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Sharing the Dead

“It’s a comedy,” my friends said.

mom's sketch

a sketch in my mother's journal

When we pulled into the parking lot, I realized they’d lied. They wanted to see Alien 3. They thought that if they got me to the theater, I’d have to watch the movie. Then I’d realize how much fun scary movies were.

“You can go see the movie if you like. I’ll wait,” I said. They did not think I’d wait in the car for two hours. But I had a book to read.

I’ve been called uptight and stubborn more than once.

The blood and gore isn’t what is magical about Halloween. I prefer something closer to Dia de los Muertos, and though I have recently spoken to a medium, I don’t mean talking to the dead. Just honor them. Remember them. Tell a story about the ones who’ve died and you’d like the world to remember.

Don’t we tell stories to remember?

My mother wore an over-sized fuzzy robe, socks, large hoop earrings, and glasses. She sit like this on weekend mornings, drink her coffee and eat almost burnt toast. It was when she laughed the most. In my memories anyway.

Share a story someone else ought to know.

Happy Halloween.

10 thoughts on “Sharing the Dead

  1. Dang it, now the only story I can think of is about the time my friends took me out to see Life Is Beautiful. “It’s a comedy!” they said.

    “But it’s in the artsy theater. Those movies are always depressing.”

    “It’s called Life Is Beautiful, that doesn’t sound depressing!”

    I walked in, reluctantly, sat down and saw subtitles and whispered, “It’s not in English. It’s going to be depressing.”

    “It’s called Life Is Beautiful.”

    Half-way through: “It’s a movie about the Holocaust!! This is going to be depressing.”

    “It’s good so far, isn’t it?”

    I was depressed for a week after I saw it. My only consolation was that at the end of the movie, I got to say, “I told you so.”

    • And you reminded me of when I saw Life is Beautiful. It was my job to get my friend out of her house while her husband got her surprise birthday party ready. I let her pick the movie because, well, it was her birthday. She picked Life Is Beautiful. She started crying in the middle of the movie and did not stop. She was still crying when we got to her house. She was sobbing when she opened her front door. SURPRISE!

      “What,” her husband asked, “did you do to my wife?”

      She did have fun at her party, but what a great start.

  2. Not very nice of your friends to try to trick you like that. I’d have sat in the car too. Will. Not. Watch. Gore.

    I like to think that uptight and stubborn are positives. šŸ™‚

    I love the image of your mom in her robe and socks, but still wearing her earrings. šŸ˜€ She sounds comfy, with a touch of glamour.

    • Some people say uptight and stubborn. Some might say polite and determined. My friends ended up apologizing, and we’ve all grown and changed since then.

      That is a favorite image of my mother. I used to tell her that she’d always be in my memory like that.

  3. One thing about your family stories which always surprises me is when I remember you’re an only child. If I didn’t have three siblings with whom I’ve repeated stories of our parents over and over, I don’t believe I’d remember a third of what you do.

    But let’s see, a story…

    For a time in the 1970s, Dad had this big OLD red Ford pickup, and did I mention it was OLD? Probably not quite an antique at the time — from the 1950s maybe — with running boards and paint dulled by the years. Dad being Dad, whatever its running condition he’d find an excuse, er, I mean reason to go rummaging around under the hood. But because this was Dad’s first truck, and a fairly big one, and because Dad himself was fairly short, he couldn’t reach everything under there easily.

    So what he’d do was step up on the front bumper, and step OVER the grille and radiator. (Back then, cars and trucks weren’t packed nearly as tightly under the hood as they are now.) With his feet braced on some hidden part of the truck’s frame he’d then just sit down and lean forward and go to work on it.

    Somewhere, one of us has a picture of Dad like this, taken from about 20 feet away, at a vantage point directly in front of the truck. He’s wearing an old navy-blue hooded sweatshirt, the hood thrown back on his shoulders (he never wore it up, as far as I know). The hood of the truck is raised all the way, like a gaping mouth. The headlights stare at the camera sullenly.

    And Dad is about to be chewed and swallowed.

    • That must be a great photo.

      I often wonder what else I’d remember if I had siblings. Something about not having siblings that puts more pressure on a person to remember. If I don’t tell the story, who will? (Though I realize siblings may tell the story differently.)

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