Monday, February 6, 2012

Woofer Does Dad In A Box

I've been spending a little quality time with Dad over the past day or so. This may not seem like a big deal to most people but Dad's been moderately deceased since 1992. Which begs the question, "How can you be spending quality time with your dad?" Okay, stop the begging. I'm gonna get around to that eventually. However, it would be totally out of character for me to write a blog and not digress all over the place. As noted in previous blogs and by people that have tried in vain to hold an intelligent conversation with me, I am the poster child for digression. Maybe we could hold a telethon, get Jerry Lewis, raise funds and try to find a cure.......

Did I digress again?

Okay, grab a cup of coffee, a Mai Tai or maybe even a vintage bottle of Everclear and some Welch's grape juice. This could be a long one. If it goes on too long I'll call a recess somewhere in the middle (if I can figure out where that is) and we can all run outside and play dodge ball or something. Depends on whether you grab the coffee or the Everclear.......

Alrighty then. A little background. I can hear you all now, "Oh lord, not the background." The background may help make a little sense out of the rest of this story. Possibly. Alright, probably not at all, but hey, I'm having fun......

Dad and I parted ways by mutual agreement when I was 5 years old. Dad hated kids, Mom didn't. Dad liked to drink (a lot). Mom and I were pretty much in agreement that this wasn't such a great idea. When Dad would drink he would like to play a game called "Professional Boxer," choosing a nearby family member to be his sparring partner. This usually did not end well. It was determined, by some of us, that as a family we shared little in the way of mutual interests. By a vote of 2 ½ to 1 (my sister was almost a year old then so her vote wasn't counted fully) we decided that a little time away might be in order. Just a short break. Like maybe a couple hundred years, or until Hell froze over which may have happened a few years ago.

The above is not a ploy for sympathy. I'm saving that for a totally different blog. A real heart-rending sob story that will have you lining up to adopt me 'cause I'm cute, cuddly and partially housebroken.

But hopefully you do get the idea that we weren't best buddies and life-long friends. In the ensuing decades we spent a total of about 14 uncomfortable, moderately hostile days together. Somewhere along the line he decided that my sister should be executor of his will and that I should be denied the fun and frivolity that attends such an honor. In other words, he did not want me to have his stuff. Which was good, because I didn't want his stuff. Finally a mutual agreement.

As part of his will he wanted no funeral. He wanted his body donated to science and then cremated. Since I had no part in this I soon lost interest and totally forgot about it. Silly me, I should have known this would come back to haunt me some day.

Need that recess yet? Or has the Everclear (and this blog) totally numbed your mind? It is 200 proof, you know. Not the blog, the Everclear.

So I receive a phone call from my sister one day, "Dad's dead, film at 11" or something like that. I have a short attention span and an even shorter memory.

Months pass and I get another phone call from my sister. Seems my nephew was at home playing video games when the UPS truck pulled up. Nephew signs for the box, sits it down beside his chair and resumes playing the video game. Sister comes home, looks at the box and says to nephew, "Oh, I see you've finally met your grandfather." Nephew busts a move that Wile E. Coyote would be proud of and is not seen for days. Not exactly how I'd plan a family reunion.

Next phone call with sister:
Sister: I've got Dad's ashes.
Me: And your point?
Sister: Well, what do we do with them?
Me: No idea. Not my problem. Landfill?
Sister: (several minutes of unprintable profanity and stuff that doesn't sound like compliments)

Let's fast forward almost 20 years. My sister recently passed away and my nephews are cleaning out her house to get it ready to sell. While cleaning out the barn/garage/shed or whatever the hell that 100 year old monstrosity is that sits next to the house they come across a box. Uh.....not good. Oldest nephew calls Donna (my wife, but you knew that.) Says that he has something "of a personal nature" for me and he would like me to stop by. I immediately go into full panic mode. Items "of a personal nature" are rarely good. But at this point I have no idea what it could be and like a cat I let my curiosity get the better of me. I go. I hate cats..........

So here I sit with an ugly brown box wrapped in 800 yards of packing tape with a little sticker thingie attached to the top. Typed on it with what appears to be a 1946 Royal typewriter are the words, "The cremains of the late Mr. Roy Baker." Which, surprisingly, is my name also. Creepy......

Hence (had to use that word, Donna loves it) my great opportunity to spend quality time with Dad. Which is not really creating great amounts of joy in my life. I have no idea what to do with this. I am the last of my line so there's nobody else to foist this off on. Well, there is my daughter, but I'd never do that to her. Or would I? I'm at a total loss here.

So okay Sis. For the time being you got the last laugh -- For the time being..........


  1. OMG this funny at the same time being sad. I rarely read a complete blog but I could not help from wanting more from this one.
    I have read your blogs before and I have said it once and I will say it again that you should write a book. I would be the first in line to buy it.

  2. Thanks! Writing a book could be a dangerous thing....

    1. Wow, what a marvelous story (I mean, beside the obvious sorry for your sucky dad/son experience). Anne Lamotte, not sure of the spelling, has some hilarious essays about her folks that this sorta reminded me of. I say, get real creative- give dad a real sendoff- you'll think of something. My first idea is one of them pumpkin shooter thingy's...

  3. I was kinda thinking about taking him with me to the Pilot House Friday night.........

    1. A friend of mine keeps her dad's ashes inside a mister potato head and, you know, rearranges him now and then.

  4. So here is my idea, take him to the pilot house, have a brewsky with him, then kick him to the curb. Sounds like he did pretty much the same to you. What comes around goes around. Always wondered why we're friends, now I know... LOL....

  5. Bury him at sea... The fire would be out, by the time anyone that counted or cared could show up to stop you. ( We have a lot more in common than you know)

  6. Note to self .... do not - repeat do NOT actually drink something while drinking Woofer Wit...

    Now, Roy ... this Can be something for the good. Get an urn of sorts... or a decorative box for "Dear" Ol Dad... place him where ever ... as a reminder of how he did shape your life -
    ...His absence in part made you the strong, compassionate person you are today

  7. Thank you all for your comments. Just to let you all know, I will be doing something appropriate with the ashes. My problem is that he never liked the area I live in, wasn't that wild about his hometown in West Virginia. Not sure at this point what to do at this point but I'll come up with something.

  8. Go ahead take him with you to the Pilot House. You can show him at least one of you had talent and you may even need a Designated Driver. (I noticed you never mentioned the everclear and grape juice after dad arrived.)

  9. Hey Roy, Google forgot me when I left Facebook. It's your campaign manager, James.

    aka: unknown

  10. Stopping by from Linda Kelly Lee's Group.
    This is a sad story, but written in such a funny way. I agree you should write a book. You are an excellent writer. All these life experiences help to make you who you are today. I believe you are a good man. I say that because you want to be respectful and do something appropriate with the ashes. I am somewhat, not totally, ashamed to say that I would have just thrown him out with the trash. I was 1 1/2 when I got out of that situation.

  11. Ahhh - how weird to have your Dad re-enter your life in this way. Births, deaths, weddings, funerals . . . . markers, mileposts, much needed moments to reflect.
    Boy, what I just said sounds like one big mush-mouth cliche - we just fuckin' hurtle forward (pardon the French) picking up speed all the time as we head for the wall. Without some kind of event to provide a marker we might not even pause and look up. Glad you had a reason to pause and write about this.

  12. If it were me, I'd take his ashes somewhere he would have liked, scatter them in the wind and let go of old ghosts.

    Thanks for a great read!

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