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March 25, 2009

This morning Xy unplugged one appliance in the kitchen to plug in the toaster. Unfortunately the cord from the first appliance landed in the second toaster slot. So now we have black melted plastic in the toaster and a damaged power cord. Both can be repaired, but it remains an object lesson in why you shouldn’t prepare breakfast without your glasses.

Persephone woke early and so did I. We said hello to our houseguests. Yes, houseguests! Erkki and Raili arrived Tuesday afternoon. There was a bit of a mix-up because Erkki left his mobile phone behind, but they found their way to our house in Mid-City eventually. We had a late lunch at Mandina’s, and then I gave them the Misery Tour. (My typical route: Lakeview, Lake Pontchartrain at Mardi Gras fountain, Gentilly and the London Avenue Outfall Canal, and then the Lower Ninth Ward. I’ve come to realize that the Misery Tour is not so miserable for me because I live in the flood zone and see the aftermath every day.) Later we ventured to the Quarter with Xy and Persephone and got some beignets at Café du Monde.

But that was last night. This morning I put on black clothes, bundled Persephone off to daycare, saw Erkki and Raili off to catch the streetcar, I rode to work, and from work I caught a ride with the two Elizabeths and Elliott out to Providence Park on Airline Drive. We were there for the funeral for Olivia’s husband Michael. It was probably the shortest such service I have ever attended — fifteen minutes, tops. I hugged Olivia and told her it was chaos at the office without her. She called me a liar but thanked me for the lie anyway. (I wish it was a lie!) She seems to be bearing up well.

In addition to family, there were a bunch of people from work there too. I guess that’s an extended family of sorts. I got a ride back with Jim, and we discussed various ways of being remembered and memorialized after death. A funeral makes you think about such things. I’ve always imagined I’d want some sort of bizarre ritual to mark my passing, but I came to realize that I’d rather have my survivors feel free to remember me in the way they see fit. Funerals are for the living.

After work, Erkki and Raili passed by the house one last time. They’d spent the day in the Quarter, seeing the essential things you must see if you’re only going to be in New Orleans a little over 24 hours. Before they left town, Erkki thanked me for the tours I’d given them, saying that I’d shared a little of the “spirit of New Orleans.” He said they saw the city with slightly different eyes because of the perspectives I’d shared. I thought that was nice.

Raili & Erkki

I really have missed Erkki and Raili. I suppose I think of them like a second set of parents. (Their daughter lived with us in Indiana for a year as an exchange student back in the early 80s. So, if she’s my sister, then they’re my parents. I only wish my real parents could get a chance to meet them.) It was really good to see them both, and I wish them a safe journey home.

Published inJournalLife with Xy


  1. liz liz

    It’s true what you said about funerals being for the living, but not to the exclusion of the wishes of dead. Having just planned a funeral for my father, who didn’t leave us with any instructions, part of my wish as one of the living was to do something he would have wanted us to do. Which I think we did. And that meant a lot to me.

  2. Scottica Scottica

    That look a like you 2 in 20 years or less…..the soul doesn’t age, so don’t get bent, it’s just the husk baby, it’s just the husk….

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