This post was half written a couple of months ago as a direct follow-up to Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die – Part I, just before I fell ill and lost part of my hearing. If you notice any jumps between past and present tenses, that’s probably why.
After Dad’s memorial service ended, the family packed up into our respective cars and drove off to get a late afternoon lunch at a local Mexican food joint that our dad was always fond of, where my brother, mom, and I got to sit down to a big lunch with the half of the family that we’d only had rare connections with for such a long time, ever since the divorce of our parents and all the drama that tends to go with that sort of event. My dad’s brothers, my uncles Warren and Ken were great through the process of helping Alex and I navigate through the heart-breakingly surreal experience of losing a parent, and getting to see how all of our younger cousins had grown up and become people we could hold conversations with was pretty cool, too. I really wish I’d gotten more pictures of the family together, but I never really think of using my camera for moments of sentiment, so much as to capture dumb things I see and find funny. (Got one of those coming up, actually!) In the spirit of my the bawdy Ward sense of humor which is our trademark, I couldn’t help finding the apparently filthy sense of humor behind the maker of the restaurant’s menu and figuring this might have been part of the appeal that the place probably held with the Ward part of my brain. It was probably stuff like the “Dirty Sanchez” burrito that attracted Dad eat there so often.
The lunch came and went and the family parted ways, as Alex and I had to get back to Kentucky so he wouldn’t miss work. On the way back though, Alex and I took a small detour through the town of Macon Georgia, where we were both born and only have a small selection of memories from. As the ride went on, Alex and I began speculating ideas for shit we thought would be funny to do with Dad’s ashes. Coming up with horrible ideas such as driving up beside our Mom in her Prius, opening the urn, scooping out a handful of Dad, and firing it across her windshield. It’s not that my mom and dad didn’t get along. They had made some form of peace over the last couple of years after my dad had decided to stop fucking up, but as I feel is probably likely with any divorced couple who stays in contact for one reason or another, the sometimes it can be fun to get on your ex’s nerves. After the divorce and my dad’s absence from our lives, they made peace when he came back, even becoming friendly with one another, albeit with slight undertones of friendly antagonism. Dad, much like myself, was a needler. If he could find a way to give the people he cared about shit and make it funny, he’d move a mountain to do it.
We also talked about mixing some of my dad’s remains into a batch of weed and bringing Willie Nelson’s prophecy to life. I recently took “my Dad” into an open mic night at a local comedy club, intending to put his urn in a chair on stage and perform a short roast, (which went comically horrible and will make up its own chapter in this story later on) and smuggled his ashes into the movie theater to see the new Jackass: Bad Grandpa movie in tribute to dad’s fascination with Johnny Knoxville and dudes getting paid to injure their testicles.
So, we’ve come up with a few loose plans for funny things to do with Dad’s remains while we keep him around, some of which we’ve already enacted, others of which, we’re planning to space out across the remainder of the year. The point of these little exercises in morbidity are to spend some time giving the man a fun little ride that would be just fucked up enough to be something he would have appreciated. We’ve come up with a couple of ideas that we think would be pretty hilarious, but I don’t want to spoil them just yet. Overall, I’m thinking if I take enough pictures and document the experiences here, it might make for a pretty funny book. The ultimate plan in doing all of this will culminate in an extended cross-country road trip to discover our dad’s final resting place. I’m thankful for the growth of a relationship that happened between my dad and my brother in the last year of his life. Dad and I never quite got that chance, but the way that Alex tells it, he and dad had a conversation on one of his long, quiet trips across the country, driving trucks for J.B. Hunt, where he marveled over the phone about the massive, beautiful view of the ocean on a high shore in a place called Ilwaco, Washington. Dad had apparently at one point, mentioned in passing, the idea of being cremated and having his ashes scattered there. I don’t know if he was ever seriously thinking about this, and neither Alex, nor myself have ever been to Ilwaco, but the plan is to get in the car and begin the long drive across America to cause trouble and scatter our dad and give him the kind of deranged send off he’d have appreciated.