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.