99 months ago

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Something Completely Different... Motorcyclists and their ashes

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Wellsboro Ride September 2014

Wellsboro Ride September 2014

And Now for Something Completely Different.

I was sharing a good bottle of wine with two motorcycling friends recently. We reminisced about my late friend and his passing. I had a story about the spreading of his ashes. Each friend had a story about a person they knew. The common thread is all three of us are motorcyclists and the stories are about motorcyclists.

My late friend, Bruce, was one of the most interesting people we had ever known. There are more “Bruce” stories than I can count. The crazy things that happened to Bruce could fill a book. Bruce passed away from heart attack number eight. Bruce had taught the Sheridan Learn to Ride Motorcycle course with me years before, worked for one of the Cdn motorcycle importers for a few years and generally had some very bizarre things happen to him over his too short stay on planet earth.

Bruce wanted his ashes spread at an overlook in a favourite park. A dozen or so bikes and riders travelled up the twisty road to the overlook the next fall. As it turned out, none of us had ever ‘spread ashes’ before. Sure we had seen it done in the movies; but first hand experience….none! We spoke some solemn words and moved to the edge of the 1000 foot drop. The ashes were in a plastic bag inside an urn. We removed the bag, held it out over the edge and turned it upside down. In a flash, a gust of wind blew the entire contents of the bag into the air. Then back into the clothes, faces and hair of those of us standing there. Bruce’s last laugh on all of us.

After telling my ‘Bruce’ story, Jean told us his story. I had met Jean’s friend Rene several times. Rene road a motorcycle and ate nothing but chicken and French fries. His unusual diet may have contributed to his early demise. Rene had requested that his ashes be spread in his favourite river in a downtown park. Jean accompanied Rene’s widow to the river that summer. The brief riverside memorial was to end with the ashes being spread gracefully on the water. Little did they know that ashes aren't always a bag of dust? The bag was turned upside down at water’s edge. Rene’s ashes fell out in a ‘ball’ into the water and quickly sank. The river was shallow enough that the ash “ball” was easy to see on the bottom about a foot down. Rene’s widow stood staring for a moment and then turned around and asked “what should I do”? She answered her own question by deciding to reach into the water and break up the ash “ball”. She took a step forward and promptly fell head first into the water. The splash churned up the water enough to break up the ash “ball” and Rene’s ashes spread out in the river. One last bath together with Rene.

Surprisingly, Terry also had a story. It was a friend who asked Terry to help spread a relatives ashes in Lake Ontario. Terry’s neighbour owned a twin engine powerboat. He volunteered to take Terry and the immediate family out into the lake. The plan was to spread the ashes at sunset. The family had brought the ashes of the loved one in a cardboard shoe box. After motoring out into the lake, the boat stopped and the skipper shut off the engines.

Before anyone had a chance to say anything, the now emotional widow threw the box out the back of the boat. Off floated the box. Who knew cardboard boxes float? The upset family start yelling at the skipper to re-start the engines so they could retrieve the box and properly spread the ashes. While the engines were being fired up, the box had floated off behind the boat.

Once the boat was running, it had to turn around to catch up to the box. Power boats aren't like cars that can just do a “U” turn. By now the family were upset and vocal. They were urging the skipper to speed up to get back to the box before it sank. Full throttle and a wide arc were required to bring the boat back to the still floating box. It was now getting dark and hard to keep the dark coloured box in sight.

The boat now bore down on the box at top speed. Unfortunately, a little too fast. Boats in water don’t stop on a dime. As the boat bore down on the box, the family pushed forward to try and see the box in the rapidly darkening sky. The skipper was accidently pushed and didn't stop the boat in time. The boat ran over the box. The box disappeared under the boat. The box then travelled under the boat and hit one of the propellers. This kicked the box up and out back of the boat with significant force. It also caused the box to ‘explode’. As the relatives turned around in horror, the box and bag of ashes exploded into a cloud behind the boat. The cloud settled out over the water behind the boat. Talk about going “out with a bang”

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99 months ago

I'm thinking some akin to Hunter S Thompson for my ashes, fire them out of a cannon!