Jack Forgot Dad’s Ashes

Patrick tells JP and Christine about his father’s ashes and how Jack accidentally left them in Louise’s car for a year, and then how they were finally scattered near Tampa by Patrick’s five-year-old daughter Allison.

Before the recording started Christine had been describing how she saw ashes being scattered for the first time. After Patrick’s story, she added more about watching a friend scatter his father’s ashes in the Pacific.

Here’s a transcription of the conversation.

Jack was in his wife’s car, the Pontiac, and he opened the trunk to put in my suitcase, and said “Oh, my god,” and there was the box of our dad’s ashes, and he’d forgotten all about it. Thank god that his wife Louise didn’t know they were there in the trunk, she’d been driving this car for a year.

So I said, “Don’t worry, I’ll take them with me to Tampa and I’ll do it.” He said “Okay, great.” Then he opened the box, and opened the plastic, and ran his fingers through the ashes and then he said “The bastards. They took his gold teeth.”

[laughter]

CR: You’re kidding.

PM: I’m not kidding. So he put the top back on, I took the box. My daughter is five years old in Tampa, and her dog had died a couple of weeks before. The neighbor had poisoned the dog. Anyway, so we dug a little hole in the back and Allison threw in some flowers and said “He was a good dog. He always came when I called him.” Then we covered him up, right?

I said, “Now let’s go to the river, the Hillsborough, and this is granddaddy and we’re going to put him in the river so he can go to Mexico.” And she said “OK” and we went to the river and she threw the ashes in the river and he started off to Mexico.

CR: [About Scott scattering his dad’s ashes in the Pacific] That’s quite an interesting experience, I’ve never seen that before, and of course I expected them to be spread out like that.

PM: What did he do?

CR: He put them, he literally just dumped them. Just walked a few feet into the water, not even to the deep part …

PM: The big parts sink and the little parts float.

CR: Then you see it just kind of washing out to …

PM: When I wrote it I said it looked like the Milky Way going down toward Mexico.

CR: Then you have to ask, is it really, what if it’s really someone’s ashes? Know what I mean? You’re creating a whole new …

JP: A level of trust …

CR: No, not trust …

JP: you’re trusting them to do what they …

CR: Not a trust. Putting those ashes in the water has to affect the environment somehow. Something is going to change because those ashes are in that water.

PM: Oh, like the butterfly wings…. [referring to the butterfly effect, a concept of chaos theory, and indirectly a reference Ray Bradbury’s story A Sound of Thunder.]

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