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Saturday, November 30, 2013

FUNERAL RITES

alban berg quartet

I put on some Dvorak quartet music by the Alban Berg Quartet. I heard the ABQ driving home from town yesterday. They were coming on with a 30 minute piece just as I was driving up to park at home. In the house, I turned the radio on right away, and ABQ played for almost an hour. I have several ABQ cds, the ones I love most are the Dvorak quartets. While they were playing String Quartet in E flat, Op 51, I was sitting here just a few minutes ago thinking I'd like this to be played at my funeral. This and nothing else. If it plays out, play it again. No preacher. No singing. No announcements. My Bose sitting atop the closed cardboard casket on two sawhorses playing Dvorak by ABQ. Have a seat. Sit as long as you like. This is music I never tire of hearing. Dvorak by ABQ is some of the only music besides mountain music that can make me shed tears for the beauty of it. The song that made me weep the first time I heard it was Jascha Heifitz playing violin in Max Bruch's Scottish Fantasy. It threw me down onto the couch weeping. Only time that has ever happened. It's beauty wrung me out. Dvorak quartets bring tears of joy to my eyes. Especially with Alban Berg Quartet's crisp, clean edge. Back in the years discovering some classical music after high school, I found I was drawn to quartets way more than orchestras. A big bombast orchestra makes me want to go home. I like hearing the individual instruments, in ABQ's case, two violins, a viola and cello. Don't you love it when you buy a cd and the liner notes are in English, German and French.
 
alban berg quartet
 
I'm laughing at myself. Earlier, when the thought came about Dvorak at the funeral, I told myself with grandmotherly counsel, don't write about that. Then I did. The teenager that's going to do what he wants to do anyway. Arrested development. I don't have any problem thinking about such a thing as my own funeral. It's not important and it is important. It's not important to me unto totally nothing. I don't even think past my last day, because I don't want to entertain illusory notions that I can control circumstances after I'm gone. I don't want to control any circumstances but my own while living. Can't imagine wanting to control anything after I've left the body. The funeral is a ceremony in a quiet way over somebody who left the body. I don't worry over the cold grave or the crematory fire. Best to get rid of that old mortal frame before it gets nasty. I know for genealogists of the future a gravestone makes their research easier. But I'm thinking I'll let the death record in the courthouse be my tombstone. I'd like cremation and the remains thrown on the ground in the woods. Be done with it all. I do not agree with our Egyptian way of mummifying a corpse and keeping it in an underground vault. I always remember the time at the table with Jr Maxwell and Jean Phillips. Jean was making her case for why she wanted to be buried. I made my case for cremation with brevity, I want to be fertilizer. Jr said, Y'already are. How could I not miss somebody who could tell me that and not make me mad, but make me bend over laughing? I miss both of them every day.
 
lights
 
I don't like to make Thanksgiving pronouncements of what I'm thankful for. It's like asking me what my favorite song is. All I can say is, What? Like New Years resolutions. I quit that a long time ago. It's a fun thing to think about when you're young, and then you find out there is nothing to it. You can't keep a resolution a week. And so what? If I want to make a resolution, it will be any time of the year. New Years is probably the worst time to make a resolution, because it comes from outside self instead of inside self. Or it could go all the way back to Neolithic. I saw several different people on facebook told briefly what they were thankful for. I'm grateful, thankful, that the fires associated with global warming have not started in these mountains yet. Nobody wants to hear that sitting around the table at grandma's house when everybody is supposed to be happy and you're supposed to act like you're on tv and in church at the same time, only say happy things. Wha'd'ya gonna do? Watch football on tv. What else? I did all that with my friends. We didn't talk about global warming or boycotting Walmart. Justin had killed the black coyote. It hit the ground dead. He showed it to me in the back of his pickup. First coyote I've seen up close. A female. What a beautiful dog, was all I could say. We agreed we'd both like to have a dog that looked just like that coyote. We remarked at how they look like a cross between a fox and a wolf. I said a prayer for its soul inwardly. Whether anybody else thinks that's important, I don't care. I do. I was the one there. So the coyote got it's soul prayed for. It had such a beautiful face I wanted a dog with that face. Maybe in Gloryland she will be one of my pets.    
 
blue jays in the snow
 
I'm remembering Jr living up to his last day believing he was going to get better, recover and be ready to go again. To talk about dying was of no interest to him. I didn't do any of the hospice counseling about dying, nor any of the religious thing about God and hereafter. I knew Jr was in touch with God. He was like me in that he didn't like to talk about it, because there wasn't anything to talk about. Like me, he saw it in living your life every day. I didn't have to talk to him about making him see God the same way I do. He had his own vision. I don't recall that we ever had a conversation about him dying. He didn't feel like there was anything to say. I didn't either. He had his will in order and that was the only thing important. One time he said to me he didn't know if he was going to heaven or hell. I said, Hell wouldn't have ye. He looked at me for a moment with an eye that was looking to see if I was being smart with him, and he saw it. A smile came over his face. I meant he has too much light in him. I told him he'd bounce offa hell like spit off a hot skillet. I didn't feel like Jr needed any counseling on dying and everlasting life and making a drama of it. He wanted to slip on out and that was what I wanted for him. It's what I want for myself. I don't want a preacher asking me if I've received the Lord as my personal savior. I'd be laying there on my bed thinking, What the hell's it to you? Get out of my face. Let me be in peace. Very first thing upon Jr's soul vacating the body, I was asked by the ones who had come to the house if he was saved. I told them he was  baptized where the bridge is now in Whitehead by where the old mill once stood. Women on the phone. The one who kept the church record found the date he was baptized. All knew you had to be saved before you can be baptized. All were relieved for Jr. Everyone relaxed, the big question answered.
 
seen over alleghany county
 
 
 
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