Remembering Uncle Wayne

This past Friday (1/13/2012) Rebecca and I drove to Maryland so that we could then spend 17 hours on Saturday riding from Poolesville Maryland to Burlington Iowa with her parents (Ray & Reva) and sister, Francie.

We laughed and joked and talked about life, death, family, friends, politics, religion, economics and the Internets. Never a dull moment during our non-stop trip and we arrived at our destination still friends.  A great road trip with good people.

However, the trip was for Uncle Wayne’s funeral in Burlington IA.  This was a trip none of us were excited about having to make.

We arrived in Burlington Saturday evening and were greeted by numerous other family members at the hotel. Turns out, the hotel was filled with friends and family of Emery Wayne Hoewing. We spent some time saying hello before calling it a night.

Sunday morning we met up with Rebecca’s oldest brother, Link and his wife, Frannie.  We traveled down to Keokuk Iowa with hopes of seeing Rebecca’s grandparents old homesteads.  It was a bittersweet trip.  One of the homes was completely gone and the other home was in complete disrepair.  We met up with more family members and had a good Midwest lunch at a place called OGO Family restaurant before heading back north to Burlington.

Late Sunday afternoon was the viewing where we met lots of distant family members. We spent a few hours here as over 100 people showed up to pay their respects to Uncle Wayne and the family.  It was a hard time for the family.

Afterwards a bunch of us went to a local restaurant to have our long sought after Midwestern Breaded Tenderloin dinner.

The evening ended with us meeting at the Hotel conference room. Thirty or so family members got together to tell Uncle Wayne stories and get to know each other better. We had a good time.  There was a story about Room 232, Mr. 232 and the girl who said she was going to meet me in room 232 and then didn’t.  Don’t ask.

Monday morning was the funeral.  It was a somber time for us all.  Numerous family members shared memories of Uncle Wayne.  I shared a story that I wrote titled “What Rewards have you Received.”

After the funeral we got together for a lunch provided by the Woman’s auxiliary of Uncle Wayne & Aunt Barbs church. Good people – thanks.

Afterwards we did something a little different.  We got together at Aunt Barb’s for a while, went to dinner at Gator’s and then went to the Casino.

Yes – a Casino. It was a good way to spend some time with Aunt Barb as she remembered her & Uncle Wayne’s experiences at the Casino.  Some of us lost a few dollars while a few of us won a couple hundred $$.  I did not win anything.

Tuesday Morning (5:30AM) – back on the road for an east bound trip back to Maryland. Another 17 hours on the road.  We stopped only for gas and grab & go food. Again we had a good time traveling together.

We got back to Poolesville by 10PM. A couple of hours relaxing from the road trip and then off to bed.

Finally, Wednesday morning Rebecca and I hopped into the Honda and headed south back to NC.

The entire trip was a fast paced and emotional.  We are all sorry that Uncle Wayne passed away. Yet we know that all of us are on the same journey which eventually includes death.  What’s important is to get the most from life and to give as much as you can while living. Uncle Wayne did this.  We participated in this ourselves while on this road trip.

Thanks Aunt Barb, Tina, Candi, Dean, Kyle, Ryan, Kayla, Allanah, Mary and everyone else for sharing the love and time with us.

Rest in peace Uncle Wayne as we keep your memory living on as we strive to be & do the best we can in life.

Burail vs Cremation Version 1

Personal Disclaimer – The story below is my personal opinion about burial for me. I am sure that many people will have a differing opinion, and this is good. However, my opinion will apply to the last activity that I perform while on this earth.

I accepted years ago that when I die there is yet one more activity that I must be a part of. Popular tradition in America is for this final activity to be either burial in some form of Grave Yard or cemetery, or cremation and some form of ash disposal. I have decided that I want to be cremated.

Burial never really excited me for lots of reasons.

The Cost – an average Funeral with a viewing, embalming, grave side services, funeral procession, etc, costs a minimum of $9,000 plus a $2500 casket – this is a whopping $11,500 and I don’t want to have that much money left over when I die.

Funeral Homes – I have attended a few funerals in my days and I have never enjoyed being there. After each funeral we would go to a family members home and have a far better time remembering the recently departed, telling stories that we have not heard in ages and laughing and crying together in a much more relaxed and enjoyable setting. At the funeral home we were somber and quiet, yet for no good reason other than we were in a Funeral Home.

Open Casket – There is no way I can possibly look as good, or better than the last time you saw me. Even if you have seen me pretty messed up after a hard work out on the treadmill, falling down drunk at FNH (never) or on a seriously hot day working in the yard. So, for me, why would you want to see me laying in a casket.

Embalming – For me, I see no good reason to have a mortician pump me full of formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, methanol and ethanol. I will not need to be preserved for a viewing.

Grave Yards or Cemeteries – I personally am not a fan of using up good real estate for dead bodies. Now I understand the desire for family to know where their loved ones are when they pass this world; however I think in our Flat Global world, there are plenty of places to place yourself for that Final resting place, without consuming good real estate. More on this later.

Now, I agree that I have a very blunt and different opinion on this then most people; however here is the final activity that I would like to perform in this world.

How I want to do it

Knowing that I have no idea when or how I will die, I want to be cremated. I want my best friends or family to arrange this activity in the following manner:

Contact a local Crematory and have them come get me. They can use a pickup truck or if needed use the one that I am leaving behind. No need for any fancy containers, trays or boxes. Put my body in some good old fashion Glad yard waste bags and then drop it on a pallet. Double or Triple bag if you think this is necessary.

Take my body to the Crematory and slide it into the fire. No need cleaning out the Crematory before you put my body in there, I’m not too worried about any cross contamination or diseases. Remember, I am dead and once you fire up that cooker, the likelihood of any diseases surviving are nil.

Run the cooker at 100% for as long as the law requires and until you are sure that my body has been returned to 100% ashes. Please, no left over logs or heavy briquettes. Fire up the cooker if needed. The ashes must be very fine.

Once the cooker cools down, use a shovel (from the garden will be fine, no special shovel needed) and scoop up my ashes and put them into a empty 5 gallon paint bucket. If you do not have one available, check out my garage. I have a bunch in there.

Give the bucket to one of my best friends or daughters. They will take care of my ashes from this point.

Now, I am assuming that I will still be in North Carolina when this event starts out; however if not, then you will need to alter these next steps some. I do not want this bucket hauled more than 100 miles from where I die, but I expect that you will take it to Smith Mountain Lake at this point. If I died somewhere else, then pick another lake closer by.

Get one of my buddies to loan you a fishing boat and boat out to the middle of the lake. No Pomp & Circumstance here – just a simple action. Dump the ashes overboard. If anyone asks, tell them you just cleaned out the barbecue grill. I repeat, no Pomp & Circumstance needed here at all. OK, maybe a picture of the ashes floating away. Use a hi-res camera.

Now go home. The next step will take about 1 week to put together.

Get my contact list and send an email to everyone in the list – Everyone. Exclude no one. This list includes friends, family and business associates from as far back as 1980. Invite them to the house that I expect to leave behind and tell them to bring enough simple food and drink to last them about 6 hours. Tell them what day to arrive and let them know that this will be a party.

I expect everyone there to leave knowing something new about me that they did not know before. I don’t care what they learn, because it will by no means be anything that will tarnish anyone’s opinion of me. At least, I am fairly sure about this – Sike, I’m 100% sure of this.

On the day that this party starts, get everyone to take a plain piece of paper and write down their name, how they know me and the title of a story about me that others may not know. They can write down something I did or said in private, public, business or family. Anything, no holds barred. Remember, my reputation will not be tarnished.

Collect the papers and then have everyone take turns telling their stories about me. Randomly have each person tell their story. For those who are not comfortable telling the story, get one of my toastmaster buddies to do it for them. Embellish as much as you want, just don’t tell any lies. The truth will be amazing and enjoyable enough. Believe me, I know.

I expect a few tears and some somber faces during this party, fool be me for saying that this is not allowed; however please do yourself and everyone else a favor, get thru it quickly. You’re going to ruin the party.

This event can go on for as long as the group wants. No restrictions or expectations. It may last a few minutes, or as long as a few days. I expect that if all of the stories are to be told, it will last about 6 hours, and be unforgettable.

When the party ends, I want everyone to remember where I am. I will be floating around in Smith Mountain Lake. I will be in the plants and trees around the lake. In the bass and stripper that are fished from the lake and then in the fish dinners eaten afterwards. I will become part of Smith Mountain Lake until the end of the time.

That’s it folks. I expect that the total cost of this last activity will be about $1297.53, excluding the food and beer which I am sure my buddies will provide. If needed, get Becky to write you a check. I will make sure that this amount is left in my Allegacy account.

I will gladly entertain any comments or suggestions about this plan prior to my death. Afterwards, I expect that my wishes will be granted, for the most part.


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