The aging process is somewhat like an untamable behemoth that will have its way, regardless of a person’s best efforts to stay ahead of its dictates. Knowing this, being cognizant of its inevitable toll, fighting the good fight of delaying the winter chill of life as long as we can, is a worthy pursuit.
The very perception that we are in this or that time frame of life can at times be a challenge, but rising above and peering down at our travels along life’s trail has merit. There can even be a joy to that levitation — that rather detached taking of an inventory of past events in one’s life. It can even bring on a breezy mirthful attitude, that “oh boy” realization that you could have done this or that differently.
My wife Joan and I, along with several of our children, had a wonderful evening this past week. While out to dinner, we rapped about our demise, funerals, cremation and cemetery lots, along with attitudes concerning death issues. Our conversation was, at times, jokingly light. When we visited about cremation, my dear children offered lighthearted advice about what along with me should be cremated and what to do with the cremains.
What should be cremated?
One son thought that, for my sake, my accordion and bass violin should be cremated with me. Then a daughter piped up and said, “and . . . and . . . uh . . . then we could put the ashes of you, the bass and accordion in a large new-fangled snow globe, and when we felt the need to once again connect with you, we could just turn on the globes built-in pump and you could fly around like a 1930s dust storm.”
I offered that my remains would pile up along built-in fence lines and sift into a turn-of-the-century small replica of an old farm house, all inside the globe.
To keep this irreverence going, I submitted: “Oh, surely, the snow globe should have a music box with a wind-up spring. A little bit of work lifting this contraption and winding up its spring will be good exercise," I offered. You know the old ax: “Work is good for you.”
Pushing this impiety along a bit, I wondered aloud which song the music box should play. Offering that my dear relative’s interaction with the globe should be a happy moment, I suggested the “Beer Barrel Polka.”
We were on a roll at this point. Other musical selections came to mind. How about “Bye Bye Love?” No, no, it should be “Don’t Come Crying to Me.” Another: “Seems Like Old Times.” And another with a gender problem, but a local connection: “Ding, Dong, the Witch is Dead.”
While writing this column, I laughingly filled an older granddaughter in on the music box-globe idea and asked her what tune she would want. Surprisingly, she said The Judds' “Grandpa (Tell Me 'Bout the Good Old Days).” She told me she recently heard it and she was moved by it. That choice is something for a 23-year-old these days.
My accordion beckons.
Perk Washenberger, Aberdeen, a retired real estate broker and business owner, now musically entertains people in senior living and care centers and at community events. Write to him at email@example.com.