The Cremains

My father passed away a week and a half ago.  This was decidedly not a funny event in my life, but my older daughter and her two children came for the funeral, and life in our little cottage with the three of them added in for the past week has provided plenty of funny things to write about.  I will be busy in the next week or two, recounting it all.

My father wished to be cremated.  In discussing the memorial service preparations with the funeral director, I learned a new word.  When you are cremated, not buried, they do not call the body the remains.  They call it “the cremains.”

I did a little cremating myself tonight, and I almost served it up as supper.  Apparently, I am not very good at multi-tasking, especially if part of that multi-tasking involves talking and cooking at the same time.  I had come up with a lovely, creative plan to feed the tribe: boiled potatoes with broccoli tossed in, with cheese and cream of chicken soup slopped all over it, and the whole thing thrown into a casserole dish and baked in the oven.  And bacon.  It was going to have bacon in it for flavor.  It was guaranteed to be a real winner.  How could one go wrong with all that good stuff blended together?

Everything was steaming along just fine, until my daughter wandered into the kitchen.  We got into a theological discussion.  We ALWAYS get into a theological discussion.  This is what we enjoy talking about.  A conversation between us is not complete without solving all the doctrinal controversies of our day.

The bacon that was nearly done to perfection one moment became charcoal the next.  I had left it sizzling on too high a temperature, and poof! Cremains.  I was disgusted with myself.  I haven’t smoked up the kitchen like that since I burned the chicken soup dry a few years ago.  We were teetering on the verge of a grease fire for a few minutes.  Everyone came to the rescue.  My husband bounded into the room to turn the kitchen fan on, disconnect the smoke alarm, and deliver a lecture.  Beebee ran to get fresh bacon.  She did not relish the idea of the cremains being tossed in with the rest of the casserole, and insisted that since at first I did not succeed, I should try, try again.

I did try.  But first I needed to get rid of the grease from the burnt batch of bacon.  By this time, it had cooled a bit, so I dumped it into a plastic yogurt cup and left it to solidify.  Things were starting to look a little better.  We had disposed of the porker cremains in a suitable urn (the wastebasket), and the second batch was busy poppin’ and a-cracklin’ in the fry pan.

“Mom! — Oh, never mind.  Just don’t look.  Don’t look.”  Susan calmly pushed me out of the way so that she could get to the stove, while I thought, “Now what am I burning??!!!”

It wasn’t burning.  It was melting.  The bacon grease was still too hot, and it had melted that plastic yogurt cup down to half its size.  It looked a bit like Frosty the Snowman in the middle of a spring thaw.  Fortunately, the cup collapsed from the top down, rather than springing a leak in its bottom.  Susan deposited the awful little mess in the wastebasket, next to the cremains.  How fitting.  The crispified pork rinds reunited with the fat they had left behind.  Very touching.

We managed to get the second batch of bacon done and in the casserole with the spuds and green stuff.  Other than scorching the cheese on top, we had no more mishaps in getting supper on the table.

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