This boating experience was different than any other we have had. For the past year and a half we've been looking forward to spreading the ashes of my Step-Grandparents in a body of water from our boat. After a trip they had taken many, many years ago out to Seattle and seeing the ocean, they had decided when they died that they wanted their ashes spread in a body of water. That is one of the things we did on this boating trip, however my Dad wanted to write an excerpt on that journey, so here it is...
I know that sounds mean but admit it we all have wanted to do that at one time or another in our lives. Well we did drop my in-laws in the Missouri River this last Saturday but it was at their request. You see it all started at a Thanksgiving dinner at their house back in the early 90’s when we were talking about death and burial and cremation. I know perhaps not your standard fare of conversation but you know how families are at holidays, too much wine, too much turkey and too much information. Anyway my in-laws said they wanted to be cremated and have their ashes mixed together and spread on a waterway that would lead to the ocean.
Well in 1995 my Father-in-law died of a heart attack at the age of 69. Howard was a great guy, everything you could ask for in a father-in-law. He took the time to know you and showed a sincere interest in your life. He was the most cheerful man I ever met as he always had a smile on his face. I always wished he would have lived for another 20 years so I could show my appreciation for him.
In 2011 my mother-in-law, Vera died at the age of 86. She was an Iowa farm girl with German descent, that should say it all. As a son-in-law I loved her because she could make some obnoxious statement and I was the only one other than Howard when he was alive that could tell her how crazy she was to say that. It was apparent to everyone that she loved me as her own son and deep down inside (I mean real deep) I loved her too, even though we had our differences. But you know at the end of our conversations or debates we always hugged and said we loved the other.
Anyway back to the story, so this past Saturday my daughter Lauren and Joe had offered to take us out on the river to say farewell to Howard and Vera. It was a perfect day with the temps in the high 90’s but a slight breeze coming across the Missouri river. Other than my wife (oh by the way her name is Sue) her brother Chris and his wife Judy were all aboard "Running Bare" (Joe and Lauren’s boat).
We launched the boat and floated down river to the Casino’s because Howard and Vera loved to gamble and used to go to Vegas 4 times a year after he was retired. We all agreed that would be the special place to make "The Drop". So when the time came for Sue and Chris to gently let Howard and Vera go on their final voyage we all tossed a red or white carnation on the water to honor their lives. As I let that flower go and watched it on its way I could feel the tears slide down my cheeks thinking about all of the great times we had together and knowing we had fulfilled their final wish. It was total silence for the next few minutes and then the stories began. Another beer and another story, another tear and another laugh, another sigh and another deep breath, funny how you can cry one moment and laugh the next.
Another great day on the water that we’ll never forget, just like we’ll never forget Howard and Vera. God bless them.
One Grateful Son-In-Law
The other great thing that happened while we were cruisin' up the river after dropping off the ashes by the casinos, was seeing a nice 30-ish ft boat with some people in it just gazing at our boat as it past and they told us to stop. So we went back over to them, and turns out one of the couples on the boat were the previous owners of our boat, the boat we fell in love with the first day we saw it. It was so cool to get to finally meet them after 3 years, and talk to them a little about the boat and everything. You could see in his eyes he still loved the Donzi and he said they wished they hadn't have gotten rid of it. I always think its amazing the love people have for a certain boat that they once owned. I think if you've had more than a couple boats, one always sticks out as a favorite. When we asked them why they decided to get a different boat they said they wanted to get an open bow since-when boating on the river-its easier to get in and out of. It was great though to see the love that the previous owner had for the boat that we enjoy and love so much. Not that we really had to meet them or talk to them to get that impression. The boat was immaculate when we bought it, you could tell it had been well taken care of. It also helped that he was a lead mechanic at the local marine center! So a special thanks to Craig for our beautiful boat. We couldn't be happier with it!
After that things settled down alittle. We noticed the cove on the river that just a month ago was open and had many boaters hanging out, had signs posted and no one was there. Perhaps it got too shallow. Maybe they were no trespassing signs. We didn't get close enough to see. But there are a few big sand bars to pull up to. And Saturday everyone was heading north. So many boats on the River. It was a perfect Day.
Next weekend be prepared, we're heading to Perry Lake!