Monday, April 8, 2013

A Curious Lightness of Spirit

I've been thinking about my (late) father a good deal lately. The Brass and Steel novel(s) and short stories are set in the late 19th century, a period about which my father, a former museum director, professional researcher, and historian had considerable expertise. Alas, I hadn't even thought of the series by the time he passed. Most of my regular readers (all three of you) are likely aware of all this.

My father was a nautical buff. He grew up along the Hudson River in New York. The story he told was that when he was in his late teens (I want to say 17), he'd tried to run away to see as an assistant to the engineer on a freighter. Alas, his family found out and was able to drag him back before the ship departed. (As with all his stories, one must take a certain amount of salt - the man had serious memory problems. He believed, in any case, and that's what's important here.)

Instead, when he was old enough, he went to college, he joined the Army and the National Guard, got married, raised children. In the process, life took him further and further inland. He read about the sea, talked about the sea, thought about the sea, all the way up to the last few years of his life. He never got there.

He will.

My father has begun the first leg of his final journey. In a few days he will arrive at the Naval base in Portsmouth, and from there he will board a Navy ship, and somewhere out in the open Atlantic, he'll finally, finally, become one with the sea. The parting of ways that began five years ago when he died reaches its end. He goes the way of the dead, and I, the way of the living.

Bon Voyage, Dad. The wind be at your back.

-JRS The Navy's (free) Bural at Sea program.
Medcure (Final arrangements for the cost of donating your remains to science)
Having a funeral/wake for a loved one for the cost of coffee and cookies: priceless.

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