Accompanied by my wife, two sons and a garter snake my sons dubbed "Fred," I deposited my mother's alleged ashes at Chapel Falls in Ashfield, Mass., this morning. I say "alleged" because the dusty grit in a carefully-sealed plastic bag was a uniform consistency and color ... a reddish-tan sand that puffed slightly in the wind as it dropped towards the river. "Uniform consistency" strikes me as an odd descriptive for any human being, living or dead. Helen White Eustis, 98, "uniform consistency?"
I asked if anyone wanted to say anything. Ives said, "Well, it was a good run, Oma" and I said, "She was an honorable woman. Not always easy, but honorable." I chanted lightly, "namu dai bosa," ladeled out three spoonsful of ashes waved over a little incense, then dumped the remainder of the plastic bag into the river below.
Fred, from his perch five or six feet away, didn't move.
Then we all came home.