Sunday, June 28, 2009

88, 79, 96, 86, 95, 86

All in all, Thursday the 25th was a pretty darn fine day here in the Norristown area, and not just because the daily number in the Times Herald was the highly soothing one recorded in the title of this piece. It was also a good day for smelling the last of the Great Northern Catalpa blossoms, and a good day for appreciating the annual display of the Tiger Lilies, which the stupid books insist on calling Tawny Day Lilies.

What we've always called Tiger Lilies are, of course, day lilies, even though it's hard to believe each one of the thousands (tens of thousands?) of flowers stretching down both banks of the creek is a one day wonder that will wither in the night and be replaced next morning by a new blossom. It's not a one for one replacement, actually. It's more like a chain reaction that builds from a few to an uncountable proliferation of flowers each day, and then tails off slowly over the course of a few days.

But I was talking about Thursday, and how it was a good day; I was not meaning to dwell on the short lives and deaths of a multitude of day lilies. Thursday was also a good day for pondering why one of our cousins seemed to want to talk about nothing except his unconcern about aging when he came by for coffee with me and Jas a couple of Saturdays ago. And it was a good day for thinking over the fact that another one of our cousins made a point of mentioning his purchase of a burial plot when Jas and I called him last Saturday morning.

A burial plot! Burial plots are surely sold to old people, very old people. They're sold to people so old they need a magnifying glass and not just a pair of drug store reading glasses to check the ages of the folks enjoying (in a manner of speaking) their fifteen minutes of fame in The Norristown Times Herald obits. We have some older cousins. We even have a cousin in her mid seventies. But until last Saturday I would have thought we didn't have any cousins of an age appropriate for the buying of a burial plot.

During the conversation with the new burial plot owner we learned that the single plot is meant as a final resting place for two, which necessitated a conversation about the likelihood of ending up in the bottom bunk, so to speak, men being severely discriminated against in the life expectancy tables. We also learned that a crematorium will not simply wrap one in a sheet and shove one into its incinerator - a box is required. Which means that one must choose the box, two boxes actually - one big box and one little box. It was heartening that our cousin found a certain amount of humor in his discussions with the undertaker. He finally settled on the cardboard, excuse me, corrugated box.

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