Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Travels with Chili: Happy, Sad, Happy, Part One


It was bound to be a mixed bag. On the one hand, we were setting sail on our inaugural voyage on the good ship Chili, a trip to the Oregon coast on a weekend guaranteed to have good weather (photo above), a rare occurrence all by itself.

Wedding day, 1953.

On the other hand, the trip had a purpose to it, one that had taken more than a year to arrange, and that was to scatter my parents' ashes in the ocean off Gleneden Beach. Fortunately for my brothers and me, my mother had been very specific in her charge before she passed away.

Dad in the Navy, mid-1940s.

An inveterate rockhound and shell collector, she wanted us to take all the agates, shells and other rocks she'd collected in the years they'd lived at the beach, including her precious collection of heart-shaped rocks, and toss them back into the sea, with the idea that her grandchildren might someday pick up some of the same rocks she'd found there. (Yes, she was quite a romantic.) Then we were to take her and my father's ashes, mix them together and scatter them on the waves.

Mom on her graduation from OSU, late 1940s.

So low tide on Saturday afternoon found eight of us gathered on the shore in the bright sunshine, hurling handfuls of rocks out to sea (without beaning each other or putting out a single eye, mind you), then taking turns pouring the ashes into the waves as they rushed out into that very big ocean, crying and waving and yelling our farewells.

Read Happy, Sad, Happy, Part Two.

7 comments:

Lorrie said...

Beautiful post. May the weekend have left you with a wonderfully bittersweet peace. Thank you for sharing this with us.

kab said...

Thanks, Lorrie. It was definitely a weekend to remember!

Anonymous said...

We scattered my Mom's ashes in Nehalem Bay from the boat launching ramp dock at Nehalem Bay State Park almost 3 years ago. It was a sad but happy day since it was a place my parents enjoyed. My Dad wants his ashes to go to the same spot. We might include some of the shells/rocks they collected near there when we do Dad's ashes.

kab said...

Lovely! I told Dave I want my ashes on the compost pile. I'm trying to get him to pick an exotic locale like Mt. Kilamanjaro. Assuming I live longer, that is!

w. said...

Love the old photos! Glad to be able to share such a special weekend. Janet would be so proud!

kab said...

You are such a gem. We are so lucky that you've joined the fam! (Despite all our obvious shortcomings; you've definitely classed-up the group!)

dds said...

So glad you had lovely weather, Chili, and a wonderful family to share this weekend with. (I'm sure the steaks and cocktails weren't too shabby, either.)

It's such a mixed bag of sad and celebratory. Thank you for sharing.