Monday, November 17, 2008

He's Dead, Jim!

Yes, Bones, he is. My father died almost exactly four years ago. (I joked at the time that the election would kill him, and it did. I still joke about that, since my jokes are often inappropriate.)

He didn't have a lot of sentimental stuff, or stuff in general. He had boxes full of slides, and I spent some weeks going through those and paid to have the best ones converted to prints, that I put together into an album. So that was nice. My friend Bill still has some tools in his garage that we cleared out of my father's car and apartment. His car had like 200k miles on it and a slipping clutch and squealing brakes, so that went to charity. I kept a few books but donated the rest to the LA Public Library. There was a lemon squeezer I remembered from when I was a kid (of all the things to keep!). Not too much else. The dude travelled light, you got to give him that.

But he had this little stone Chinese lantern. Not as big as the one above, maybe only 8" high, but the same basic design. It would sit on the coffee table or end table when I was little. It came in three parts - the base (four legs), the top (like a hat), and a middle section with little windows. All balanced on top of one another, they weren't attached. Somewhere over the years, the middle section had been lost and/or broken, but the two remaining pieces were packed away. But I didn't know what to do with them. I thought if I could find a sphere about 4" in diameter, I could balance it in the middle; but the top part wouldn't sit right on that, I found. I needed a sphere that size with a flat side. But I didn't know where to get one. Then I noticed that that is the design of a lot of glass paperweights, like the one above. And I saw one at Pier One. So now it's all put together and sitting in my office. Yay!

Oh, and to bring it all full circle to the quotation: it now sits on the shelf in front of a big stack of The Truth Is Out There: Christian Faith and the Classics of TV Science Fiction (Brazos, 2006), in which I give a Christian reading of Star Trek. Next to the stack are the dude's ashes. I don't know what exactly to do with them, as he didn't leave directions, and my wife cannot abide being in the vicinity of anything that reminds her of death, anyone's death, so there they remain! I thought it was better than the trunk of my car, though he might have liked that better, in a way. My father loved Star Trek. He hated Christianity. He would've hated my book. But, hey, you don't get to pick how you're honored when you're dead, do you? So there it is, his own little shrine! And for all my flippancy, I do hope he likes it in whatever way he is capable of now.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was quite an inspiring reflection. Thanks.

4:02 PM  
Blogger Michael Bridgman said...

While I can't say that I knew your father, I know what it's like to want to create a personal monument with the ashes of a loved one. Being the only one in my extended family willing to take on the ashes of the departed, I currently hold the ashes of my grandma and aunt next to the television in my room (one of the two focal points within). As such, I would encourage you not to let your wife's numinous fear of the dead convince you that you are doing anything wrong or weird.

1:08 AM  
Blogger KPaffenroth said...

No fears there, mate. I pretty much do my own thing.

8:49 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home


Triumph of The Walking Dead