But you see, he’s still in a box in my closet.

Unnerves the heck out of my family at times, I’ll tell you. I joke with them, and tell them that this way he keeps up on things, that I go in and chat about the day’s activities while I’m deciding on what shoes to wear. He used to be on the mantle, but that made a few visitors nearly swoon and give me nervous looks. Last year, a recordable toy that you could leave your message on got lost in my closet after my son had recorded some gobbledy-gook on it, and it kept going off. We were sure it was Daddy trying to communicate from the Great Beyond. Well, that was a little nerve-wracking. Hubby was telling me to get my dadblamed daddy out of the closet right then! Luckily, we found the toy before we had to move Daddy to the garage—and before an exorcism had to be performed.

So a little flashback is required here to see why he’s still in the closet and probably will be for the foreseeable future. As previously mentioned, two years before Daddy went fishing with the Lord, Mama headed that way first, to set up the picnic. Before she passed, she told me her last wish, and it was one which I found really odd. My mama couldn’t swim, she was actually quite terrified of water, and she had once told me that she’d had a premonition that she would drown (she didn’t). So her request was that her ashes be sprinkled over the ocean. Sure Mama, whatever—makes perfect sense to me.

We had the “funeral”—and all family members know exactly what I mean by that—a more whack job of a funeral I’ve never been to in my life, but that’s a whole other story (let’s just say Daddy had obviously found the liquor for the reception, early on). Relatives flew in from everywhere for the shindig. First time in ages we’d all been in the same room. Death certainly brings you closer, doesn’t it? On the spur of the moment, we all decided that we would wait until sunset, go to the ocean and take Mama’s ashes out onto the jetty and let them go free to find the Lord. Sounds wonderful, doesn’t it?

Well, we might have forgotten in our desire to please Mama one last time that this was actually illegal. Oopsie. We forgot that sunset also means the sun goes down and you can’t see a dadgum thing. We forgot about the tide coming in. We forgot a lot of things.

We also forgot my daddy was blind.

We headed out in a caravan of cars and got to a nice spot by the ocean to spread the ashes. Then we realized that half of us were in dresses and to spread the ashes we would need to climb rocks to get to the “jumping off point.”

Hubby took the lead. He had Mama in the box under his arm and was trying to climb up a rock cliff to get to the water’s edge. Half of us finally managed to clamber up the rocks. The other half decided to remain on the beach and ask for descriptions later.

Suddenly, the people on the beach started asking how long this was going to take and had we noticed that the beach was disappearing under high tide (of course not, it was too dark!)?

Daddy was down there yelling, “What’s happening, I can’t see! Is she in the ocean yet? Anyone have a match for my cigarette?”

The family members on the beach quit waiting for the spreading of the ashes; they started getting all the kids off the beach before they drowned or some nonsense. Daddy wouldn’t leave, he wanted to wait for me—just great. Hubby got to the top of the cliff, and we said a prayer and released the ashes. Guess which way the wind was blowing? That’s right folks—Hubby got a bucket load of Mama in his face.

It was almost dark and we realized that below us there was really not much beach left to get back to, and we didn’t want to stay on the rocks to find our way back, that would have been too dangerous. Hubby threw the box down into the sea. It immediately came back and wedged into a crevice in the rocks. “Um, Hubby darling, this is illegal—what we’re doing here.” I told him, “There is now a mortuary box on the boulder where anyone can see it and track us down. It has our name on it.”

Hubby heaved a big manly sigh, wiped a bit more of Mama out of his hair and headed down the ocean side of the cliff to get the box. The tide was getting higher, the wind stronger, current nastier, and the dark was coming down on our heads. Someone told me to get my Daddy off the beach. He wouldn’t leave till I came and fetched him though, so I left Hubby to the box situation and clambered on down the rocks to Daddy. As I was walking him off the beach, he was rambling on about his cigarettes and asking if the spreading was lovely or not—I told him to feel Hubby’s face. We were then walking in water, tripping and stumbling on little rocks and heaven only knows what else. Hubby was still on the wrong side of the cliff in the dark, and I started getting worried.

Suddenly, full dark came. I was yelling for the family to guide me off the beach. Still no Hubby. Finally, I heard harsh cursing and the clunking noises of a body falling in back of me, so I know that at least Hubby was on my side of the cliff, injuries notwithstanding. Daddy noticed nothing, he was blind after all, and didn’t even know it was dark out. He just wanted a match for his cigarette before he expired from his nicotine addiction.

Hubby showed up wet, bruised, and with Mama bits on his face. He did have the mortuary box, though, so at least we wouldn’t be arrested. We got to the car, exhausted; a few of us almost got swept out to sea or fell off the cliff, one or two of us had ashes in our hair, and we were all wet. It was then that Daddy announced to all, “That was beautiful —I want the same thing done for me when I die.”

That, dear friends, is why Daddy’s in the closet!

Idgie at the Dew is the pseudonym for a very talented editor/writer who has an incredible “southern sister” online magazine called “Dew On the Kudzu.” You can check it out at www.dewonthekudzu.com.

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