While my daughter was down to see me, she wanted to scatter her late husband’s ashes at a place he enjoyed. He grew up in the Deep South, home to swamps and marshes, alligators and snakes. One of the places he liked was Bayou Manchac.
My family is unconventional. We’re also spur-of-the-moment. After we ate supper, my daughter decided this was the time to do it. At ten o’clock at night. In Manchac. On the swamp.
Ten PM driving down a deserted two-lane road to the boat launch at Ruddock. Now, the only reasons anyone would be at the boat launch is they either had to pee, wanted to make out, or get rid of a body. My daughter added another reason this night.
To add to the excitement and terror, when we exited the interstate, some guy followed us. We pulled into Middendorf’s because a police car was there. Our stalker pulled in beside us and, because of the looks of fear on our faces, he started making “it’s okay” hand motions. Yeah, I’m sure most serial killers do the same thing.
We took off back toward home but turned around because my daughter really wanted to do this tribute to her late husband. Now, Manchac and Ruddock in the daytime are spooky. They’re isolated areas surrounded by greenish-black swamp water and still, dank air. At night, the eerieness increases tenfold.
When we pulled up to the boat launch, I told her I would wait in the car because the thought of scattering ashes creeps me out and the swamp sounds and isolation were scaring the beejeesus out of me. Later she told me I was a contradiciton, since I myself want to be cremated. I told her when my time comes, I’ll be past the point of caring but right now I don’t want my living body covered by the dead.
But, back to story. At the boat launch. I stayed in the car and watched as my daughter scattered my son-in-law’s ashes across the water. In the windless night, they were gently settling into the calm swamp – except, from my point of view, my daughter was about to be awash in her deceased husbands ashes.
I couldn’t get the window down to warn her, so I jumped of the car and yelled, “You’re about to be ashed!” Right when I did, the ashes turned and came at me like a charging bull. I’m not sure what sounds I was making, but I think it went like, “Akk! Whaaaaa! They’re coming! Oh, (explicit)!” and I jumped back in the car and watched as the ashes crossed in front of the headlights.
I was in 100% freakout mode. All I could think of was my son-in-law was laughing so hard, he was shaking heaven.
From the safety of the car, I watched my daughter stand with her head bowed. I knew she was reverently respecting the moment and possibly talking to her late husband. As I watched, I caught sight of lights. For a split-second, I thought, heavenly? But, no, it turned out to be halogen.
Once more, I jumped out of the car (thankfully, the ashes had disbursed). “Get in, hurry up, someone’s coming!” I yelled. Honestly, I don’t know if scattering ashes is littering, but I didn’t want us to take the chance of a ticket. I also didn’t want us to be sitting ducks for a serial killer. After all, we were in an area known as a body dump.
For a good portion of the way home, we were laughing so hard we almost peed ourselves. This was the ultimate Donald “gotcha” moment. We heard his laughter, we knew he was telling everyone up there about our Keystone Cops moments (well, mostly mine) and we knew this was the perfect tribute for him from his quirky family.
Donald, we love you and miss you, but your spirit will always be with us, jokes, pranks, tricks and all 🙂