Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Nellie's Ashes

{The Week in Five Lessons}








Lessons from the past week:

1. Never leave Montana.

2. Make sure to tell the vet to adjust the dog incinerator on "fine grind" next time. An analogy to a coffee grinder vis-à-vis french press versus espresso might sound macabre, but trust me on this one- for the sake of everyone attending the dog funeral you definitely want espresso dog ashes, not the Chex Mix we got. (Sorry, old Nellie girl! Sorry, everyone!)

3. Pet funerals have the potential to be surprisingly hysterical after the initial tears (see lesson no. 2).

4. A week away from the internet is a GREAT idea.

5. Visit beloved family and friends who live in hard-to-reach places as often as possible.

Hope you are all well. Have you read Seating Arrangements? What are you waiting for?!

37 comments:

  1. i loved seeing all your photos on instagram. that place looks heavenly. xoxo

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    1. thanks lady. i was incredibly lucky to have a pretty wild godmother who ran the old dude ranch until she died this past winter, and us kids worked our butts off in the summers as hired hands out there- best summers of my life!

      i was always on the crew-end of the operation, but it's one heck of a place to go on vacation as an actual guest if you can afford it. hasn't changed since 1922!

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  2. A lovely resting place for Miss Nellie. We still have our Airedale, Augustus McCrae, chillin' in a box in the house. Ol' Gus would've appreciated Nellie's setting, as he is named after the most wonderful cowboy character from Larry McMurtry's "Lonesome Dove."

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  3. I should mention that Augustus is cremated. And my mom doesn't want to put him in the yard in case they moved. Which is why he's still in the house.

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    1. omg i love you, naurnie. and your mom. RIP ole' gus mccae! best name for an airedale i've ever heard.

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    2. Do you know there is an Airedale called Señor Alec Thompson in Steinbeck's "Tortilla Flat"?

      Good names for beasts.

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    1. i know, so terrible you just have to laugh. hope i didn't just scar you for life.

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  5. jude (our little manx who passed away three years ago)'s ashes are still in a little box in my closet, behind my jewelry box. we have never been able to figure out where he would want to go, though part of me wonders if we should bring him to the isle of man with us when we go this summer (the trip is for him, to meet his peeps). our vet gave us the little box in a gift bag with a ribbon on the handles, and i remember thinking it was a favor from the shittiest party ever.

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    1. a BOW?! get OUT. def bring manxie to Isle of Mann, and never use that vet again.

      when we put our old childhood farm horse down the knacker man came to, um, "collect" him and as he drove away we saw all four of pie's legs sticking straight out of the back of the truck, and his tail was stuck in the tailgate. the knacker man saw us kids and beeped his horn, smiled with all his missing teeth, and waved at us as he pulled away. WITH OUR DEAD HORSE IN THE BACK OF HIS TRUCK. i should probably see a therapist about that one.

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  6. ummm...we scattered my boyfriend's family's dog's ashes this weekend in their town park, as well as those of his dog who died in 2005 and had been just loungin' in their basement ever since. i was anticipating somber poetry reading, it turned out more like bickering over where to sprinkle them, spotting teeth and nails in the plastic bag, and frantic sprinting from red ant hills. so, i am heartily, and serendipitously, in agreement with #'s 2 & 3.

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  7. All those western clouds.

    Post-weeping, I found the act of sprinkling my lovely grandmother's ashes quite fine. A Strong Wind blew that dear lady right up into my hair and clothing folds and down the front of my shirt; I found her hefty sand among my things for days (and concluded that she loved me better than the Grand Tetons).

    All those western clouds.

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    1. Amanda, this is beautiful. Did you mean to write a prose poem or did it just come? "I found her hefty sand among my things for days (and concluded that she loved me better than the Grand Tetons).

      And the use of "and" in the prior sentence so many times really captures the various directions and movements of the wind. I love it. You have a gift for words.
      ?!

      I am so moved.

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    2. Thanks, lady. I'm glad the words come out ok sometimes.

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  8. i'm fairly certain that as long as you're not leaving the deceased pet in the freezer - wrapped in plastic bags, with her name written on the masking tape holding everything together - you're doing better than my family. in fact, if you manage to remember the summer after her death to finally actually bury her, that would be pretty awesome, too. cremation sounds fantastic, if the alternative is leaving her for two winters 'chillin' in the freezer....(even if she is a little chex-mixy afterwards), am i right, or am i right? haha.

    (fyi, our pet was a hamster. so not nearly as large, or friendly, as nellie.)

    i send hugs, though, since that does sound quite traumatic! (well, not the whole 'montana is amazing' part, obv.)

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  9. We've never had a pet cremated, because we've always taken them straight home for burial. Note that many vets don't find this to be a normal option anymore and some find it completely creepy. None will let you walk through their lobby with your departed dog, which is fair enough, I supposed, because it probably doesn't inspire confidence in the waiting clients.

    Also, even human ash scattering ceremonies have a tendency to get hysterically funny, at least in my experience. Particularly if you try to get an 8 year old to take part.

    RIP Nellie-girl!

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  10. I love your photos and post about Montana (so sorry about Nellie girl!). Although half way 'round the world, *my* Africa reminds me of *your* Montana... a sure fire way to get new perspective is to disconnect and get back to basics, wherever that may be. Glad you had a great trip & welcome back!

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  11. I've been green with envy this whole time over your images! Am I the only one who's reminded of those vistas from "Legends of the Fall" when I see these? :) And thanks for the tip...didn't even know there was an option! My parents did cremation for the last couple dogs, some may find it creepy but we kinda like having a bit of them with us.

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    1. Legends of the Fall! Yes! My mum just made me watch it - she's writing a book on movie landscapes (a lot of it was filmed in Alberta). Non-stop western marathon here.

      Pet deaths are odd - they remind me how sentient these little beings are. Our old barn cat just went senile and up and left us, poor Klingon. A strange smell started coming from under the porch a few weeks later, so my theory is he came back home to die and curled himself up so far back the dog couldn't get at him. He thought things through in his old age.

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  12. Ok, I was initially horrified by lesson #2 and then I laughed hysterically. So without ever having experienced a pet funeral, I somehow understand.
    RIP, Nellie girl.

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  13. As per your suggestion, i ordered the book and it should be here today. Can't wait to tear into it, I also feel it could not come at a better time in my life, just sayin'.

    I grew up with a series of corgis and everytime we have had a funeral we scatter ashes at our favorite outdoor chapel into the creek that runs between the pews and altar. Every service we have conducted included the presence of another corgi and it seems everytime somehow the pet always gets covered in ashes to carry over into the new incarnation.

    i loved your instagram of your swimming corgi, defies all physics!!

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  14. That's it. I'm having our pups stuffed and mounted. ;) Wonderful story and pics as usual! xoxo

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  15. oh man, i was eating cereal as i read that! glad the funeral ended with laughter.

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    1. Oh Jesus. So sorry to ruin your breaky, Paige! Oops!

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  16. That first photo is a stunner! I must visit wyoming one day.

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  17. OMG you guys, these stories are TOO GOOD. I think In Dreams takes the cake, but you'll all neck-and-neck.

    Does anyone else see the obvious result of these comments looking like this:

    Pet Funerals: An Illustrated Guide (your stories, my illustrations) Yes? YES.

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    1. can i just say not only how hilarious that book would be, but how much fun it would be to make?! (i'm picturing an edward gorey-esque type of manual...) dang. i'm in.

      in fact, i'm sure there's some sort of reality tv show based around pet cremation, already drumming up business for the guide...!

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  18. Oh, goodness gracious - doggie chex mix! Maybe the coffee grind level is a secret the vet has for keeping things becoming too much of a downer. Maybe??

    I'm so intrigued by your friend's novel - guess I'll be reading it next!

    xo
    cortnie

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  19. Pffft! This whole conversation is hilarious. I want in on this book! Seriously I am getting mental pictures similar to the scene in the big labowski. "What the hell man?" You know what I'm talking about...

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  20. so happy to see these photos. reminds me of home (idaho) and the question of why I ever left is back again!

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  21. You have the best attitude. That second life lesson made my jaw drop in horror and then giggle uncontrollably. That first lesson I keep learning every time I leave home (an hour south of Missoula). That state is the best.

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  22. OMG!Such amazing shoots!Really love the pretty photos!

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  23. I spent 2 weeks fly fishing in Montana a couple years back. We fished from dawn until dusk everyday. I fished so much that my husband awoke in the tent one night to find me casting in my sleep! Ah, Montana.....sigh.....

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  24. Seeking information about your search is not a difficult task but getting your search is difficult one now a days. Try www.cremation-usa.com

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