Funerals and ceremonies are for the living. The dead care nothing for where their moldering remains are lain. When I considered all the places that my dad "would have liked" I realized that his favorite fishing hole would be a great place to scatter the little baggie of ashes and bone bits that my mom had given me in the Spring.
I could've just put them in my yard, but I felt this drive to put them somewhere more "meaningful" (whatever that means) in an effort to give me some catharsis from the trauma of having my father ripped away from my life. My dad and I had some great times fishing off
Apalachicola, Florida,so I decided to go hold an ad hoc ceremony on a boat bouncing in the waves right in a place loaded with good memories: Bird Island, Apalachicola Bay, Florida. If you look in the above map. the island shown below (Bird Island) is barely visible to the west of the gap between St. Vincent Island and St. George Island. This is an old photo because last week the island was over a half-mile long.
So, since we only have one car, and since Mickelle's parents and sister came into town for the weekend, I convinced my grandfather and my uncle to drive over from Atlanta, Georgia to pick me up. We then drove ten hours down I-95 and across I-10 to get there. My dad's good friend John Mitchell drove down from Atlanta separately. Friday morning we got up early and met our fishing guide, and my dad's good friend, Captain Jimmy Maxwell, at the Scipio Creek Marina and boarded the boat for a day of fishing and paying homage to my fallen father.
We started out well, Captain Jimmy got all the baitfish we'd need with the first cast of his net. From there we went out into the bay and began catching speckled trout and white trout. I was using a double-lure rig and four times I caught two fish at the same time. We caught lots of cats, ladyfish, croakers, a bluefish, a mackerel, a couple of ground mullets, and a whiting or two before the day was done. Papa (my dad's dad) landed a 27" redfish; all in all we bagged 60 fish.
At about 2PM we motored out to Bird Island found a quiet place on the bay side of the island and held the service. I started by talking about my dad, everyone said something nice, and I commented that his faults were no worse than anyone I knew and especially anyone on that boat, and that my memories of him are good, and that he was missed, and I wished he could've been there fishing with us. Papa and I then scattered his ashes in the water, and I said a prayer, asking Heavenly Father that that portion of my dad's remains might nourish the Earth and help replenish it. Captain Jimmy asked to say a prayer and Papa and I embraced as he asked that Heavenly Father bless all of my dad's family.
After that we fished for a little while longer and then headed back to shore, sunburnt and feeling relieved that the mourning process had been furthered a little.
I still miss my dad. I can't believe it's been a year. Damnit!
UPDATE: I can't write well today. Pardon my sophomoric language; I couldn't help myself.