Day of the dead

Dia de los muertos:
When my father passed away late last summer, I figured I would hew to local custom and construct some kind of a “Day of the Dead” shrine. Just in time for Ma Wetzel’s birthday, too. Probably not going to happen because Sister got the hats, and while I got a couple of the canes, I didn’t get the good matched pair. Not that I want them, either. At the funeral service, the two good canes were crossed, and above them, a straw boater. He was fond of that style, and he was fond of his dual canes. Dueling canes. Summer hat was a real straw boater.

But that would make up the shrine, too, the bits and pieces of his life. A pocketknife, a Leatherman tool, a smart phone, gadgets he loved. A GPS of some kind, as he was always wanting to explore the uncharted areas. I had tertiary involvement in some family business, about five years back. I recall frequent trips back and forth, and on some occasions, I wasn’t as well-received as I’d liked. The problems of business with family, and the problem with being brought in at the last minute to fix an un-fixable problem. I may be good, but I’m not really a miracle worker.

My father kept a file of correspondence, notes and daily business journals, and those loose items were collected at the end of each year, stored in a yearly binder. When I flew through Dallas, I dropped off that fateful year, 2003. What it meant to me? I pawed through that material, basically, copies of letters back and forth, proposals, counter-offers and so forth. No real clues, other than seeing a great man, an empire-builder, in a slow decline. I recall including one transaction with him, from that era, and the chronicle I wrote about, it was like trying to corral a child. Not that I’d let a sense of merriment interfere with work; however, I was on the down side of that equation.

We know where I get some of my sense of wonder. We know where I get some of (self-preservationist) denial. Empire building? Think that one skipped me. It was painful and I took more than a month to sort and sift through the loose time-line of that year. What I was looking for? Clues. Were there any there? Not really. Between the lines, betrayal and heart-sickness. It happens.

My pet project will be running some of San Antonio’s local “Day of the Dead” material, scattered images for the next week or so. That’s what it should look like.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • ssmith04 Oct 28, 2008 @ 9:57

    I read my mother’s journals after she died. She kept everything, all her thoughts and clippings and everything, in pages of spiral bound notebooks.

    She also had tapes of conversations among her and her friends. I haven’t had the courage to listen to them; the sound of her voice, so much like my own, but her thoughts and words skewed by schizophrenia.

    I hope she’s at peace now, her fears gone away, her crazy ideation realigned at last. It takes years to say good-bye, really, and to become one’s own person, at long last.

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