car for me.
While I do appreciate music, I’ve never been to one any of her recitals and therefore assumed that when I heard her struggling through a piece (sounding rather to me like Dr Frankenstein on a Bavarian organ in some mountain top retreat in a Hammer film), it was because this was some sheet music that she was in the process of learning; or that it was a difficult number that she wasn’t able to yet play at speed.
I mean, what else was there to think?
After we moved her to the retirement residence, I had to move her trophy cabinet and its contents to her new flat from the family home I prepared for emptying the trophy cabinet by assembling sheets of butcher paper, string and many tomato boxes to protect these hard-earned awards. After the first two were bundled and boxed, I began to notice something. In retrospect, I should have known. It was when I stood there watching the snow fall through the window, holding a chipped plaque with a ringuette player that read ‘Bronze — 1982′ that the scales fell from my eyes.
The two most prominently-displayed cups that I had packed first were truthfully her own. One for participating in her first year recital and one for being the best in her age group at that event. The other trophies — all of ’em — were sporting and other awards she must have bought at second hand shops. I can still see the patches of glue where the aluminum name plaques were prised off. Lacross, Hockey, and other generic Graeco—Roman plastic trophies, plus one ‘Swim for Israel’ — we’re not Jewish — made up the rest of the contents of the over-full cabinet.
And they keep begging us for children!
Chief Inspector Dreyfus, from the Inspector Clouseau films.
This character, played by the Czech actor Herbert Lom, was driven ’round the bend by the bungling of his subordinate. In the end, the man cracked. Though, at the start of each film, he was there again, ready to be driven insane by the antics of the policeman played by Peter Sellers. I imagine my mother’s funeral. My family is full of long-lived women so I imagine it’s a long way off yet; but one day I’ll have to deliver a funeral oration rather like this.