|A perfect example. My dad with Jamie's dad before our wedding in 2007.|
image credit: Noble Images
We met with the funeral home to proof his obituary and sign the cremation papers. Sitting in a showroom of urns and coffins is really awkward. They gave us tissues, but I don't think we needed them. We weren't crying, or maybe we were, but it was because we were laughing so hard at the usage of the words "pulverize" and "tumble" when it came to signing off on Dad's cremation. It gave us the best/worst mental image that we couldn't help but laugh at, and we're certain that my dad would have been laughing as well.
There wasn't a funeral; we're not that formal. Dad's memorial service was the always emotional playing of Taps with the 3-volley salute followed by a reception full of eating and drinking at the VFW. None of us wanted to speak or have anyone speak. We all knew who he was and what he gave to us and we really didn't want to exhaust ourselves any more than we already had, emotionally. After a couple hours at the VFW, we continued on into the evening back at my parents' house to fully celebrate my dad's life with more PBR and peach schnapps (two of his drinking staples) than you could shake a stick at. We partied in The Bar, a place rich in drunken family history. A place with a real bar bar, and also a workbench. A place for drinking and fixing things.
|An example of my ass-hattery and the bar workbench in 2009.|
|The bar half of The Bar. Yes, it's like a full-on bar, man, in 2010.|
We spread Dad with an old measuring cup and a plastic spoon. (Like I said, we're not formal.) First was the large burn pile that was to be burned the following evening.
Next, we put him in the pond, where after more than half a century, he finally learned to swim.
Then, it was into The Bar where we put him in the brass foot bar as well as in his seat behind the bar.
|(I like to tell people who sit there not to fart on my dad.)|
Did I mention that we poured beer and peach schnapps everywhere (outside) that we put him?
|Pouring "Papa's Peachka"|
|Okay, we didn't pour all of it!|
The night after we spread Dad's ashes was The Grand Re-Opening of Darrell's Bar. The new name (Darrell's Bar replacing The Bar) came with the new look, yet wasn't a purposeful change. We all just started referring to it as such and was natural in transition. It was the beginning of a new era and there would have been no better way to kick it off than with a big party.
Where The Bar had tools on the walls and stuff on the workbench, Darrell's Bar had pennants, signs, and photos on the walls. The workbench was now a clean surface with photos on display under a clear coat of people from parties-past. Mom created added seating space with a counter top and vintage bar stools on the previously full-of-junk third wall as well as finding a cool booth for the center of the room.
This new-old space is a place to both carry on and move on without my dad. "To Darrell!" can likely be heard echoing through the neighborhood when we have a party, and if my dad were around to experience the nearly-constant toasting, he'd relish in it. He was just that kind of guy, so we humor him with toasts, stories and remember-whens.
|Remember when Dad took a shot out of a beer mug that had a bicycle bell on it?|