I had asked to be driven to my husband's memorial garden, got a grouchy response which I maneuvered with guilt and guile, leading to visiting my father's grave to belatedly place a Palm Cross purchased by my mother on one of her assisted living outings. Older son remembered me teaching him to drive stick shift in my now gone 1990 convertible Mazda Miata around the concrete angels, fallen headstones, and his grandfather's grave. I no longer felt my father's restless spirit.
From the cemetery, we drove to my mother's empty house, the backyard delightfully (to me) swampy with moss, mud, and wildflowers to gather three unused bird feeders, an exceptionally heavy bird bath given by a neighbor before moving away, and St. Francis on a stake cradling two birds with a bunny at his feet, unbroken, unlike the bird feeders. Last minute, a yellow jacket trap complete with dead yellow jackets from three summers ago. I remember all of these things as if it were yesterday.
My son was in a much better mood until he got slightly lost taking the back roads to visit the memorial garden commissioned by my husband's daughters. Passing two young boys, one of whom throws us a gang sign then starts to skateboard, angering my son into a sudden rage which surprises me since he was just reciting complete with accent and sound effects, Tales from Zimbabwe, the story about a wife taking the wrong path. We were laughing.
The building was closed but the trails stay open until dusk and we started to walk, a chill in the air, Canada geese honking, the trails more overgrown than either of us remembered. I was determined not to cry but wondered what memories and thoughts were going through my son's head as we turned a corner on a once familiar path which had a combination of things that had changed and displays clearly designed by my husband years ago.
We meandered past the pond, the native vegetation and cypress knees in a stream to the memorial garden which was frankly disappointing. Pulling out a small baggie of my husband's ashes, a breeze came from nowhere so that as I scattered the white powder some of it landed back on me as had happened by the ocean. My son said something about cocaine, then made a movie reference while we critiqued the bronze milkweed sculptures for lack of correct scale and absence of milkweed bugs, the main thing that obsessed my husband. The small plaque was plastic and the inscription childish. The garden lacked any plants which seemed odd. We left to a nondescript sunset.
Heading home, we both agreed it had been a good decision not to attend the dedication back in early April. Barely ten minutes from home, there were emergency and police vehicles blocking two bridges, leaving us no way to get home. People were gathered, peering at the overpass and my first thought was either some kids threw a large rock on the highway below or someone had jumped. My son hardly stopped the car before striding over to a woman on a cell phone.
Briefly, I thought he's so much like his father. I saw him relax, turning to speak to another woman sauntering out of her nearby house. Slamming the car door, he tells me it's Trump's motorcade, becoming uncharacteristically enraged which I get to hear about all the way home. He admitted to going from not feeling much in regards to Trump to "the nerve of him, a power play, he doesn't want to get shot (like anyone would waste a bullet"), ending in the hope Trump gets impeached.
The house was dark and we were cold, hungry and I was tired. Going up the side stairs, before eating a hasty dinner during which I would heard more about Trump and his inconsiderate ways, I asked, "What about the bird bath and the bird feeders ?" My son glared at me. "But we're leaving St. Francis in the trunk of the car!" I added, as if this might be a sin. He was still ramped up and told me the phrase would make a good nodeshell. St. Francis stayed in the car until yesterday and now he's lying down in the rain.