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Sunday, May 02, 2004

Ignore typos, please. Spellchecker isn't working to my liking today. Will try to correct them later.

My dream from last night.

So. There I was, standing in front of the place where there used to be a mausoleum - a nice one, pretty large, made of tan colored and reddish-orange veined marble. And instead of the mausoleum, there was nothing and off to the side....a snack shack. Small, battered from wind or snow or some beating from the elements, made of wood and not large enough to hold more than 3 or 4 people comfortably. An old Coca Cola brand label hung across the doorway, also old, weathered and paint chipped.

The narrow room was fairly dark. I couldn't notice any source of light, although I looked for one. There was a narrow counter made of old planks of unkempt wood to the left, behind which sat the shopkeeper. Her feet are propped up on counter next to a plastic kid's basket filled with small change and a little unorganized pile of single dollar bills. She nods pleasantly when I walked in, no trace of a smile on her face but at least no open malice. There was a small stock of candies, a drink refrigerator (which looked remarkably like the drink fridge at my office, only this one was incredibly empty - holding only 2 drinks of unknown origin), a small collection of magazines and crossword puzzle books (that all looked remarkably just like the one I have on my couch table. Go figure...) - I even remember at least one coloring book. No crayons to be seen, however.

When I walked out of the shack, the mausoleum was back, although in miniature form and limited to about the height of an old Ford Mustang. It was surrounded by about 7 older men, probably in their 60's, all collaborating and discussing the architecture as though it were a broken down old Ford Mustang. Much pointing and muttering going on. And then a small busload of what seem to be tourists flood past me, nearly taking me with the current back into the snack shack, but I manage to avoid being swept away and walk towards where the family grave plot is. Except I can't find it. What kind of daughter, granddaughter and niece am I? I can't even find the family graves, even though I've been there a number of times and it's really not a hard plot to find. So after wandering around aimlessly, I head back to the crowded shack, to ask the groundskeeper for a map. Strange as it sounds, there were maps provided by the cemetery from as far back as I can remember that had names on the map to be able to locate loved ones. But I can't find the groundskeeper and end up asking the shack lady, who reminds me a bit of the wife of Benicio del Toro's character in 21 grams (which I saw again last night) except the dream shack keeper's hair is much.... wider. (Lucky girl.) I don't get any good information out of her, and I don't remember what she actually said, so I leave the shack again and go back towards where I know the plot to be.

The weather is untouchable - there's no direct sunshine, but it's not cold. There's probably some clouds in the sky, but I really don't notice. Slight breezes, but only every now and then, and I only notice the breezes when my hair is blown around a little bit and I have to tame it. The men around the mausoleum are likely still there, but I don't notice them. The tour bus and the tourists are idling in front of the groundskeeper's shack and the snack shack, kind of looking a little bored and disinterested. There's only about 20 of them mulling about, but in groups of about 4 or 5, so it doesn't seem like they've taken over the place.

I finally, not sure how, reach the family plot, and although I'm certain the order of the gravestones should be different, I stand and take it in. My grandfather's headstone is dullish gray, speckled, polished and neat. My grandmother's gravestone, to the left of grandpa's is a dark red, speckled with gray, black and red chunks of color. The engraving is plain, the writing bland. I don't read what it says. A small picture, which I don't recognize, is engraved at the top of the rounded stone. To the left of grandma, Uncle Bud rests. I don't actually notice the color or shape of his gravestone. To the right of grandpa, dad's headstone. It's gray. Speckled. Boring. I don't read it. A picture, like his mom's probably, is etched across the top of the stone, but I don't bother to look at it. I know without looking it is likely a religious drawing. I don't care to check. I notice that all of the headstones have a vase attached to the left side. Dad has a new bunch of flowers. Someone was just here visiting. Grandma and Bud have new flowers as well. Grandpa's haven't been changed in a while. So I take one from Dad's vase, one from Grandma's and one from Bud's (although I consider taking a couple more from Bud's) and put them in Grandpa's. I notice a small, narrow ditch, about the same length as my forearm, between grandpa and Dad's graves. And I kneel down on Dad's side to inspect the contents of the ditch. A small tape player, with one of the headphones in the vase of Dad's tombstone and the other headphone tucked away in the ditch. The tape had finished, so I took it out and flipped it over. Put it back into the ditch and pushed play. Grabbed the other earphone and listened for a few seconds before realizing that I was kneeling at the head of my dad's grave.

(Side note, when we would go to the cemetery, my dad was always very much into watching where you walk or kneel or sit. You were never to walk, kneel, sit or trample across anyone's grave, but most especially not the head! Of course there was always the case that when someone was cremated that you had a little more free reign, but it still required a lot of respect. There wasn't anything wrong with kneeling, sitting or standing at the head of the grave if the person had been cremated, though.)

I put the earphone back in the ditch and stood up, taking a few careful steps back....then woke up.

And realized a couple of things. Dream Kirsten didn't recognize that Dad was cremated. So I really could have listened to the tape to hear what it was. I haven't written my aunt a letter in ages. My dad's been dead for 10 years, this month. I wasn't nearly as dreadful after waking up as I would have expected.

I should plan a trip to the east coast so I can visit my dad's grave. At least once.

Currently stuck in my head - Me First and the Gimme Gimmes - Uptown Girl

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