Saturday, October 20, 2007

I, cannibal

IMG_6400_1Mom and dad have been instructed to meet my uncle at the Oyama General Store at noon. It sounds very much like an invitation to a duel or a schoolyard fight, but because my aunt and uncle are now both retired and from Ontario, this is the way they speak.

The task at hand is the scattering of grandma's ashes. The idea is that they will travel up the mountain over Kalmalka Lake and find the same bluff where we scattered grandad a little over ten years ago.

The only thing is that no one's gone to scope the place out yet, so since the last time we were there the logging road may have fallen into disrepair or may have been fenced off or any number of things may have happened that would prevent them from finding it.

Regardless, I hope they find a place they think is suitable. It doesn't really matter if it is the same place because funeral rites are more for the living than anything.

When we scattered grandad, we drove in a convoy up the gravel road through I have no idea how many switchbacks. I remember it being sunny and dusty and the lake was green. We found the bluff and all stood along it. I anchored myself against a pine tree that gripped precariously to the rock and then the people who had been jovial at the cremation ceremony two years previous were suddenly all silent. We waited for the wind to die down.

As they dumped the contents of the box over the edge, a sudden updraught came from nowhere, and I took the full brunt of grandad's assault. I had ashes in my hair, clothes, eyes and mouth and I had no idea how to react. Is it rude to spit your grandfather out of your mouth?

I swallowed and then I uttered those fateful words that I've never been able to live down: "I ate grandad."

Years later in a seminar class, the instructor singled me out for my name. He'd taken classes with someone who had the same name and wanted to know if we were related. "University of Windsor Political Science?" I asked.

"Yep. He really loves to tell crazy stories, eh?"

"I'm the niece that ate grandad," I replied.

His eyes widened as he made the connection. I got a good mark in that class.